Are you ready to play with the Miami Sharks instead of the Miami Dolphins? Are you ready for players to look six inches tall instead of six feet? Are you ready to watch fans shake their heads in disappointment over and over? ARE YOU READY FOR ABC MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL?
In 1993, Data East developed and published “ABC Monday Night Football” for the Super Nintendo. The football simulation couldn’t secure the rights to the NFLPA or logos for real professional football teams. Would the gameplay make up for it?
It’s Monday Night, sometime between September and December. You’ve had a shitty weekend filled with homework or home projects like raking the leaves or shoveling the driveway. Your boss just kicked your ass all over work on Monday for not having the data reports ready or the hot substitute teacher who wore tight blouses with cleavage is being charged by police for sleeping with a student, and that student wasn’t you!
All you want to do is sit back and wash away your sorrows with 3 hours of some football.
The satellite goes out! Shit! Now, what can you do? You fire up your Super Nintendo and pop in ABC Monday Night Football! If you can’t watch it, you’re going to play it!
How does the marketing team at Data East get this game out to the masses? Opening up the manual the advertising gimmicks are… sadly lacking.
“Take the toss with one of your favorite teams from all 28 pro clubs”
This is false. I can’t select the New England Patriots because there is no New England Patriots in this game. Sure, there is a team from New England, but they aren’t the Patriots. Already, this game is off to a lying start on trying to pump up the gamers who unfortunately received this.
“Launch the offense from an arsenal of real pro football plays. Try to execute a pass play, but you better watch it, or you might get sacked. Attack the goal with awesome close-up power players, or send a wide receiver long and throw a bomb with no time left.”
Wow, I can’t wait to do mundane things that every single other football game for the past 10 years offers. You mean I can select a pass play or hand it off to a running back? So realistic!
I tried out a season in ABC Monday Night Football. Picking through the teams gave me a chuckle as Data East didn’t secure the rights to the NFL but did their best to pass the teams in the game as the real deal. All the color schemes are similar and each city has a football team, but not the real deal. The developers knew this and gave an option to rename the teams. Good call, but they still aren’t the same thing. That’s okay, I can get by with arcade-style football even if I’m not playing as my favorite players or team.
Unfortunately, there’s not much arcade fun to be had. The plays unfold at a snail’s pace as the players run with bricks in their shoes. You’ll see a hole open up as your linemen block but it takes five seconds just to run out of the backfield. You can see the tackle coming from a mile away, but you don’t have any buttons to shake the defender. There’s a juke button that I found useless, and the “sprint” button felt like it sped the game up from 0 to 1.
Players look like they are six inches tall on a massive field. Almost every play will show a short animation clip of the crowd. 99 percent of the time they were booing me or shaking their heads. I don’t blame them, because my team sucked. In the first game, I fought in a 7-0 loss. Passing was near impossible to figure out. My receivers would be open but my QB would throw it 20 feet over their head or 20 feet in front of them. I was skipping the ball to the receivers just like Cam Newton does! Maybe, this game is realistic?
There’s a hilarious opening to the game with animations of football players getting creamed or scoring touchdowns, complete with grunting sound effects. Data East tried their best to include these animations into the game. Sometimes, it worked but I grew tired of the same ones over and over. I thought it was a nice touch when the refs came out and measured the first down. That’s a small detail I can appreciate.
Getting a first down is easier said than done. I didn’t complete a pass until game two. For some reason, my QB was firing rockets right into the hands of my receivers which was a welcomed change from the first game. When you do earn a first down, it’s not easy. Getting tackled will push you back two or three yards. If you cross the first down marker by two or three yards you still may not get it depending on how far back the defender tackles you. That’s bullshit. Whenever anyone was close to my ball carrier I just dove to avoid being shoved back a few yards. This was a safe practice that made first downs easier to come by.
I have some fond memories of watching Monday Night Football growing up. When I was in middle school I got in trouble once and my dad banned me from watching it for a month. I was able to avoid this punishment by watching the game on mute so my dad didn’t know what I was watching. He probably knew what I was watching, but didn’t care. Him threatening me with no Monday Night Football was enough for me to stop being a problem child, at least for a few weeks.
As for the Super Nintendo version of ABC Monday Night Football, I don’t recall ever playing it as a kid. Good, I may have hated football then.
The bottom line is this game lacks the arcade fun of Tecmo Bowl and the realism of Madden or 2K. You have to hit on one or the either to be a successful football game. ABC Monday Night Football’s pass misses the mark by quite a bit.
ABC Monday Night Football a 4.1 out of 10.
Do you remember when ABC Monday Night Football first came out? What was your favorite fake team to play as? Did you play multiplayer with your friends? Were you able to pass the ball or did you suffer from poor QB play as I did? Let me know your memories and thoughts I’d love to read the comments.
If you’d like to own a copy of ABC Monday Night Football, you can purchase a used copy of it for the SNES for $8 on eBay.