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NFL 2K Retrospective: Remembering the Other NFL 2K Games, Courtesy of Nikolai

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NFL 2K Retrospective: Remembering the Other NFL 2K Games, Courtesy of Nikolai

We still talk about ESPN NFL 2K5 on this site and use it for things like Super Bowl simulations, but this video from YouTube by Nikolai does a good job of trying to remind folks why ESPN NFL 2K5 came together in such a great way. It traces the history of the 2K series back to its origins and focuses on the games that came before 2K5. In a way it’s an NFL 2K video retrospective that ignores the most talked about version of the game to explain how the other five versions all had their own special qualities.

As someone who did not have a Dreamcast growing up, this NFL 2K video retrospective was especially enjoyable for me because I only very briefly played the first three 2K games when at a friend’s house or at demo stations at malls. So to see how ahead of its time the series was in certain respects really shines a new light on the franchise for me. It’s an enjoyable video so scope it out, and be sure to give Nikolai some love on YouTube if you like it.

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  1. 2K1 on Dreamcast was revolutionary and changed the industry as it introduced online gaming on consoles.* Even with dial up it worked really well.
    2K3 was the best game out of the whole series when it came to gameplay.* It was just too hardcore for casual gamers.* I remember the big complaint was too many drops but casual gamers didnt understand 2K wanted the user to use the catch button to catch the ball.
    2k5 put it all together.* Great for casual and hardcore gamers.* Also appealed to a broader audience.*
    RIP NFL 2K
    hyacinth1
    2K1 on Dreamcast was revolutionary and changed the industry as it introduced online gaming on consoles.* Even with dial up it worked really well.
    2K3 was the best game out of the whole series when it came to gameplay.* It was just too hardcore for casual gamers.* I remember the big complaint was too many drops but casual gamers didnt understand 2K wanted the user to use the catch button to catch the ball.
    2k5 put it all together.* Great for casual and hardcore gamers.* Also appealed to a broader audience.*
    RIP NFL 2K

    I recently started playing 2k3. I never purchased it back in 02. and I have to admit that I do think that it' very good. it is more more hardcore. I like the fact that you have to understand football situations on defense. as a defender there is no knowledge as to what package the offense will be using on said down.
    drives are longer because I think the field is slightly bigger. I also like the analog features/ manual catch found in the game . also the way fatigue is handled on the field. you may have to run a bit more clock before snaps to get some of your players fatigue reduced.
    I like the crowds in the game as well.
    2k5 is still the goat as far as football games though.
    I enjoyed this retrospective.
    2k football's graphics are still good enough for me. the game is just so organic.
    it just saddens me to this day to know how good NFL 2K could have been if it kept going on past 2K5......it would have been epic. the reason NFL 2K5 resonates to this day is because madden has regressed every year since madden 2005.
    Some of my fondest memories of the 2k series are playing NFL 2k3 on my GameCube. I remember the difficulty being the main fun of the game. I was doing a season as the Bills because they had new uniforms and Drew Bledsoe, to this day my avatar on this site is a Bills logo...I’m not even a Bills fan haha. It’s my fondest memories of playing 2k though.
    I remember convincing my friend in High School to buy the game and he came in the next day and was like “what did you make me buy?” “It’s the hardest game on EARTH!“ Little by little though he would come in each day and it would grow on him and when it was all said and done he was a huge fan of 2k football.
    I loved the difficulty of 2k3. I would struggle to get first downs at first haha. I have purchased all of them, even the Dreamcast ones. Love this series and hope it comes back someday
    Great video! NFL2k3 was my introduction to 2k football. Up to that point I had played Madden exclusively so, for me, the shock and awe of NFL 2k3's graphics, animations and presentation was overwhelming. Considering the trajectory of NFL 2k and the innovative aggressiveness of Visual Concepts, there's little doubt it would be entrenched as the football game of choice by now.
    Nice trip down memory lane.
    2K1 was the first one I played, and I couldn't really get into it. Graphics and sound were great, but I still preferred Madden's gameplay. Seeing the future of online play was cool, but I never found playing over dial up fun.
    2002 I switched back to Madden, so I didn't play 2k2. 2K3 I loved, and that got me into 2K games for good. While I don't necessarily agree that it was more realistic than 2k4 or 2k5, it was certainly a huge jump from 2k1 in just about every way.
    What was amazing about that time was that while each of those games had major flaws, you knew if there was a big problem it was going to be addressed next year 2K4 definitely had issues with the tackling and overpowered running backs, 2K5 that was totally fixed. No legacy issues that are in the game for 20 years in a row.
    And then just the shear amount of improvements they made every year. Every aspect of the game would be substantially worked on. Even stuff like the crib which wasn't a priority for the sim crowd and fpf which wasn't too popular (though I actually liked it ok), those things didn't take away from the game at all they still were able to make massive improvements in other areas. Very different from what we get with Madden where they usually pick one gameplay area to work on, claim its just the start and its going to improve the foundation of the game, and then the next year move on to one other completely unrelated area.
    Definitely a great era of gaming
    Loved that video. I still have all the NFL 2k games and my Dreamcast and original Xbox. I haven't played any of them in a while but I'm definitely going to after watching that video. At 60 years of age I look back at those games and remember the hours and hours of fun I had playing them. When NFL 2k5 came out my wife and I were on vacation in Tennessee (we live in Maine) we went there for Ozzfest , I bought the game there and spent half the ride home , while my wife was driving, staring at the packaging and game manual. Couldn't wait to get home to play it.
    It really is sad that the exclusive deal had to happen. I can only imagine what it would be like if NFL 2k21 were coming out this august. I really wish there were enough of us so if we all did not buy Madden for a year , it would make a difference and hurt them financially, but the truth is they wouldn't even notice.
    The NFL 2k series gave us real gridiron football that kept us coming back day after day for more. Madden gives us a game that to this day still needs a hand full of patches after release and it still falls way short. Lets be honest here , what we get now is all about money , the game is Madden Ultimate Team and that is all there is to it. If you're waiting for Madden to give you a franchise mode that lives up to reality , you will go to your grave before you get a chance to see it because it's never going to happen. Ok I'm starting to bash Madden to much so I'll stop but come on man , to this day Madden has still not reached the level on the field that 2k did 16 years ago.
    R.I.P. 2k football you are very sorely missed........
    ASZEMPLE
    I did a comparison video of the games pre game and weekly warp up progression through the years in NFL 2K series.
    https://youtu.be/Ag0545Xh7ww
    https://youtu.be/75I79Tyd8xQ

