John Elway's Quarterback (NES)

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John Elway's Quarterback
John Elway's Quarterback - NES.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1987
Developer: Rare, Ltd.
Buy: Amazon

John Elway's Quarterback was originally an arcade game developed by the Leland corporation, but it was also ported to MS-DOS, Commodore 64, and the NES (one of the earliest football titles for the console). The NES version was handled by Rare (the same guys who brought us Donkey Kong Country and Battletoads). Unfortunately, Rare did a poor job handling the game. Even selecting your team at the start is a chore. In most games, Left and right on the D-pad select something and A and B either accept or cancel out the options, but in this game while selecting your team, all directions of the D-pad select your team and pressing A and B at the same time confirms the team you've selected. This alone should be a sign on how bad the game is. During the game, the football players have really terrible animation. The sound effects can get annoying and there's is barely a soundtrack. Overall, it would have been better if the game (the NES version at least) wasn't made at all.


John Elway's Quarterback - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

John Elway's Quarterback - NES - Team Select.png

Selecting a team.

John Elway's Quarterback - NES - Gameplay 1.png

Playing a game of football.

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This page needs more screenshots.



The game does have a good soundtrack, but unfortunately, there's barely any music in the game. There's no in-game music whatsoever, just the sounds of fans cheering and other random sounds. The team select time is ported from the arcade version which was composed by Sam Powell. To the game's credit, at least the NES version has more than one song. Since this was the first time Rare converted an arcade game to a home console, this was the first time David had to learn the arcade song by ear and convert it by hand to the NES. David Wise made some good 8-bit tunes, but unfortunately, all but one of them don't loop. David had to enter the music using Chris Stamper's sound driver in hexadecimal. Sam Powell got to compose his score for the arcade version on Master Tracks for the Macintosh.


# Title ComposerArrangerProgrammer Length Listen Download
01 Title Screen David WiseDavid WiseChris Stamper 0:11
02 Team Select Sam PowellDavid WiseChris Stamper 1:40
03 End of Quarter David WiseDavid WiseChris Stamper 0:12
04 Halftime David WiseDavid WiseChris Stamper 0:10
05 End of Game David WiseDavid WiseChris Stamper 0:11
06 Touchdown Tommy WalkerDavid WiseChris Stamper 0:01
07 It's Good David WiseDavid WiseChris Stamper 0:01
08 No Good David WiseDavid WiseChris Stamper 0:02
09 Safety David WiseDavid WiseChris Stamper 0:02


(Source: Arcade credits, verification from David Wise; game lacks credits.)

Because this is such an early title for the NES, there are no staff credits. We have contacted David Wise who has confirmed working on the music and sound for all of Rare's NES games. According to Wise, Chris Stamper programmed the sound driver. There are no credits, since most NES Rare games had no credits at all, possibly preventing staff poaching.

Game Rip





Download 2 KB

The NSF file only contains the nine songs and no sound effects. The recording was made in VirtuaNSF. Ripping NES music is a very arduous process that is beyond the scope of this site.


  USA.svg   USA
John Elway's Quarterback - NES.jpg
Title: John Elway's Quarterback
Platform: NES
Released: 1989-03-??
Publisher: Tradewest

Quarterback Platform - ARC.png
John Elway's Quarterback Platform - ARC.png • Platform - A2.png • Platform - A2GS.png • Platform - C64.png • Platform - CPC.png • Platform - NES.png • Platform - PCB.png • Platform - ZXS.png
John Elway's Team Quarterback Platform - ARC.png
All American Football Platform - ARC.png
Pro Quarterback Platform - GEN.png • Platform - SNES.png
Troy Aikman's NFL Football Platform - GEN.png • Platform - JAG.png • Platform - SNES.png
Notable Songs Team Select
Notable Personnel Sam Powell • David Wise • Raymond Genovese • Eric Hammond • Rob Atesalp
Notable Companies Leland • Rare • Tradewest • Mastertronic • Shadowmasters Design