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OS Roundtable: What's the Best Arcade Football Game Ever?

best arcade football game

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OS Roundtable: What's the Best Arcade Football Game Ever?

OS Roundtable: What is the best arcade football sports game of all-time and why?

Elliott Jenkins: I frequently go back and forth between the NFL Blitz and NFL Street franchises, but ultimately, the original NFL Street overtakes NFL Blitz 2001. NFL Street is lights-out in terms of gameplay and depth. Making a modern roster of players and taking them through NFL Challenge is as fun today as it was in 2004, and the exceptional customization suite allows players to build just about anyone. What I treasure the most about it is the perfect gameplay balance between skill and random chance.

NFL Blitz similarly remains a blast to play, but the interceptions and fumbles seem so random at times that they can legitimately limit the replay value. NFL Street, however, manages to mold these fluke fumbles and slowly-falling deflected balls into almost mini-games of pinpoint accuracy of jumps, dives and tackles. They are present enough to make every head-to-head contest feel fresh, but they also take enough of a backseat to emphasize strategy, skill and timing. To me, it is the best arcade football sports game of all-time, and it is still what I play over Madden once the NFL season ends.

best arcade football game

Josh Houtz: To this day, if you walk into any arcade there’s a very good chance you will find NFL Blitz, which paved the way for what I believe to be the best arcade NFL game, NFL Street. Yes, Blitz was good but NFL Street was one of my favorite sports games of all-time. 7 on 7 football was never the same after this. Not only were the graphics unique (NFL players in street clothes) but the game played out in similar fashion.

I remember doing as many special moves as I could to build up my meter and eventually unleash an unstoppable gamebreaker on my friends. Street was a game you could jump into an exhibition game and play from sun up to sun down, or enjoy the NFL career and build your legacy. I don’t know what 2K has in mind, but I’m here for another arcade NFL video game.

best arcade football game

Matthew Ederer: NFL BLITZ, 2000! NFL Street games are great too, but only one franchise in history let you bulldog your little brother and leg drop him after the whistle. Blitz is a great example of what a non-simulation football game can be. It is a completely unique gaming experience, but yet it’s familiar. It’s easy to learn and hard to master, and it contains a surprising amount of nuance past “throw the ball to the flashing man.” You can play Blitz in March of 2020 and have the exact same amount of fun you would in March of 2000, which is not something you can say about most other games from that era — certainly not football titles for the N64.

Also, you can powerbomb Brett Favre. I feel like that’s an ultimate selling point.

best arcade football game

Chase Becotte: I was a little too young to appreciate the true golden age of NFL Blitz. I certainly still got a chance to play it in arcades as a young kid, but NFL Street is really my true first love for an arcade football game because it came out when I was in that prime teenage demo. I recently went back and played NFL Blitz against a buddy and had a blast, but it still did not hit me in the nostalgia feels like NFL Street.

The Street games were such a fundamental part of my love of sports games as a teenager that it’s hard for me to go against them overall. NBA Street Vol. 2 remains one of my favorite games ever, and yet I was still surprised how well NFL Street followed in that mold while still carving out a new path — and later crushed by things like NFL Tour. Stuff like two-way players, style moves and sublime gameplay just continue to shine in NFL Street to this day.

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  1. Was Tecmo Super Bowl not consider arcade with there 100 yard Hail Mary's to breaking 8 tackles in a row ? That would be at the very top of my list. 
    dsites52
    Blitz the League was pretty fun. I wish they'd remaster it for current gen.*

    iirc that couldn't even be released in some countries due to drug use in the game, so probably not going down that path with an officially licensed game.
    tsbmolina
    Was Tecmo Super Bowl not consider arcade with there 100 yard Hail Mary's to breaking 8 tackles in a row ? That would be at the very top of my list.*

    I have to second this. I remember for 2 summers in a row my cousins, brother and I played Tecmo Super Bowl on super nintendo all summer. We had 9 of us playing a full season. Was great. What made it more great was that I won the superbowl each time lol! They didn't like that much. Didn't matter what team I picked :D
    Tecmo Bowl / Super Bowl was such a classic series because it was the first next -gen step in football games, where we went from vague shaking Atari figures to figures that had definition, team colors and real names. I'll never forget the first time I played it. I was blown away. Maybe also because it made arguably the biggest leap between generations that we've ever seen. I remember we used to even record stats by hand when we played the original Tecmo Bowl. And, I still have both versions of the game, where one had Albert Bentley as the Colts RB, and one had Eric Dickerson.
    Grace awaits the willing heart…
    I really enjoyed the NFL Street series and the replay ability that the game offered. All the character personalities and the gameplay kept me interested for quite some time. As I recall head to head was challenging as well. NFL Street of course was an EA title but I am so happy to have 2K making football titles again. I loved playing 2K5 and 2K All Pro!!
    xlivelove
    Tecmo Bowl / Super Bowl was such a classic series because it was the first next -gen step in football games, where we went from vague shaking Atari figures to figures that had definition, team colors and real names. I'll never forget the first time I played it. I was blown away. Maybe also because it made arguably the biggest leap between generations that we've ever seen. I remember we used to even record stats by hand when we played the original Tecmo Bowl. And, I still have both versions of the game, where one had Albert Bentley as the Colts RB, and one had Eric Dickerson.
    Grace awaits the willing heart…
    Imagine playing an updated version of Tecmo Super Bowl 2K21 with Bo Jackson and other All-time greats like the Nigerian Nightmare Christian Okoye and the power of 2K developers.
    bucky60
    Madden.....

    Yeah, I'd have to say there has not been many arcade football games better. However, I still think Tecmo Super Bowl takes the cake. But then, I'm into retro gaming, so I'm probably biased, and TSB hasn't broken my heart for more than a decade straight.
    Tecmo SB may be viewed as arcade today, but when it was released in 1991, I didn't think of it that way. It wasn't a pure sim either, but it was fairly realistic (at least until players had mastered it). And for consoles at the time, TSB was ground breaking. NFL and NFLPA licenses. The real NFL schedule (CPU teams played each other). The real Playoffs. Stat tracking. Run of the mill stuff now, but for those of use that grew up with Atari (and other 2nd Gen consoles), TSB was incredible.
    Cardot
    Tecmo SB may be viewed as arcade today, but when it was released in 1991, I didn't think of it that way. It wasn't a pure sim either, but it was fairly realistic (at least until players had mastered it). And for consoles at the time, TSB was ground breaking. NFL and NFLPA licenses. The real NFL schedule (CPU teams played each other). The real Playoffs. Stat tracking. Run of the mill stuff now, but for those of use that grew up with Atari (and other 2nd Gen consoles), TSB was incredible.
    Tecmo SuperBowl was revolutionary for it's time for all the things you listed above and those on field cinema sequences are still awesome til this day!
    Cardot
    Tecmo SB may be viewed as arcade today, but when it was released in 1991, I didn't think of it that way. It wasn't a pure sim either, but it was fairly realistic (at least until players had mastered it). And for consoles at the time, TSB was ground breaking. NFL and NFLPA licenses. The real NFL schedule (CPU teams played each other). The real Playoffs. Stat tracking. Run of the mill stuff now, but for those of use that grew up with Atari (and other 2nd Gen consoles), TSB was incredible.

    The term sim didn’t really exist in the old days because nothing was all that realistic but the original Tecmo and possibly super Tecmo (can’t recall) had 9 players on the field when Madden famously insisted his game featured 11 on 11. Based on that and the players flying 10 yards when tackles got broken made it arcade to me. Still one of the most entertaining football games of all time either way
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

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