    I got so many nostalgic chills watching those videos, especially the very first few seconds of that top link. Seeing the SEGA Sports stuff again reminds me of my childhood and the Christmas when I first got that game on PS2. Video gaming will never feel the same as it did back when for me.
    As for NFL 2K3, great as it was, there were a few things that 2K4 introduced which got me to look past it:
    - O-line pocket protection
    - Gang tackling
    - Improved from 16-directional movement (and momentum in running)
    - New playcalling system
    - New charge-up visual
    Plus, include The Crib, First Person Football, and full ESPN integration, I was easily able to look in the future. It was so cool the first time I was able to play that demo from the Official Xbox & PlayStation Magazines, anyone remember that? And the E3 footage showing crowd shots was just next-level at the time.
    Then ESPN NFL 2K5 throws down the $20 sales price, and just forget about it. They were doing revolutionary things, and everything was lost when EA Sports nabbed exclusive rights to the NFL, NFLPA, and ESPN. **** them.
    As for the YouTube video we were provided, I thought it was just okay. I appreciate that it acknowledged the game before it and really showcased what it did on the Dreamcast, but a lot of what the video did was say: "It took everything and made it better." I know he did more specifics than that, but some of it was a little too much of a love-fest. No, NFL 2K3 never once would be mistaken for a real-life broadcast. Madden titles today would have a shot when not in motion, but that's it. Regardless, he made a good point that it almost seems like ESPN NFL 2K5 is the best NFL game we're going to get from 2K ever.
    The thing I loved most about that time...was the fact that they were all different...Madden, 2k, heck even Gameday were all different and you weren't going to mistake one for the other. 2k's presentation was fresh and new, while Madden's had ole reliable Madden and Summerall just like you would see on the NFL Sunday NFC broadcast.
    I can admit that I wasn't a fan of the movements of 2k football at first. I was so used to the way Madden and NCAA played that I thought the mechanics of 2k were wack. But, it definitely grew on me no doubt. As for the consoles, the Dreamcast ranks in my top 3 along with the 360 and Nintendo.
    TarHeelPhenom
    The thing I loved most about that time...was the fact that they were all different...Madden, 2k, heck even Gameday were all different and you weren't going to mistake one for the other. 2k's presentation was fresh and new, while Madden's had ole reliable Madden and Summerall just like you would see on the NFL Sunday NFC broadcast.
    I can admit that I wasn't a fan of the movements of 2k football at first. I was so used to the way Madden and NCAA played that I thought the mechanics of 2k were wack. But, it definitely grew on me no doubt. As for the consoles, the Dreamcast ranks in my top 3 along with the 360 and Nintendo.

