Volleyball Review

Volleyball is part of the black box series of NES games that were released early in the console’s life. Sports titles in general were a big part of that series of games which also includes Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, and Tennis to name a few. Does Volleyball serve up a passable experience?

Horrid Gameplay

Volleyball is an incredibly hard game to control and offers little direction on what you need to do. If you’re familiar with the sport, and you probably are if your physical education classes forced it on you, then you can see the basics are implemented. One team serves while the other receives the ball. The serving team will score a point if the other team misses the ball or hits the net. That is all fine, however, the game falls apart when you try to do any of that.

I played the game a few times without any prior knowledge and only managed to return the ball two or three times. It wasn’t until I sought out the instruction manual (thanks Digit Press) that I learned how to control the game. This didn’t really do me much good as I still have yet to score a point. The A button is used to serve the ball, as well as to receive, set and return the ball. The B button can also receive the ball, though it serves as a weaker version of the two, but is used to spike the ball. Spiking the ball is the hardest part of the game and it’s incredibly difficult to execute. As if that wasn’t enough, you only know which characters you are controlling when you use the d-pad and discover which players respond to your input.

Boring Affair

Aside from the game being a chore to play, it’s also incredibly boring. There are only two modes to play, one of which includes training. The only positive thing I can say about the game is that at least in training, the characters you control are highlighted by turning red. The other mode is the main game mode and you really aren’t given much selection here. You are forced to play as the United States, no offense to my neighbours to the south, and must pick a country’s team to go up against.

You can choose to play as women or men, which is something I guess, but the option only gives the illusion of content. You can play with another player, which is normally a big plus in my eyes, but convincing somebody to tread through these murky waters would be an insurmountable task. That might actually be the most excitement one could get from Volleyball.

Ugly Presentation

The same console that gave us beautiful classics such as Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man 2, and Kirby’s Adventure also gave us Volleyball. The graphics are not attractive in the slightest and predominantly feature what I would refer to as “piss yellow,” which is appropriate because every player on the court is animated to look like they severely need to relieve themselves. Volleyball also features a quirky audio loop that quickly becomes annoying. This game is an assault on all senses. 


Volleyball is one of the worst video games I’ve ever had the misfortune of playing. It doesn’t really do anything right and being an early NES game isn’t an excuse for it when Super Mario Bros. released two years prior. I’ve spent more time working on this review than I did actually playing the game, which should tell you all you need to know about Volleyball.

Final Score: -3

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