Business-like, isn't he?



Good game for a little gadget-- Tiger Woods for Palm

by Alan Zisman (c) 2000. First published in Toronto Computes, February 2000

Tiger Woords PGA Tour Golf for Palm Computing Organizers
Electronic Arts Sports
about $45
requires: Palm Pilot Professional, Palm III or better with 500K, Pentium 133 or higher PC or PowerPC-Mac

You know when you?ve got a real computing platform when there are games for it.

In the dreary dark days of the soul for Apple, for instance, no one bothered producing games for the platform. You knew that Steve Jobs? company was on the way back when they started having new games to show off the new hardware. One of the selling points for Linux has been that users could play Doom on it, almost from day one.

And with an estimated 85% of the growing handheld platform, Palm users are finally starting to be taken seriously by game developers. Oh, there have been games before for the popular little computers?go to, for instance, and you can take your pick of 170 shareware game downloads. But it?s something else when one of the world?s biggest gaming companies chooses to develop for the Palm.

Now, try and imagine who it is that spends $300-700 on a little device that?s basically designed to store phone numbers, appointments, and to-do lists. What sort of game would you design for a Palm owner? I?m sure some Palm owners would enjoy the action of a good hockey game, or a 1st person, 3D shooter. But I suspect that EA Sports took a good look at the Palm owner demographics in deciding to make their first game for the platform Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf.

You?re a little limited in what you can put on a couple of hundred pixels of black and white screen?so don?t expect the lush colour and realistic vistas of the golf games that EA and others have developed for larger PCs. And remember, there?s no hard drive storage?everything has to fit into the Palm?s strictly limited RAM. As it is, you?ll need at least 500kb of available storage RAM on your Palm. Still, considering the limitations, the game looks pretty good.

As well, since the software ships on CD, you?ll need to be able to connect your handheld to a PC or Mac, in order to download the game to your Palm device.

Once you?re up and running, you can play as Tiger, as one of seven other PGA pros, or as yourself, on your choice of three replica 18-hole PGA courses: Sumerlin, Sawgrass, or Badlands. You?ve got three modes of play?Stroke Play simply lets you pick a hole and play on through to the end of the course. Tournament Play lets up to four real or virtual players compete, which in Fast Play mode, you?re in the role of Tiger Woods trying to finish 18 holes in under 30 minutes.

You?ll need to account for weather, and pick the right club for the shot. You can try to control your backswing, downswing and accuracy, while choosing to slice, chip, or hook. All in all, a lot of control for a little gadget!

Note that EA is trying to control piracy on this new platform?in order to enable the game, you need to register it online, typing in both a serial number from the CD and a Palm User ID # that appears onscreen when you install it?until you register, you?re limited to the same single-hole play as the downloadable demo.

Can we expect something similar (perhaps in colour) for Microsoft?s competing Windows CE handhelds? Don?t hold your breath!

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan