FORE! Cover Your Heads, It’s Golf War

By John Walker on October 14th, 2010 at 12:22 am.

Albatross.

In another part of my life I write these rules. One of the rules – in fact, the one that inspired them all – goes as follows:

“If you think of an excellent punning name for a shop or business, you must quit your job there and then, and begin that enterprise immediately.”

It was inspired by finding this sign, which can only have been a result of someone knowing the rule to be true. The thing is, I’m not sure this rule applies to videogames.

Golf War is a good pun, but a horrible idea for a game.

It’s also, sadly, a dreadful game. Made in UDK, it’s bordering on unplayable. And it’s a close race for whether that’s because it’s such a mess, or because it’s such extraordinary bad taste.

Impressive stuff.

Set in “the war torn Middle East”, it’s a golf game set in a town filled with people and IEDs. Your goal is to hit a golf ball across the town until it lands in a skip. To do this you must climb in third person on rooftops, through alleyways, and all the while get knocked about by explosions. There’s six levels in what they’re boldly calling a “demo”.

The game was created as a final year project in a game development degree in the Queensland University of Technology, in Brisbane. I hope they won’t take too much offence at my wondering if they passed.

There’s actually a seed of an idea in here. A golf game played through the streets of a city could be enormous fun. The daftness of hitting the ball up onto tall buildings, so as to thwack it long distances, over ballparks, and into a museum garden, could be pretty decent. It would require some impressive city design, and perhaps even the first inklings of golf controls. And maybe not trivialise the tragedy of terrorism in populated towns.

So, er, no.

Here’s a trailer!

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84 Comments »

  1. Meatloaf says:

    Erm.

    While I agree, the idea of urban golf isn’t THAT awful… really guys? Really?

    • Javaguy says:

      Well, hopefully they’ll respond by naming uh, the, uh, opposing golf… team… to Opposing Force, then it’ll all be fine.

      Golf is a team game, right? It is now. D:

    • Benny says:

      An urban golf game done right could really be a great idea (and is reminding me of an old CSI episode too) but this really isn’t it. It just feels like a rather bad joke.

      Strip away the outer shell of the art and there’s not very much here at all. Infact this could have been submitted to their course with barely any art assets at all and it would have probably got the same grades, as what little they have here is clunky, placeholder and uninspiring. Their main focus should have been on creating an interesting/challenging game to play possibly even a series of levels which build on the fundementals to give you a sense of progression.

      Of course it could all just be an attempt to get noticed in all the hoo-har of EA’s MoH publicity stunt. But who knows.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      What such a thing should look like:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQZmrdwK7YM

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Or maybe something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20iGUHNjV7k
      I was actually looking for a different tennis commercial, but alas.

  2. Quasar says:

    I’d like to personally punt a golf ball into the faces of the developers, purely for ruining Hendrix.

    • Zhan says:

      While I agree with that statement, I’m not sure that golf balls are made to be punted. Also they are pretty light so even launching a golf ball out of some sort of golf ball propulsion system wouldn’t be that painful.

    • Miko says:

      People have been killed by golf balls that hit them *after* ricocheting off something else first. They may be light, but they have a hard metal shell and they’re not exactly slow. A single bullet doesn’t weigh much, either.

    • Chris D says:

      As someone hit in the face by a golfball as a small child I think I can say that yes, they are quite painful , thank you very much.

    • Quasar says:

      ‘Punt’ is also one of my most favourite words.

  3. niffk says:

    i feel like i should do my bachelor of computer science NOT in new zealand or australia after watching this.

  4. icupnimpn2 says:

    I find this more compelling than Medal of Honououour. Now, if they only had you smacking the ball into Saddam’s giant face, it would remind me perfectly of the $5 gaming shop Gulf War exploitation hate games of the early 90s.

  5. Shadram says:

    The only good thing about it is that this post pushed the spider off the front page.

  6. Hard Clumping says:

    Sure, it’s tasteless, but.. they’re college students. When I read the name of the game and saw the screenshot at the top of the post, hey, I giggled.

    If you didn’t, 1. you must not find a lot of RPS funny, and 2. you should double-check yourself to make sure you’re not searching for and magnifying middling amounts of offensive content.

  7. MD says:

    Am I missing a pun in the title? If not, it should be “Fore!” rather than “Four!”.

    • John Walker says:

      Oops! That’s embarrassing. Cheers, fixed.

    • MD says:

      All good!

      Don’t forget you’ve always got the option of leaving your mistakes as they are, and quietly implying that they’re all clever references to something most people haven’t heard of. I would have taken your word for it, and slunk off feeling mildly embarassed.

    • BooleanBob says:

      I thought John was demanding that we fork over our heads, but that’s more of a visual than phonetic pun (actually it’s a bit of a hybrid between the two).

