Links (series)

Links is the name of a series of golf simulation computer games, first developed by Access Software, and then later by Microsoft after it acquired Access Software in 1999. Microsoft also produced its own series of golf games based on Links, under the title Microsoft Golf. The Links series was a flagship brand for Access, and was continued from 1990 to 2003. The first game in the series, Links: The Challenge of Golf, won Computer Gaming World's 1991 Action Game of the Year award.[1]

Several versions of the game and expansion packs (containing new courses[2] and golfers[3] mainly) were created for the Mac and PC over the years. In 1996, Access Software introduced Links LS 1997, the first of several Links games to use the LS (Legends in Sports) title.[4] A version for the Xbox named Links 2004 was released in November 2003. It would be the final game in the series. In March 2004, Microsoft announced the cancellation of its 2004 lineup of sports games, allowing the company to focus on improving such games. The company stated, "Links is something that we're taking a hard look at what we need to do."[5] At the end of 2004, Microsoft sold Indie Built (formerly Access Software) to Take-Two Interactive.[6][7] Indie Built was later shut down in 2006.

Many members of the development team now work for TruGolf, a golf simulator company based out of Centerville, Utah.[8]

List of games

The following games were developed by Access Software

Microsoft produced the following games after its purchase of Access Software in 1999.

  • Links Extreme (1999) Windows[10]
  • Links LS 2000 (1999) Windows
  • Links 2001 (2000) Windows
    • Links Championship Edition (2001) Windows (includes Links 2001, Links Expansion Pack, a course designer, a course converter and 4 new courses)[11]
  • Links 2003 (2002) Windows Microsoft Game Studios[12]
    • Links 2003 Championship Edition (2003) Windows (includes Links 2003 and Links 2003 Championship Courses)[13]
  • Links 2004 (2003) Xbox[14]

Course disks

The following disks add additional courses to the main Links games.

Microsoft Golf

Before its purchase of Access Software, Microsoft published a series of golf games similar to Links, under the title Microsoft Golf. The first three games in the series are Windows-compatible versions of the early Links games, which were published for DOS. The first three entries in the Microsoft Golf series were developed by Access Software for Microsoft, and were sometimes labeled by publications as Links Lite.[16][17][18][19][20][21] Microsoft subsequently published Microsoft Golf 1998 Edition and 1999 Edition, which were developed by Friendly Software as separate games not based on Links.[17][21][22] After Access Software was acquired by Microsoft in 1999, Microsoft produced Microsoft Golf 2001 Edition, which was based on Links, and then discontinued the Microsoft Golf series to continue with the Links series. The following games were produced in the Microsoft Golf series:

Reception

Aggregate review scores
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Links LS 1999 85%[23]
Links Extreme 51%[24]
Links LS 2000 79%[25]
Links 2001 86/100[26]
Links 2003 82/100[27]
Links 2004 80/100[28]

Computer Gaming World in 1996 ranked the 1990 version of Links fifth on the magazine's list of the most innovative computer games, stating that the game "may have inspired more 'business machine upgrades' than any other game".[29] In 1996 Next Generation ranked it 69th on their "Top 100 Games of All Time", contending that "many prefer EA's PGA series, but Links takes the title by a hair's breadth. With real life courses, and enough stats, sliders, and options to choke a horse, Links re-creates everything but the swing (which is still accomplished with a 'three click' power bar)."[30]

During 1999, Links LS 2000 sold 104,225 copies and earned $4.6 million in the United States.[31] Links 2001 rose to 240,000 copies and $8.2 million in the United States by August 2006, which made it the 84th-best-selling computer game released between January 2000 and August 2006 in the region. Combined sales of all Links games released in the 2000s reached 720,000 copies in the United States by August 2006.[32]

In the United States, Links Championship Edition sold over 100,000 copies by August 2006.[32]

Links 2003 was a nominee for PC Gamer US's "2002 Best Sports Game" award, which ultimately went to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003. The magazine's Dan Morris called Links 2003 "a terrific game".[33]

See also

References

  1. Staff (November 1991). "Computer Gaming World's 1991 Games of the Year Awards". Computer Gaming World. Golden Empire Publications, Inc (88): 38–40, 58.
  2. Devil's island course expansion on GameSpot
  3. Davis Love III golfer expansion from TheComputerShow.com
  4. Sengstack, Jeff (August 15, 1996). "Links LS". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 12, 2004.
  5. Robinson, Jon (March 29, 2004). "Game Over". IGN. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original on June 5, 2004.
  6. Feldman, Curt (December 17, 2004). "Take-Two helps Microsoft get out of sports game". GameSpot. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  7. GamesIndustry International (December 17, 2004). "Microsoft sells off sports game studio to Take Two". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011.
  8. "Golf Simulators - Indoor Virtual Golf & Software - TruGolf". TruGolf.
  9. Links: The Challenge of Golf at MobyGames
  10. Links Extreme comment at Games.net
  11. Microsoft LPGA Press Release Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Links 2003 comment at GameNationTV.com
  13. Links 2003 Championship Edition Press Release Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Links 2004 review at ArmChairEmpire.com
  15. Links Golf Courses Library at LangKong.com Archived July 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  16. May, Scott A. (April 1997). "Links Lite: Microsoft Golf 3.0 Levels the Field for Win 95 Golfers". Computer Gaming World. p. 112.
  17. Lackey, Jeff (June 19, 1998). "Microsoft Golf: 1998 Edition". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on July 10, 2003. Microsoft's golf sims in the past could be best described as "Links Lite": they were basically slightly modified versions of the venerable Links series.
  18. May, Scott A. (October 1998). "Swing Time! Microsoft Steps Out of LINKS Shadow With a Decent New Golf Game". Computer Gaming World. p. 260. Licensed from Access Software, versions 1-3 were essentially LINKS LITE [...]
  19. Rosano, Paul (July 12, 1998). "Microsoft's 'Golf' Has Handicaps". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  20. House, Michael L. "Microsoft Golf 1999 Edition review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  21. McDonald, T. Liam (February 17, 1999). "Golf 1999". GameSpot. Archived from the original on October 5, 2003. [...] previous incarnations of Microsoft Golf were essentially Links Lite for Windows.
  22. Products Archived 2009-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  23. "Links LS 1999". GameRankings. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  24. "Links Extreme". GameRankings. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  25. "Links LS 2000". GameRankings. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  26. "Links 2001". Metacritic. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  27. "Links 2003". Metacritic. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  28. "Links 2004". Metacritic. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  29. "The 15 Most Innovative Computer Games". Computer Gaming World. November 1996. p. 102. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  30. "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. September 1996. p. 47.
  31. Rosano, Paul (February 13, 2000). "The Best Don't Always Sell". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018.
  32. Edge Staff (August 25, 2006). "The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century". Edge. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.
  33. Morris, Dan (March 2003). "The Ninth Annual PC Gamer Awards". PC Gamer US. 10 (3): 48–50, 54, 58, 60, 66, 68, 70.
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