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01-09-2018 at 09:23 AM
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NFL Quarterback Club - Gameboy

This is not the most exciting Gameboy game (or even the most well known), but I’ve had a bone to pick with one of the tracks on it for a while, so I figured this was as good of a game to start with as any. For those that have never played it, NFL Quarterback Club is a pretty straightforward set up. You get to choose an early 90’s NFL quarterback and take them through a series of competitions. One cool feature is that it allows up to six players (you pass the Gameboy around for each player’s turn rather than a hook up). It can make a fun IRL competition when you’re a kid. The competition categories are Distance, Accuracy, Read and Recognition, and Speed and Mobility.

As a kid, with no access to an arcade with Track and Field, this game (specifically the Distance Competition) was my first exposure to button mashing. Since I had no examples to work from, I had to develop my own method of button mashing. At 9, this involved me rapidly running two knuckles over the buttons until all the skin came off (generally 3-4 solid plays). Then I’d adjust to different knuckles until I worked through all reasonable combinations on both hands. I generally had to wait a week or so between plays on the game to allow the skin to heal. This method eventually evolved into holding my thumb, middle finger, and pointer finger together and rubbing them over the buttons (more padding and tougher skin meant I could last longer). This was the same method I ended up using some years back when I started playing NES Track and Field heavily. Definitely not as successful as Hec’s turbo fingers, but it got me to a respectable spot on the boards.

In any case, the track which has always bugged me on this game is the Speed and Mobility track. This is a timed obstacle course where the player ducks under a bar, runs around a cone, runs around a cardboard cutout of a player, jumps over a shin high rope, and then throws the ball at a bullseye. You get penalized for running into any of the obstacles, and you get bonus points for hitting the target. The track is scored by the number of points you receive for finishing the event, not your time. (The game awards points at the end of the events for tracking purposes through the competition…If you beat all the computer players in Speed and Mobility, you receive 60 points, second would be 58 and then it goes down from there. TG tracks your finishing spot). What is unfortunate about this is that the settings allow you to choose any difficulty – easy, medium, or hard. These settings don’t make the obstacle course harder, they just make the computer’s times faster. So person A could run the obstacle course in 9.95 seconds on easy and win and be awarded 60 points while person B could run the course in 9.75 seconds on hard and take second getting them 58 points. Why they didn’t track it for time when there is an in-game timer is a mystery to me.

Anyways, I decided to do my own unofficial Speed and Mobility track for fun. I did a few runs last night on my Gameboy and was able to put together a 9.57. It’s up on my YT and the run starts at about 12:45 ( -but the video is pretty cruddy quality- my video camera is having a hard time focusing, so I need to work on that) but there’s a screen shot below. If anyone wants to practice a bit and see if they can beat my time, here’s an online emulator link: It’s all for fun, so just throw up a screenshot.

As for the game itself – It was a lot of fun as a 10 year old getting to play as the NFL quarterback of your choice. At 35, it’s kind of meh (though I’ve played a lot worse). It is pretty quick to learn- likely, under an hour would get you the skills to max out each of the tracks on TG. So if you want four relatively easy maxouts, for a $3-$4 cartridge then it’s worth checking out. Getting some competition on the Speed and Mobility course might add a fun element (albeit unofficial) to the game as well.

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