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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #7: John Elway's Quarterback

Still a better option at quarterback than Jones or Zappe

Since today is almost certain to see some terrible football in New England, let's take a look at a terrible football game from nearly forty years ago. John Elway's Quarterback is so old that the Patriots had yet to go to a Super Bowl when it was released to arcades in 1985. Hey, Tom Brady was only eight. I wasn't much older myself, maybe ten or eleven, when this game first began swallowing my quarters at Dream Machine in the Newington Mall. When it came out for the Commodore 64 in 1988 I spent endless hours trying to master the limited play-calling options and even more limited skill sets of my anonymous players.

Elway suffered from clunky game play, and it wasn't long before the vastly more kinetic and fun Tecmo Bowl came along, and in the late 1980s Electronic Arts and John Madden were about the revolutionize the entire concept. But there was a window when if you wanted to play a little pigskin on the computer, this was the best option available. My most vivid memories of the game are mainly of exhorting my glacially slow receiver as he "ran" with the ball, only to routinely be caught from behind by the entire defense. Sigh. The other most memorable aspect of John Elway's Quarterback were the ads that ran for it in the Marvel comics of the time, featuring Elway himself playing the game with a bespectacled young nerd named - I kid you not - "Danny Wimpasinger".

We'll talk about much better football games on this list. But there's always something special about your first.

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