Mulligan. Mulligan. Mulligan.

Source // Lemon 64

The title Leaderboard caught me out when checking the list to see which game was next. "Leaderboard? That's pretty generic, isn't it? What is it?" Turns out it's golf, and by the screenshot in the 1001 entry, not too shabby looking either.

I know of a few golf games, but this is supposedly the golf game - at least in terms of having the look and the mechanics that today's golf games have - and I haven't got a clue what it's like.


I was only able to play the ZX Spectrum version of Leaderboard. I say 'play', I probably mean 'flail at'. Controls are simple. Select your club, hit a button to start your swing, again to set your power and hope you're on target so that you don't have to adjust it any further.

Needless to say I got absolutely nowhere with it. Couldn't even hit it further than a few measly yards. It was pathetic, frankly, and I got annoyed and watched the Commodore 64 version on YouTube instead.

Fun Times

Now this version is what I was expecting. While the courses take a while to render, despite their apparent simplicity, you can see just why this is an important step in video game golfing. Everything you'd expect from a golf game seems to be here:

Do you see the green out in the distance, rather than like a bird from above? Yes.
Do you need to select your club and fill a power bar to the right strength for that club? Yes.
Do you need to pray the wind doesn't mess you about and send your ball into the water? Yes.

Speaking of water, why is there so much of it? Leaderboard is golf played on floating islands, not on greens in the middle of roughs, or whatever the terminology is. It looks challenging from the off, so good luck getting to grips with the controls.

Final Word

Not too much can be said for sure having been almost grossed out by the ZX Spectrum version, but there is something about Leaderboard. Probably the inclusion of all those important steps in golfing history, making it more realistic and so on.

Games make things in life - sports, jobs, roles - accessible to those who wouldn't be able to experience them in life. By their nature they have to water things down and simplify everything to the essentials, ultimately to whatever works as a mechanic, but if a game captures the essence of the thing it is recreating, that's great. Leaderboard seems to do that, making itself a top title in the process.

Not everyone is going to want to play golf - there are far more exciting video games to play - but as far as golfing games go you can't get much better than this. Until something better comes along, and given that this is a historical list and golf games are still made then, yes, something better will come along... you know what, just give Leader Board a hole or two. It's worth it.

Fun Facts

Sequels to Leaderboard would include the option to print your score card. I bet the Tiger Woods series of golf games never got that into the sport...

Leaderboard, developed by Bruce Carver, Roger Carver, first released in 1986.
Version played: ZX Spectrum, 1986, via emulation.
Version watched: Commodore 64, 1986 (DerSchmu)