Jeff Botkin: NCAA Football 14 will be the lasting memory for me in the past decade of sports gaming. It was the pinnacle of college football games and was the greatest high for me, but also the lowest low after the lawsuit killed the series. NCAA Football 14 without a doubt captured the essence of college football. The ability to take a one-star program and slowly build it up with recruiting, training and a solid game plan to an elite college program was always a blast. The Teambuilder customization process allowed you to bring in custom schools and create your own unique experience as well. Hopefully this decade will bring a new installment of college football and bring back the passion and pageantry of the NCAA to gamers.
Kevin Scott: For better or worse, I think I’ll always look back on the 2010s as the decade when Ultimate Teams and card collecting modes started to become the focus for so many sports games. With both NHL and MLB doing away with online franchise modes within the decade, it seems as if it was a period where the companies that make sports games began devoting many of their resources to the modes that could bring in the most additional revenue through microtransactions. It’s really the first decade where players have been forced to consider putting money into the game beyond just the cost of purchasing the title itself. I still play and enjoy most of these modes, including MyCareer in NBA 2K where purchasing VC is practically required if you don’t have the time to devote to leveling up the old fashioned way, but I have a lot of mixed feelings about this shift. If the increased revenue leads to a better product in this next decade, it may be worthwhile in the long run, but I do miss when playing sports games was so much simpler and a lot less of a cash grab.
Scott Funk: I will always associate the PS4/Xbox One console launches as a major disappointment. I was so excited to get my PS4 and NBA 2K at midnight. The ads had me pumped to play the game, and I really thought the game was going to take a gigantic leap. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t really done, and my favorite and really only mode I play (online leagues) were a disaster. It was such a buzzkill and really made me regret getting the PS4 on day one.
I ended up buying Madden on both PS3 and PS4 since NBA 2K was a dud. I wasn’t impressed by the first game on Madden on PS4 either. The generation started off so bad but nowadays I’m pretty happy with my experience. PS4 has made some positive strides with PSVR and the PS4 Pro. However, I feel like we should be further along. I am excited for the new generation but am weary of high expectations. I am hopeful the systems continue to push the envelope in game modes and graphics. I also hope games don’t overly commit to money-making modes such as Ultimate Team, but I think it’s here to stay.
Josh Houtz: For me, it will always come back to my love for football and the video games that brought life to the sport. Every year, I’d buy NCAA and Madden, playing NCAA nonstop until Madden was released. My favorite installment was obviously NCAA Football 14. Being able to build a dynasty out of a small school through hard work and an endless grind was great. More exciting, however, was being heavily involved in online trackers and competing with other users for fame and glory.
Then there was Madden, my one true love. I was heavily involved on several websites — some of which no longer exist — and built relationships that would last a lifetime. 32-team online leagues kept me out of trouble in my younger years. It also forced me to take my game to the next level because if you couldn’t compete with the rest of the group then there was no reason to play. I’d stay up during all hours of the night to refine my game and play exhibition matchups, all online of course. Unfortunately, now that I’m older with two kids, I don’t have the time to devote to these types of leagues. But playing NCAA up until its demise and Madden until this very day, it’s the reason I still own a video game console. I look forward to the next wave of video games and hope that they devote more time to single-player modes. That way us old, washed up folks have the opportunity to relive some of our younger years.