Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 7 / FEBRUARY 1990


Gridiron Excitement Year 'Round


The football season is officially over and the Superbowl is still a few weeks away--what's an arm-chair quarterback to do? With your ST, you can fill those waiting hours with challenging fun and excitement. START's Crunch Time Football lets you make exciting runs, spectacular passes, bone-crushing tackles and game-winning touchdowns any time of the year--and there's even a halftime show! The program was written in GFA BASIC 3.0 and runs in low resolution only.

You make the calls in the file FOOTBALL.ARC on Side 1 of Your START disk.

Crunch Time Football is just like the real thing.
At the play screen you can run, pass, punt, go
for a field goal--anything it takes to win the
game. Who knows?--maybe this is the year you
make it to the Super Bowl!

Crunch Time Football is a one-player arcade football game--it's just you against the computer. On offense, you call the plays: you can run, pass, lateral, punt or try field goals. On defense, you choose the defensive formation then try to tackle the runner and keep the other team from advancing the ball.

Getting Started

To run Crunch Time Football, boot this month's START disk; the START Menu runs automatically. At the main screen, click on Prepare, then select "CrunchTimeFootball." The program will un-ARC directly onto the destination disk you specify. Plug in your joystick and double-click on GFABASRO.PRG (the GFA BASIC 3.0 Run Only program) and then select FOOTBALL.GFA in the file-selector box. Make sure that the data files FB2.DAT, FB3.DAT and FB4.DAT are in the same directory.

Crunch Time's title screen will appear while the program loads the graphics data. When it finishes loading, you're given a series of screens to choose your team colors, enter your team name and select the level of difficulty: High School, College, Pro or Super Bowl. College is the default setting, but you may want to try High School until you get the hang of it. A word of warning: Super Bowl level is tough--you better know your football before you tackle it. Now, press the fire button to begin the game. The computer's team kicks off, and you control the receiving player with the joystick.

Offense and Defense

On offense, choose your play from the play-selection screen. Move the joystick to highlight the play you want. Press the fire button and the teams will line up. Press the fire button again to start the play. As soon as the players start moving, you can control the quarterback with your joystick. To pass or lateral, simply press the fire button. Joystick control transfers to the player who catches the ball.

Your offensive plays are diagramed on the selection screen and you should study the diagrams so that you know how each play is designed. Of course, you don't have to run the play precisely as designed. You can run in any direction that you want. You can fake a pass or lateral and keep the ball. Carefully watch how the defense reacts when you drop back to pass. You may want to release the ball quickly or wait for the receiver to get open. But if you wait too long, you may not get the pass off.

Within Crunch Time we've included two secret plays. If something happens that you don't expect, try to figure out how you did it. Both plays are very effective and once you know how to run them, you can use them whenever you want.

On defense, you select your alignment: Basic 4-3, Run Prevent, Pass Prevent, Blitz or Goal Line. You control the defensive player who is flashing just before the play begins. The computer's team has all the same options that you have on offense.

You may quit the current game after any play by pressing [Q]. A dialog box will appear giving you the option of starting another game or exiting the program.


Like real football, Crunch Time gameplay takes a combination of skill and luck. As you play the game more and more, you'll improve both on offense and defense. However, some things, like fumbles and interceptions, just happen--even to the best players. In a close game, it's the turnovers that can determine the outcome.

There are numerous variables that determine the difficulty and outcome of each play: the selection of the defense, the speed of the rush, etc. Because of the multiple factors, the game forces you to react to the action. The offensive plays were designed so that they usually, but not always, work best if run as designed, due to the positioning of the defensive players. But they were also designed so that the defense will not always react the same way. On the average, each play is approximately equal, but your skill can affect the outcome significantly.

Just as you need to read the defense when you have the ball, you need to look for keys to the computer offense when you're on defense. It will take lots of practice before you're able to know what to look for. As you get more experience with the different defenses, you should be able to eliminate a lot of the mistakes that you'll make at the beginning. Just remember, you better have a good defense if you want to go to the Super Bowl!

That's all there is to it (except for the crowd scenes and the halftime show, of course). We hope you enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Jim "Poppy" Kocher is a retired rock'n'roll drummer, a trial attorney and sports fan who programs computer games for relaxation. Jesse Kocher is a 13-year-old artist and middle-school student. They both live in Eugene, Oregon, this is their first program for START.