2 players simultaneous
Blitz! is a simulation of American football. Each player (which the game supports a simultaneous two player mode) controls one member of their team on offense and defense and the basic objective is to move the ball up the field to reach the opposition end zone. This is done using a series of "downs", there being four downs available to move the ball ten yards forward. If a player fails to achieve that then the ball turns over to the opposition offense. The player can also score by opting to attempt to kick the ball between the opponent's goal (called a field goal and worth fewer points than a touchdown).
When on offense, the player controls the snapping of the ball (which must be done within 30 seconds of the formations being set) and then the quarterback, who can either run with the ball himself, or pass it to a team mate by "pointing" the joystick towards that receiving player, which the player will then assume control of to run with the ball.
On defense, the player controls a single defender who runs faster than any of his teammates and is thus most able to tackle the opposition's ball carrier.
Players can be penalised and be moved back five yards by either delaying the game (not snapping within 30 seconds), or moving offside (crossing the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped).
After each game, a statistics screen is shown, listing items such as number of first downs and total rushing and passing yards for each team.
- Choose between one or two players using button 1.
- Choose game type using button 2. There are three options, each being the same basic game but varying in speed and difficulty, Game 1 being the easiest/slowest and Game 3 being the hardest/fastest.
- The joystick controls the ball carrier around the field on offense, and one of the player's defenders on defense.
- Button 1 - creates a strong left formation and is also used for field goal selection.
- Button 2 - creates a power middle formation and is also used for punt selection.
- Button 3 - creates a spread formation and is also used to release a pass or kick.
- Button 4 - creates a strong right formation and is also used to snap the ball.
- A touchdown (carrying or passing the ball into the opposition end zone) scores 7 points.
- A field goal (kicking the ball through the opposition goal posts) scores 3 points.
- A safety (tackling an opponent in the end zone) scores 2 points.
- Blitz! was one of only two sports games originally released for the Vectrex. The other game is the soccer game Heads Up.
- In Europe, Blitz! was subtitled American Football, in the US the subtitle was Action Football (perhaps a licensing issue at the time?). It was not available in Japan.
- The game was programmed by Jeff Corsiglia in 1982.
- There is a "self play" mode which kicks in if the player doesn't start a game manually. The game plays itself, but the player still has limited control of player movement using the joystick.
- The one player mode is more of a practice mode in that the player only ever plays on offense - when the Vectrex assumes control of the ball it will always either punt or attempt a field goal.
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Blitz was another game designed for the Vectrex by Jeff Corsiglia in 1982. Blitz is very similar in gameplay and look to 'Barrier' programmed for Vectorbeam by the then 17 year-old Rob Patton. Below is an excerpt from an article titled 'Tim Skelly's History of Cinematronics and Vectorbeam', and gives insight into the happenings around the time of the production of Blitz and Barrier.
"One day Jim Pierce walked into the lab with a Mattell handheld football game. This was the first handheld game and extremely popular, despite being incredibly simple, with just a few LEDs for a display. Jim thought we should turn it into a video game. I told him that it would certainly stink as a video game and would probably mean a law suit from Mattell. He forgot about it for a while, but when it became clear that Rob had run out of things to do, Jim talked me into letting Rob program it strictly as a learning exercise. That game was Blitz, later Barrier. To make Jim happy, we put it out on test. It did very poorly, to put it nicely, and we stuffed it in the closet." (Skelly 1999)
Being an Australian I know hardly anything about Gridiron but this game is one of the more entertaining of the Vectrex library. The idea is to manoeuvre your little man around the screen, he is marked by an X, and try to gain 10 yards so as to have another scrum (rugby jargon) and try to gain another 10 yards until you reach the touchdown line and you score a touchdown.
Unfortunately the Vectrex Control Panel does not move faithfully in all 8 directions and I found my passes to fellow team-mates being intercepted when I moved it in a Northeast or Northwest direction. It is cool though when you make a pass which goes for around 15-20 yards and your team-mate catches it. Blitz, I hear, is a good rendition of the actual game and I quite enjoyed it. Blitz sometimes appears on ebay for around $25.U.S.
Score 7/10Review written by Daniel Foot
This article was featured from September - October, 2020.