Leaderboard, Atari 800

A version of the classic Access Software golf game, Leaderboard, was ported to Atari home computers by Kevin Homer in 1986.

While the Atari 8-bit systems were very capable machines it’s fair to say that this conversion is not really a patch on the Commodore 64 original. The game plays okay, but it looks a bit rough next the C64 version.

The chunky graphics look fine for the background graphics, but the golfer definition and animation isn’t as good-looking as in the original.

Every button/key press in the game is punctuated with a beep, which is unnecessary and gets annoying quickly. There’s also an on-screen timer in this version, which is also completely unnecessary.

Thankfully, the famous Leaderboard power/snap control system has survived intact in this port, and making shots is just as simple and intuitive as in the original. That said: ball movement doesn’t seem quite right (the ball even disappears on occasion), and putting in this is much easier than in the original. Arguably: too easy.

One thing this Atari conversion does have, that the other versions don’t, is a demo mode. If you leave the controls alone when the game loads, after a short while the game will start playing itself. It’s not a big deal – just something I noticed.

I would say that this Atari port of Leaderboard is better than the ZX Spectrum conversion, but isn’t anything special. In fact: it’s a bit of a missed opportunity.

From what I can tell: Leaderboard Tournament – with its extra four courses – made it onto the Atari 8-bit systems, but Executive Leaderboard and World Class Leaderboard didn’t.

More: Leaderboard on Wikipedia

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