It’s been 7 long years for college football video gaming fans since the last edition of EA Sports’ NCAA football related video game was last made. Well, in spite of everything that 2021 has brought upon us, in a turn of events that not even the best college football odds experts would have predicted, EA Sports announced that they were going to be bringing back their beloved and missed EA Sports College Football video game in mid-July 2023. This, added to the soon to be released Madden NFL 22 game got us thinking about which some of the best NFL and college football related video games in history have been.
Without further stalling, here are our picks for the best NFL and NCAA football related video games ever.
This list wouldn’t start off correctly without first mentioning what could be considered the godfather of all NFL video games in the world, NES’ Tecmo Bowl. While the game was a hit first in arcades all over the US, it was when it debuted in NES where it truly took off into becoming an all-time favorite for both football fans and video gaming fans.
The game in itself didn’t really have a lot of science, and by that I mean that the game only ever gave you the option of two run plays or two pass plays, but the secret to success didn’t lie in how to work those plays to your advantage. No, the secret to success was picking either the Raiders who had superstar athlete Bo Jackson as their star running back or the Chicago Bears who had legendary running back Walter Payton as their main star. Pick any of the two and there was no way you would ever lose.
Do you remember how the NBA had NBA Jam in the 90’s for people who were looking for a more physical, to not say violent version of the sport they loved? Well, in the NFL’s case, NFL Blitz was the game to go to when looking for exactly that but in football. Blitz, just like NBA Jam and Tecmo Bowl were arcade classics that made their way into home consoles and became cult classics.
In Blitz you would play seven-on-seven games with players blazing through the screen while throwing and catching passes with a ball that would shoot smoke out of it. Do you really need any more of an explanation after all this? If you have a chance to play NFL Blitz you’ll see why it was so addicting.
NCAA Football 2014
It was the last of its generation and boy did the void left by its absence become more and more apparent as time went by. NCAA Football 2014 was not only the last version of EA Sports’ college football video game but also the best version in the whole franchise. This game was perfect, especially taking into account it had to play second fiddle to the Madden NFL franchise year in and year out.
Their gameplay features were top-notched as well as their Dynasty Mode, which to this day can easily be considered one of the best around. Also, the fact that you could run all the great offensive college drills that you could never run in Madden only made it that much better. Here’s to hoping that with the relaunch of the franchise, the game can dazzle fans as much or more than what this classic did.
NFL GameDay 98
Sometimes you have to look back at certain classics that at first glance you might not think were that important to the gaming scene, but after taking a moment to really think about it, you see that those games were cementing the way for future greatness. That’s the case with Sony’s NFL GameDay ’98.
With their introduction of 3-D models of players as well as their total control passing feature allowing gaming fans to actually be able to lead receivers to a specific spot where the passes where going to go to as well as being able to underthrow the ball to avoid turnovers, this game, while forgotten by some, should be considered a classic to all.
Madden NFL 2004
Look, the debate on which of all of the Madden NFL franchise titles is best is one that could go on for days, but I’m here to stop it and proclaim Madden NFL 2004 as the best one of all times. Why? Simple, Michael Vick. Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles QB amongst other teams was at the primer of his career, before getting involved in dog fights and going to prison and believe me when I tell you that he was the closest thing to how one would expect a video game character to perform in real life.
What he did on the field and how he played the game was perfectly portrayed on the 2004 edition of the famed EA Sports Madden NFL video game franchise. Just like picking Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl was considered almost cheating because of the sheer dominance, taking Vick’s Falcons in this game was basically the same. The amount of fun one had playing this edition of Madden football has not been surpassed by any other game.