Links (series)

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Links is the name of a series of golf simulation computer games, first developed by Access Software, and then later by Microsoft Game Studios after Microsoft acquired Access Software. The line of golf games was a flagship brand for Access, and was continued from 1990 to 2003. Several versions of the game and expansion packs (containing new courses[1] and golfers[2] mainly) were created for the Mac and PC over the years. A version for the Xbox named Links 2004 was released in November 2003. In 1991, Links won Computer Gaming World's 1991 Action Game of the Year award.[3]

In 2004, Microsoft sold the Salt Lake City studio to Take-Two Interactive, where it was renamed Indie Built. Indie Built was shut down in 2006.

Many members of the development team now work for TruGolf, a golf simulator company based out of Centerville, Utah.[4]

List of Links games[edit]

Access Software[edit]

Microsoft Game Studios[edit]

  • Golf (1994) Windows 3.1
  • Golf 2.0 (1995) Windows 3.1/95
  • Golf 3.0 (1996) Windows 95
  • Golf 1998 Edition (1998) Windows 95
  • Golf 1999 Edition (1999) Windows 95
  • Golf 2001 Edition (2000)
  • Links Extreme (1999) Windows[6]
  • Links LS 2000 (2000) Windows
  • Links LS 2000 10 Course Pack (2000) Windows
  • Links Championship Edition (2001) Windows (Includes Links 2001, Links Expansion Pack 1, a Course Designer, a Course Converter and 4 new courses) [7]
  • Links 2001 (2001) Windows Microsoft Game Studios
  • Links Expansion Pack (2001) Windows
  • Links 2003 (2002) Windows Microsoft Game Studios[8]
  • Links 2003: Championship Courses (2002) Windows
  • Links 2004 (2003) Xbox [9]
  • Links 2003: Championship Edition (2003) Windows (Includes Links 2003 and Links 2003: Championship Courses)[10]
  • Links Golf Courses Library (several versions)[11]

Note: Microsoft Golf 1.0-3.0 are just Access' Links 386 redesigned to run natively under Microsoft Windows. Golf 1998 Edition and 1999 Editions were produced by Friendly Software.[12] After Access Software was acquired by Microsoft in 1999, Microsoft produced Golf 2001, which was based on Links, and then discontinued the Golf series to continue with the Links series.

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World in 1996 ranked the 1990 version of Links fifth on the magazine's list of the most innovative computer games, stating that the game "may have inspired more 'business machine upgrades' than any other game".[13] In 1996 Next Generation ranked it 69th on their "Top 100 Games of All Time", contending that "many prefer EA's PGA series, but Links takes the title by a hair's breadth. With real life courses, and enough stats, sliders, and options to choke a horse, Links re-creates everything but the swing (which is still accomplished with a 'three click' power bar)."[14]

Links LS 1998 was a runner-up for Computer Gaming World's 1997 "Sports Game of the Year" award, which ultimately went to Baseball Mogul and CART Precision Racing (tie). The editors wrote that Links LS 1998 "made the world's best golf simulation even better."[15] Links LS 1998 was also the finalist for GameSpot's 1997 "Best Sports Game" award, losing to NHL 98. The editors wrote of LS 1998, "Each time Access Software releases a new version [of Links], it gets harder and harder to fathom how this game could get any better - yet it does."[16]

Links LS 1999 was a finalist for Computer Gaming World's 1998 "Best Sports" award, which ultimately went to FIFA: Road to World Cup 98, FIFA 99 and World Cup 98 (collectively).[17] PC Gamer US likewise nominated Links LS 1999 as the best sports game of 1998, although it lost to NBA Live 99. They wrote, "[W]hile the changes weren't revolutionary, enough was done to keep Links LS 1999 at the forefront of the very competitive golf category."[18]

In the United States, Links 2001 sold 240,000 copies and earned $8.2 million by August 2006, after its release in October 2000. It was the country's 84th best-selling computer game between January 2000 and August 2006. Combined sales of all Links games released between January 2000 and August 2006 had reached 720,000 in the United States by the latter date.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Devil's island course expansion on GameSpot
  2. ^ Davis Love III golfer expansion from TheComputerShow.com
  3. ^ Staff (November 1991). "Computer Gaming World's 1991 Games of the Year Awards". Computer Gaming World. Golden Empire Publications, Inc (88): 38–40, 58. 
  4. ^ TruGolf
  5. ^ Links: The Challenge of Golf at MobyGames
  6. ^ Links Extreme comment at Games.net
  7. ^ Microsoft LPGA Press Release Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Links 2003 comment at GameNationTV.com
  9. ^ Links 2004 review at ArmChairEmpire.com
  10. ^ Links 2003 Championship Edition Press Release Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Links Golf Courses Library at LangKong.com Archived July 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ http://www.friendlysoftware.com/Products.htm Archived 2009-03-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "The 15 Most Innovative Computer Games". Computer Gaming World. November 1996. p. 102. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. September 1996. p. 47. 
  15. ^ Staff (March 1998). "CGW Presents The Best & Worst of 1997". Computer Gaming World (164): 74–77, 80, 84, 88, 89. 
  16. ^ Staff. "GameSpot's Best & Worst Awards for 1997". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. 
  17. ^ Staff (April 1999). "Computer Gaming World's 1999 Premier Awards; CGW Presents the Best Games of 1998". Computer Gaming World (177): 90, 93, 96–105. 
  18. ^ Staff (March 1999). "The Fifth Annual PC Gamer Awards". PC Gamer US. 6 (3): 64, 67, 70–73, 76–78, 84, 86, 87. 
  19. ^ Edge Staff (August 25, 2006). "The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century". Edge. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]