Super Dodge Ball might just be the ideal game from the 8-bit era that you didn’t play. It’s exactly what the title says, your team (USA in our NES version) battles dodge ball teams from around the globe in a tournament. Each team (from places like Iceland, Kenya and China) had different strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes their dodge ball courts themselves provided difficulties, such as the Iceland court being…icy. Each member of the teams could dash, jump, throw and catch the dodge balls, and also had superpowered moves if you timed them right while dashing or dashing/jumping.
If you check out the screenshots below, you might notice that it bears more than a passing resemblance to last week’s OGT entrant, River City Ransom. That’s because, in Japan, there was a whole series of ‘Kunio-kun’ games (Kunio being the main character in most of them), with only a few making it over here. SDB was made for a few other platforms, and is currently available via the Wii Virtual Console. In addition to the tournament mode, you had 2 player VS play, as well as a schoolyard brawl mode (also 1 or 2 players). There is one thing that makes Super Dodge Ball hard to enjoy in it’s original environment – there can be many times where there is too much activity on the screen and the characters flicker. It was a limitation of the NES. Still, I got past it easily and it shouldn’t stop you.
I consider Super Dodge Ball an ‘ideal’ NES game because it does exactly what you need it to do. It’s easy to learn – your buddies could pick it up in a few minutes – but hard enough to entertain. The same goofily endearing graphics from River City Ransom make nailing a guy with one of your super shots particularly fun. It’s simple fun, and we can all use that. Check it out, won’t you?