  8. noobnob says:

    It took me five minutes to figure out the pun.

    I am not worthy!

  9. Lord Uber Dowzen (from New Zealand) says:

    Nothing to do with us, mate…

  10. Werewolf2000ad says:

    “A golf game played through the streets of a city could be enormous fun. The daftness of hitting the ball up onto tall buildings, so as to thwack it long distances, over ballparks, and into a museum garden, could be pretty decent.”

    There already is one: It was a budget Japanese PS2 title called Street Golfer, made by the same company who made Incredible Crisis. (I reviewed it here: http://www.wayoftherodent.com/revs/JapTatRoundup80.htm)

  11. Gabbo says:

    Yes, leave the trivializing to bigger games like Medal of Honour.
    That said a [newer, as mentioned by Werewolf2k) take on urban golfing would be an interesting idea.

  12. Navagon says:

    Finally. A game that brings home the true horror of war.

  13. G-rad says:

    I’ve always wanted to open a furniture store named “The Ottoman Empire”.

  14. John says:

    I don’t see what there is to be upset about. Maybe suggesting that towns in Iraq/wherever are full of IEDs is questionable, and mechanically the game looked poor, but I didn’t see anyone die in that video. (Unlike, for example, 90% of other games covered on this site.) It looked like a golf game in which explosions present non-violent obstacles rather than violent and gruesome deaths.

    Is the idea that any game set in a conflict zone is ethically unsound? We’ll have to reevaluate this entire hobby of ours if that’s the case. Honestly curious about why a largely non-violent golf game is in poor taste, while Call of Duty 17: The One In Which You Kill Hundreds Of Middle Easterners is okay.

  15. Bevan says:

    @niffk
    while(New_Zealand != Australia && !AustraliaInvades(New_Zealand))
    TakeThatBack(); // arg!

    Jesus Chris I’m a nerd

    • Shadram says:

      I went to see Tomorrow When the War Began a few weeks back, and all I could think through the whole movie was “Why the fuck would anyone ever think of invading Australia?” I personally think the earthquake was NZ trying to move a little further away. Still trying to, if the aftershocks are anything to go by…

    • Shadram says:

      Also, you’d probably need to pass what you want taken back to the TakeThatBack method as a parameter. Pass it by reference, so that you never have to bother with it again.

      Philosophical coding is so much more fun than the actual coding I should be doing right now…

  16. DrGonzo says:

    Well I think it’s quite cool for a uni project!

  17. Gosh says:

    why havent anyone thought of this before? imagine a call of duty game with 5v5 people and the object is to cover the guy hitting the golf ball ^^

  18. Araxiel says:

    I really don’t see the problem. I think it’s funny and giggled like an idiot.
    Then again, I also giggle at dickjokes…

  19. Grape Flavor says:

    Forget the golfing and the setting. The character animations and physics model are hilarious. Someone should make a real game where you move like that.

  20. Trelow says:

    Looks awesome to me.

  21. pupsikaso says:

    I question the need to dig up some senior year university project and post it here just to point out how bad it is =/
    There are tons of horrible, horrible games being released every week, let alone university projects. Were you just feeling bad and decided to cheer yourself up by laughing at some students?

  22. Monkey Mafia says:

    We were going to put some dick jokes in, but we just run out of time ;(

  23. Monkey Mafia says:

    We never intended to cause offence with the game, far from it. Though obviously we knew that someone would find it less than taseful. This informed our design decisions.

    If you play the game you’ll see that there is no death whatsoever, no one gets hurt, no one dies.

    Think of the concept as more of a commentary on the nature of war, rather than a piss-take on terrorism (which it is not)

    As for remarks about our mechanics, it’s open season, this is how we learn.

    Oh and thank you John for even giving the game a second look. We really do appreciate it!

  24. Al says:

    Or, sometimes, Rule 34 WITH games

  25. Nenene says:

    Geez, Walker sounded like a humongous douche with this one.

  26. Tei says:

    So is like “Surf in a war zone” :-D

  27. Brumisator says:

    I’d been waiting for this game for decades…
    and I didn’t even know it!

  28. Brumisator says:

    Oh by the way, regarding John Walker’s rules:

    [quoting from the rules]
    “#14 Correcting grammar is to be met with a sense of reverence and awe.”

    [quoting from the umbrella article]
    “The punishment for carrying on is to be dropped from roof height, legs apart, onto it, which will them be unceremonously opened.”

    It should read “then”, not “them”.

    I am your God now!

  29. honolululu says:

    Actually Mr. Walker this review might be up for debate.

    I’ve always wanted a golf game where you get to walk to your ball. And BOOM, foot deep divots everywhere. And the devs said no one gets unlucky.

