In the late 80’s, there were two sports games that dominated the video game sport genre. The first one was Double Dribble by Konami. It was their arcade style basketball game since it didn’t have the official license to put NBA players and teams into the game. The second one was Tecmo Bowl. To many, it was the first football title to have the NFL license and used a limited number of players for different teams. I enjoyed both games, but there was one game that took an unexpected approach to sports. It may be the first comedic game connected to a well known sport. The retro sport game I would bring back is a little title known as Arch Rivals.
Arch Rivals was developed and released in the arcades by Midway. Yes, the company who created NBA Jam. Designed by Jeff Nauman and Brian Colin, Arch Rivals was released in 1989. They marketed the game as “A Basketbrawl”. This two vs. two matchup allowed players to punch the opposing team to steal the ball. The game carried no fouls and encouraged players to go wild when they are on offense. The team with the ball must maneuver around to get to their side and score. Along with punching the opponent, there would be hazards like candy wrappers and soda can thrown to the floor. You can also be tripped by the referee at random times if you go by him.
You play four quarters with 4 minutes each quarter . When the third quarter starts, the teams reverse sides. You can choose from the 6 team names. You have Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Natural High, and Brawl State. Eight unknown characters with names like Blade, Hammer, Lewis, Mohawk, Moose, Reggie, Tyrone, and Vinnie, were the characters you could choose from.
If the game came back, I could picture it being 4-vs-4. Along with the ability to punch the opposition, it would be interesting with a counter attack that makes the player’s abilities or status’ stronger. With 3 perfect counters in a row, you can punch the other player out the stadium Smash Bros. style for 10 seconds. Just go for it. Oh, also, can’t forget the basketball itself. Since NBA Jam has been silent, I think they can incorporate some mechanics from that game.
I know a lot of people may have forgotten about Arch Rivals or never heard of it, but it was a fun game in the arcade. The NES version was ok, but playing it in the arcade was such a blast and hilarious when you played against another person. Now that arcade-style sport games are slowly making a comeback, this would fit right in as a budget title for modern games. Just punch it up with new mechanics and ball till you fall. Literally!
Have you played Arch Rivals? What retro sport game would you revive? Let us know in the comments or on our Discord.