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What's the deal with all the wacky golf games?


Would you believe Good Friday isn't a bank holiday in Ireland? I didn't, until I found myself living it. I'm here driving the RPS bus alone, nobody to stop me as I careen down the motorway screaming and trying to slam on the brakes. But I can't, because a golf ball has rolled under the pedal!

You ride this bus long enough, you see games move in cycles similar to fashion designers, or those big ferris wheels at fairgrounds. Things come round, they peak, they go round again. Often a few different people independently notice an empty niche and start working on something to fill it, so you get a bunch of games with similar themes or styles coming out within months of each other. So I ask: why and/or how have a bunch of people identified golf as a gap in the market?

Specifically it's golf but a bit wacky and cool. Not your mamma's golf, baby! At the end of last year we had Golf Club Wasteland. Then RPGolf Legends. Cursed To Golf is coming out later in 2022. There's Rocket-League-but-golf game Turbo Golf Racing, and recently Golf Gang was announced as well, a kind of Fall Guys but with balls instead of beans.

I understand how it works, thematically. Golf is kind of a stuffy game for boring rich people and/or old dudes, right? That's the perception, anyway. So making it ker-azy is extra trope-subversion, extra contrast. I get that.

But why golf? How did everyone hit upon this? Did a bunch of people go on a golf stag do or team-building retreat in 2018? Personally I think What The Golf probably started this. Golf, but fun (please don't come at me, golfers), and everyone loved it! I know Dangerous Golf came out in 2016 but I feel like What The Golf made more of a dent.

Any suggestions for other sports that can be made into not-sports games? Or weird stuff to do with golf? A golf deckbuilder. A tennis roguelike with zombies. Give me your best shot. Tee off. Ho ho.

Disclosure: my partner worked on Golf Gang for about three months.

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About the Author
Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

RPS's dep ed. Small person powered by tea and enthusiasm for video game romances. Send me interesting etymological facts and cool horror games.

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