    This game looks pretty cool, especially if your ball is stopped by the towns people. Like it looked like he was aiming high to get over their heads, but then the crowd sort of split so he was able to take new aim with the 3-iron. Be a real pain if some of them had umbrellas AND they were walking right in front of you.

    Is it just me or did those university chaps seem to put 110% into this baby. Anyway, remind me to download this later.

    *whistle*

  30. Mal says:

    Sorry Mr Walker, but I’m afraid you’re in violation of Wheaton’s Law. Nenene and pupsikao beat me to the sentiment, but it’s worth drawing attention to again.

    Additionally, I’d like to invoke Rule #14 in pointing out that “Wot you want to say” (right above the comment box) contravenes Rule #25.

  31. Clive dunn says:

    I think I’ve got golf war syndrome!

  32. Clave says:

    Hey guys, I’m actually a student in the class this game was produced in (although not in the same group, so I had nothing to do with making this game), and I think you might be going a little hard on it. Sure it’s not the greatest game ever, but come on, this is a uni project, not a commercially (or even independently) developed game. It should be said that the main goal for this project was getting us students to understand and go through the process involved in publishing a game and getting it out there, and considering they managed to get on the front page of RPS means that they just got alot of publicity for little effort, so kudos to them.

    But all that aside, seems a bit mean for an awesome, highly read site like RPS to run an article which serves only to belittle the work of a couple of students who are trying their best. Like another commenter mentioned, there are plenty of other terrible games out there to make fun of, this really kind of seems like picking on the little guy.

  33. Inigo says:

    That reminds me – whatever happened to Golf?

  34. Skurmedel says:

    I’d say it’s more interesting than the latest MoH and CoH incarnations.

  35. Eagle0600 says:

    I was actually at QUT when I read this.

  36. alh_p says:

    I’ve seen a chip shop called “A salt and battery”

  37. James says:

    I’m pretty sure this game is a rip-off of a Dinosaur Jr. video too

  38. Spakkenkhrist says:

    So you’re saying I have to open a bakery called “House of Pain” then?

  39. Octacon100 says:

    I think a game combining urban golf and mirror’s edge needs to be created, and it needs to be called Mirror’s Hedge.

    MIRROR’S HEDGE!

  40. Telemikus says:

    I had an idea to open a gay night club, based around Top Gun, and call it ‘The Cockpit’.

  41. Jimbo says:

    Sensible Massacre was better.

  42. Telemikus says:

    A Team style Kebab Van called ‘Ah Pitta the Fool’?

  43. The Little Guy says:

    A lot of this site is the journalists talking about things they’ve run into and evaluating them on whatever level they wish. Frequently they criticize various indie games (which could have the same reasons for being considered bad, perhaps they were learning) which this falls under the category of being (even if it is student made).

    Just because somebody makes something in college doesn’t mean that that thing can’t be “bad.” I’ve made bad things for classes, so can other people.

    Either way, criticism IS IMPORTANT whether bad or good. This is just as much part of the process as anything else, so I would recommend getting used to it.

    Side note: Undertown is…definitely taking a lot from the UDK. It seems to be mostly the 3d models/graphics (which are undeniably wonderful) that aren’t. But that’s just me being picky.

    • The Little Guy says:

      Fail response, but anyway…

      Note extension: Undertown also looks very slow paced and the powers all seem extremely unnecessary.

  44. Hobbes says:

    Gillen, come back! Your audience has arrived.

  45. Little Tohya says:

    I always wanted Toger Woods’ Underground, which would take the Tony Hawk formula but, instead of skateboards, you were bringing golf back to the streets. Not only would you have to compete across street courses around the world (Including an oil rig, a rooftop course and an abandoned prison), but you’d have to use your golfing skills to help out innocent bystanders along the way.

    About halfway through, it would add an element of revenge story, as your former best friend stabs you in the back in his quest for fame and fortune from the game. After thwacking your way back home, you’d be ready to pack it all in, until a former pro helps you understand the real meaning of golf; fresh with purpose, you’d assemble a like-minded team of pros, and finally – finally! – take on your former friend in a one-on-one grudge match… and win.

    Alas, my dream will never occur.

  46. Cloudy says:

    Nicely said Clave. Considering the limitations this team has had in the past they have done remarkably well, we have seen them strive so hard to produce this game. We all need to remember that this is a student work, they’ve done well.

  47. panther says:

    I goto that university :)

  48. luckystriker says:

    Holy crap!

  49. Fake_Loki says:

    People, people!
    This game is awesome!
    I showed up to a friend’s game presentation and the Golf War guys where there, along with other developers. They let me play their demo for a little while and let me have a copy. I think they showed massive self restraint given the amount of people asking things like “Can you hit the people?” This game is as politically correct as it could be. Well done to the developers!

    Also: If we don’t play it the terrorists win.

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