History of Links
Part 2: Links: The Challenge of
Released in 1990, Links: The
Challenge of Golf
blew away the competition. This
trendsetting title pushed the limits of home computer
technology with the latest in video and sound!
The use of VGA graphics and incredible ball physics
brought about a new standard of realism that we still see
today. The Links team built a true golfing simulator
that stood apart from other golf games of the time.
Photographed trees and clubhouses, recorded sounds, and
digitized golfer animations made it seem as though you were
actually on the course.
Of course with realism came a
price. You needed a pretty hefty machine to be able to play
the game. At the time a 286 IBM PC was fairly common. You
could play Links
on a 286, but it was very slow. A
speedy 386 (12mhz) or faster was the computer you wanted to
Links was the first version to use the now well-known
C-style swing gauge and aiming marker. I remember trying to
get used to that click-hold-release-click action. It was
strange at first but became natural after only a few tries.
Up to 8 players could compete
against each other in this version of Links. Players could
choose from three levels of gameplay - beginner, amateur, or
pro. You could also choose which clubs you wanted in your bag
and which tees you wanted to play from.
Torrey Pines was the first course created for Links, and
was released with the game. However, there was a special offer
in the box to get the Design Team's home course, Bountiful
Golf Club, for only $9.95. That was $15 off the suggested
retail price. You can get about 5-10 courses for that
suggested price today! Other courses came soon after. Bay
Hill, Firestone, Pinehurst, and more were released over the
months following the release of Links: The Challenge of
Links: The Challenge of Golf
standard that other games strived for. However, it wasn't
until 1992 that a new version of Links
Links 386 Pro
caused a stir in the gaming industry
that I remember all too well. That's the focus in the next
segment of the History of Links
3: Links 386 Pro
For even more history on Links
Software, take a look at these
from the "On the Links
published the summer of 1991.
Special thanks to Radim Ponert for the use of his
Links: The Challenge of Golf screen shots!