5 of the Best NFL Video Games that Aren’t Madden Titles
These games were some of the best that brought realistic field action onto consoles for the everyday user
When gamers think of their favorite football titles for console, there is no doubt that the iconic Madden franchise comes to mind. With over 35 different games and 250 million copies sold, the NFL series of games has largely dominated the football video game spectrum.
However, there a few special titles from over the years that are underrated in the light of such mainstream success and deserve more credit than the normally garner. Here we take a look at the top five NFL-inspired games that were not released by Madden.
Tecmo Super Bowl
Shortly after the first ever Madden game launched in 1988, another hit, Tecmo Super Bowl made its debut as the first football video game to include real NFL athletes on screen. Because the league gave licenses for both players and the entire association, Tecmo was able to use their information freely, giving a realistic touch to the activity that had yet to be available for gamers.
Shortly after its release for Nintendo, the game became a household name amongst enthusiastic users, its gameplay revolutionizing what it meant to play football on a console. The game featured legendary players of the moment such as running backs Barry Sanders and the iconic Christian Okoye both in their prime time.
Nowadays, even after more than three decades since the game’s release, Okoye’s former team, The Kansas City Chiefs, are the main contenders for another Super Bowl title in 2022 under top NFL betting odds and Tecmo Super Bowl is still widely considered to be one of the best sports games in the entire history of video games.
Tecmo Super Bowl was first released for the old school Nintendo Entertainment system back in 1991
In September of 1999 a new video game series by the name of NFL 2K rose to the surface, featuring all 31 NFL organizations and some seriously innovative gameplay. At the time of its launch the game was marketed as a direct competitor to the dominant Madden franchise, aiming to bring the same graphics and football action that its rival had previously.
However, the game was met with an audience of satisfied users who enjoyed it equally, if not more, than Madden. Since then, the game’s publishers, Sega, have released over four different successful titles available for play on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
Not long after NFL2K came NFL Blitz, a revolutionary arcade-style football game that earned plenty of positive feedback by the giant reviewing platform, Metacritic. In fact, out of all of the titles that would roll out in the future under the series, the Blitz game was the most well-received.
Thanks to its enhanced graphics and features such as users being able to create their own defensive plans, control and fake punts, and of course, make use of the new “Blitz” passing system.
A solid game across the board, NFL Fever (2002) introduced players to 25 seasons of gridiron goodness straight to their consoles. As the years progressed, so did gameplay advancements and this is easily visible in this game with fast-moving characters that look realistic to your favorite NFL athletes.
Its cover, which sold over 600,000 copies in the U.S. featured the man of the moment, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning throwing a ball in the exact moment of tackle. Released exclusively for Xbox, the title received a 79/100 score on Metacritic and is still many gamers favorite non-Madden NFL title.
Released a few years later in 2004, NFL Street’s gameplay was similar to that of NFL Blitz in the sense that it worked as seven-on-seven football although in this game the players were fitted not in jerseys, but normal clothes. Although uniforms were available for users to dress their athletes in, part of the style of the game was that its matchups specifically took place in the street — a concept modeled after the popular NBA console title NBA Street.
Although nowadays dozens of NBA games exist as apps on smartphone devices, back then the edition was a gamechanger in console video titles and Electronics Art decision to adapt it to football was one of their best.