Golf (1984 video game)

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North American NES box art
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D2
HAL Laboratory
Director(s)Kenji Miki
Producer(s)Masayuki Uemura
Designer(s)Kenji Miki
Shigeru Miyamoto[5]
Programmer(s)Satoru Iwata[6]
Composer(s)Koji Kondo
SeriesMario Golf
  • JP: May 1, 1984
  • NA: October 18, 1985
  • EU: November 15, 1986
Arcade (VS. System)
Other versions
  • Arcade (Ladies Golf)
  • Famicom Disk System
    • JP: February 21, 1986
  • Game Boy
    • JP: November 28, 1989
    • NA: February 1990
    • EU: 1990
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
Arcade systemNintendo VS. System

Golf[a] is a golf-based sports simulation video game developed and released by Nintendo in 1984 for the Famicom in Japan. Later the same year, it was ported to the Nintendo VS. System as VS. Golf or Stroke and Match Golf, released in arcades internationally,[3] followed by another arcade version called VS. Ladies Golf.[7] The original was re-released for the NES in North America in 1985, and for the Famicom Disk System in 1986 in Japan.

Golf was the best-selling sports game on the NES/Famicom, and was re-released across many years for different Nintendo consoles. It was hidden in the Nintendo Switch firmware as an Easter egg as a tribute to the game's programmer, the late Satoru Iwata.


The main player wears a white shirt and shoes with blue pants and uses a white ball, while the second player wears a red shirt and shoes with black pants and uses a red ball. The player selects either single stroke play or the two-player selections of doubles stroke play or match play. The player is then placed at the tee of the first of 18 holes.

In 1991, Nintendo identified the golfer as Mario in a gameplay guide book.[8] Nintendo's Wii game Captain Rainbow identifies the golfer as Ossan,[9] which happens to be one of the generic hero names during the development of Donkey Kong.[10] The Game Boy conversion would feature Mario on the Western cover art, but not the Japanese version.[citation needed]

Development and release[edit]

In 1983, the Famicom had only three launch games, and its library would soon total seven, including Golf. Shigeru Miyamoto said he was "directly in charge of the character design and the game design",[5] and Satoru Iwata said he was the only programmer.[6]

Golf has been re-released on many other consoles after its release. Hudson Soft released a conversion of the game for the Japan-only PC-88 and Sharp X1 in 1985.[citation needed] Golf was converted to the Japan-only Family Computer Disk System on February 21, 1986.[citation needed] It was re-released for the Nintendo e-Reader for the Game Boy Advance in 2002. Both the NES and Game Boy versions were released on the Virtual Console.[11][12] It was re-released on the Nintendo Switch via Nintendo eShop on October 25, 2019, by Hamster Corporation as part of its Arcade Archives series.[13]

Golf can be unlocked in the 2001 video games Dōbutsu no Mori for Nintendo 64 and Animal Crossing for GameCube. The latter supports Advance Play using a GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable, allowing Golf to be played on a Game Boy Advance.

The game is a hidden Easter egg in the pre-4.0 firmware of the Nintendo Switch, in tribute to Satoru Iwata. Iwata was the sole programmer of Golf (as one of his first projects for Nintendo) and later became Nintendo's CEO. It can be accessed on the Switch home menu if the system clock is set to the July 11 memorial of Iwata's death, and then the user moves Joy-Con controllers to imitate the "Direct" hand gesture that Iwata popularized during his tenure as main host of Nintendo Direct presentations.[14][15][16] This version exclusively has the option for motion controls.


Golf was very successful during its initial release, with positive reviews from critics and was the tenth best-selling game released on the system. Sales were numbered at over 4 million copies in total, with the Famicom version alone yielding 2.46 million copies sold in Japan.[18]

Golf’s 1989 port on the Game Boy received a positive review from AllGame, who rated the Game Boy version with 4 out of 5 stars.[17]


Golf is the first golf video game to feature a power and accuracy bar for swinging the club, which has been used in most golf games since.[19]

Three-dimensional versions of Golf's courses appear in the nine holes of Wii Sports,[6] the "Classic" courses in Wii Sports Resort, and in Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics.[20]

The player-controlled character Ossan appeared in the 2008 Wii game Captain Rainbow where he's portrayed as a smelly middle-aged man who's terrible at golf. Players must find his lost golf club as well as help him play good again.[9]


  1. ^ Japanese: ゴルフ, Hepburn: Gorufu


  1. ^ "The Vs. Challenge". RePlay. Vol. 11, no. 3. December 1985. p. 5.
  2. ^ "Flyer Fever - Golf / Pinball (Japan)". Archived from the original on July 20, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Roberts, Mike; Doyle, Eric (November 1985). "Coin-Op Connection". Computer Gamer. No. 8. pp. 26–7.
  4. ^ "VS. golf (ladies version) (Registration Number PA0000250301)". United States Copyright Office. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Kohler, Chris. "Miyamoto Spills Donkey Kong's Darkest Secrets, 35 Years Later". Wired. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Iwata Asks: Wii Sports: Games That Even the People Watching Can Enjoy". Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "With the VS. System from Nintendo, making money is no sweat". Flyer Fever. February 20, 2021. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  8. ^ Mario Mania: Nintendo Player's Guide. Redmond, WA: Nintendo of America. 1991. p. 9. OCLC 299240250.
  9. ^ a b Eisenbeis, Richard (June 8, 2012). "The Old-School Nintendo Stars of Captain Rainbow". Kotaku. Archived from the original on March 5, 2023. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  10. ^ Uemura, Masayuki. "The Grand Culmination of Famicom Cartridges". Iwata Asks (Interview). Interviewed by Satoru Iwata. Nintendo of America. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  11. ^ "Nintendo - Official Site - Video Game Consoles, Games".
  12. ^ "Nintendo - Official Site - Video Game Consoles, Games".
  13. ^ Lane, Gavin (March 13, 2020). "Guide: Every Arcade Archives Game On Nintendo Switch, Plus Our Top Picks". Nintendo Life. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  14. ^ Orland, Kyle (September 20, 2017). "Hidden Switch game is actually a tribute to former Nintendo president [Updated]". Ars Technica.
  15. ^ McFerran, Damien (September 20, 2017). "Rumour: Switch's Hidden NES Golf Game Is a Tribute to the Late Satoru Iwata". Nintendo Life.
  16. ^ Good, Owen S. (July 12, 2015). "Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Dies at 55". Polygon. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Sutyak, Jonathan. "Golf - Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on February 15, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  18. ^ "【ゲームの企画書】『パワプロ』×『みんなのGOLF』開発者が初対談。初代『パワプロ』企画書も公開! コントローラで我々はスポーツの何を楽しんでいるのか?". 電ファミニコゲーマー – ゲームの面白い記事読んでみない? (in Japanese). June 8, 2017.
  19. ^ Rosenberg, Adam (October 18, 2015). "Can You Remember All 18 games That Launched with the NES in 1985?". Mashable. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  20. ^ Lane, Gavin (May 25, 2020). "Nintendo Shares a Handy Infographic Featuring All 51 Worldwide Classic Clubhouse Games". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 21, 2020.

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