Throwback Thursday - Super Dodge Ball - NES
Before we were blessed with River City Ransom Technos Japan released your worst Gym nightmares as a video game – Super Dodge Ball. And just like in gym class the goal wasn’t just to hit someone so that they were out, it was to hurt them with repeated throws until they could take no more. If your team of 3 could outlast their team you won. Your players could run and wind up a pitch to make it more powerful and some players had abilities like making the ball zigzag or tossing it at uncatchable speeds. You could also jump high in the air and rain down a dodge ball of death on your fearful foes. My personal favorite is utilizing your 3 allies outside the court lines of the enemy team who can pick up loose balls and throw them to your active players or insultingly hit your opponent in the back of the head.
The single player mode had you play as your home country team (USA or Japan (NES vs. Famicom) as you roll through an international tournament of stereotypes and challenges. Like Iceland features a slippery track and for some reason the world renowned home of some of the fastest people in the world, Kenya, featured a swampy course where movement was more difficult. In true 80’s style the final team was Team USSR unless you defeated them with a full team in which case you had to battle a shadow version of your team to beat the game. The game also featured a free-for-all “Bean Ball” mode which was some delightful chaos, and you could play 2 player competitive where you could choose to take control of any of the national teams against your buddy.
Growing up I loved Dodge Ball, and despite being a chubby loser I was surprisingly good at it. I was good at catching the ball, and like a football player watching my opponent’s hips to know how they were going to try to dodge me and making that loud rubber slap off their body regardless of their acrobatic attempts to foil me. Perhaps I imbued this game with more meaning as one of the few sports I was competent at, but since the legend of this game lives on I think this game stuck fondly in the brain of almost everyone who played it. And if you picked up the new River City Ransom sequel on 3DS – River City: Tokyo Rumble if even features some characters from the Dodge Ball game namely the immortal USSR legend “Boris”. If you somehow missed this game, correct that mistake and experience the pure glee of beating communism with dodge balls.