    Man I loved the movement in 2k. Had weight to it, had to stop and change directions, couldn’t turn on a dime.
    It seemed like all my friends played 2k single player and madden head to head bc it was so much easier to make “wow” plays covering the whole field with one defender
    My dad and I used to play 2k through 2k5 every year. I have plenty of nostalgia with the series. Not only did I prefer the gameplay of 2k to any other football game, but the memories of playing as Washington in each edition of the game and going multiple years into franchise mode make the series matter that much more to me.
    Watching these old clips of the games brings on plenty of nostalgia. We would still get Madden, not every year, and we'd play it here and there, but 2k was our game and we played it so much that it is amazing the discs still work.
    It makes me both happy and sad to revisit these games either through playing them myself, or watching videos. Madden is not a trash game by any means, but I don't get the same satisfaction playing it that 2k gave me an still gives me to this day. I've always been a sucker for authenticity and that is what 2k football provided.
    Nice Video but I disagree with him saying that he doesn't want NFL 2k back. Yes Microtransactions and all will probably be featured heavily but 2k does give the offline folks a very in depth myleague that makes the Madden Franchise guys wish they had something like that. If a sim NFL 2k returned I'm sure that it would be no different a lot of the former devs of NFL 2k still work at Visual Concepts too.
    zello144
    Nice Video but I disagree with him saying that he doesn't want NFL 2k back. Yes Microtransactions and all will probably be featured heavily but 2k does give the offline folks a very in depth myleague that makes the Madden Franchise guys wish they had something like that. If a sim NFL 2k returned I'm sure that it would be no different a lot of the former devs of NFL 2k still work at Visual Concepts too.
    Right, but that isn't the narrative people run with (on OS, YouTube, Reddit, etc.) so why even mention it?
    That was my biggest knock on the video, TBH. No, don't bring back something I (meaning my personal attachment only) loved cause it'll never be how it was. The current generation doesn't deserve a similar experience if it'll hurt my fond memories & nostalgia.
    Kind of a narrow minded viewpoint, IMO. Especially, when a lot of the "over reaching" microtransactions can be ignored if you stick to the sim NBA 2K experience.
    Still a solid video other than his not wanting the series to return.
    Official HQ of Bills Backer/Spurs Nation
    J_Posse
    Right, but that isn't the narrative people run with (on OS, YouTube, Reddit, etc.) so why even mention it?
    That was my biggest knock on the video, TBH. No, don't bring back something I (meaning my personal attachment only) loved cause it'll never be how it was. The current generation doesn't deserve a similar experience if it'll hurt my fond memories & nostalgia.
    Kind of a narrow minded viewpoint, IMO. Especially, when a lot of the "over reaching" microtransactions can be ignored if you stick to the sim NBA 2K experience.
    Still a solid video other than his not wanting the series to return.
    Official HQ of Bills Backer/Spurs Nation

    Solid post. Agreed. 2k gets a ton of flack for their VC, but people take it a little overboard. If you are an offline sports gamer then there is nother other sports game that isn't a text sim on PC that has a deeper franchise mode. 2k's MyLeague and MyGM are deeper than Madden, Fifa, The Show combined.
    Yet, when you mention how great 2k's offline modes are, people always point out 2k being evil and greedy because of the VC system even though that has zero to do with the modes. Then they also point out how much progress on the modes has slowed down in recent years without realizing the mode has so much depth right now that there isn't much that can be added to it. They could take the next 5 years off from adding anything to MyLeague and it would still be leaps and bounds better than any other franchise mode out there.
    I don't play online, so I don't know how bad the VC stuff is there. I've heard some people say you can achieve anything you want without spending a dime or having to slave away for hundreds of hours. Then I've heard people act like 2k is the devil and that you must pay $100 just to do anything. I'd assume the truth is somewhere in the middle and that you can achieve anything you want, but the progress is so slow that you're encouraged to spend a little money here and there.
    Either way, his point was silly. I'd take 2k back in a heartbeat even if it came in the same shape as their basketball game. To have an offline experience as deep as 2k's inside of an NFL game would be nice. The attention given to the offline modes, the presentation, etc. would be a welcome change compared to where we stand with EA and Madden.
    I bought ESPN NFL Football with Warren Sapp on the cover over the weekend and something strange is happening. I can only get audio but no video of the game. It's the only XBox game that does that for me. Anybody else had that issue??
    TarHeelPhenom
    I bought ESPN NFL Football with Warren Sapp on the cover over the weekend and something strange is happening. I can only get audio but no video of the game. It's the only XBox game that does that for me. Anybody else had that issue??

    I'm not sure specifically, but maybe it's trying to engage 720p/1080i/1080p and it can only display 480p?
    What kind of cables are you using? Do you have ESPN NFL 2K5 to see if it does something similar?
    Blzer
    I'm not sure specifically, but maybe it's trying to engage 720p/1080i/1080p and it can only display 480p?
    What kind of cables are you using? Do you have ESPN NFL 2K5 to see if it does something similar?

    I use an HDMI cable. I have an HDMI adapter for my OG XBOX. I have 2k5 and it works fine. I also have ESPN College Hoops with TJ Ford on the cover and it also works just fine. 2k4 is the only game that does this. Odd...

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