High Impact Football

High Impact Football

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

Long before the XFL, there was High Impact Football, a bone-crunching version of the classic American sport that put the emphasis on nasty hits and trash talking. This graphically-advanced, fast-paced Williams hit was developed by, among others, programming legend Eugene Jarvis (Defender, Robotron: 2084) and future programming legend Ed Boon (the Mortal Kombat series).

On the field, the game generally functioned according to American football rules, allowing a wide selection of running, passing and kicking plays. The only difference was the higher tolerance for crushing tackles and violent late hits. Up to four players could compete simultaneously, leading to manic frenzies of button pounding and more than a little off-screen trash talk as well.

Essentially, the gameplay hadn’t changed much since the days of Atari’s 4-Player Football in 1979 (after all, the rules of football hadn’t changed), but High Impact Football took full advantage of 10 years’ advancements in graphics and sound. On the game’s sound system, announcers spouted witty play calls, fans cheered and players taunted each other with menacing threats. But the game’s biggest selling point was its digitized graphics. By capturing real human figures as characters (actually, every player on the field was a digital copy of Ed Boon), High Impact Football set the standard in graphic realism, honing the technology that would later be used in the phenomenally successful Mortal Kombat series.

After a year of success, the programming team unveiled an enhanced, updated version, Super High Impact. Naturally, the new game offered more plays, new smack and new teams (no officially licensed NFL franchises, however), but Super High Impact also cranked up the bad attitude. Now, when players disagreed with a ref’s call, they were allowed to fight it out (with another player, not the ref).

The turbo-charged action of High Impact Football and its sequel didn’t win any sportsmanship awards, but it won the hearts and quarters of gamers. By the time another follow-up arrived seven years later, the NFL had signed on, and the popular NFL Blitz series picked up the torch of angry, breakneck football.

Arcade Machine Release History

1990 - High Impact Football
1991 - Super High Impact

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Machine Manufacturer

Williams, Midway

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