If you’re a fan of video games, then chances are you have at least heard of emulation and understand what emulators can achieve these days. But in 2022, sports emulation has taken on a new meaning in some circles, and so we’re going to talk about NCAA Football 06 Next, Madden 08 Next, and the NFL 2K5 Resurrection mod below.
But before we get to that, let’s talk about the classics. As we zoom into the future with high-tech gaming PCs, next-generation gaming consoles, and smartphones that are capable of playing extremely detailed games, for many there is still a desire to play the classics.
That desire to reclaim memories from the past where we sat in a room full of friends holding Tecmo Bowl or RBI Baseball tournaments is strong, and seemingly gets stronger the older we get. Many sleepless nights were caused by the before-mentioned titles and often caused a lack of focus during football or little league practices the next day.
These days though, it’s not just the older generation looking to the past to play the classics of prior generations. Many younger folks are just as interested, born out of a curiosity implanted by an older sibling or parent, or perhaps just because they always here how it “used to be better” and so on.
What Options Are There?
As far as emulators go, there are plenty of options available today that allow us to play previous titles from almost any system from the past. Some of the more popular ones include PCSX2, RPCS3, RetroArch, Dolphin, SNES9X, Project 64, and many more.
Some of these emulators are very specific in what they excel at, whiles others are a “jack of all trades” emulators. This means some emulators will handle specific titles for a specific console, while others cover multiple titles and consoles across multiple generations.
How Difficult Is It?
For those who are interested in console emulation but have never attempted it, have no worries. There are plenty of tutorial videos, forums, and “how to” instructions on what you need, how to set everything up on your PC, and how to get the best results from certain games with certain emulators.
For me though, I am a massive fan of them all and have tried about every available emulator. Regardless, I always seem to come back to PCSX2 and RPCS3, both emulators of Sony consoles, specifically the PlayStation 2 and 3. Why? The answer is because of the flexibility, ease of use, and most of all, their popularity.
That popularity is extremely important as they lead to massive interest, and that interest leads to creativity. In this case, the creativity has been focused on a few titles that I hold very near and dear to my heart. I am talking about ESPN NFL 2K5 (2K Sports), Madden NFL Football 08 (EA Sports), and NCAA Football 06 (EA Sports), all available on the PlayStation 2, which explains my love of the PCSX2 emulator.
Now, playing on my Alienware system with an i9 processor (very important for emulation), and an Nvidia 3090 Ti (yes, this is overkill) allows me to adjust the graphical settings for all three of these titles to an absurd degree, and thus I can play these games at a level I would have never imagined. To put it another way, it’s almost like playing them how I remember them looking when I was younger — even though I know they didn’t look this good back then.
I focused on these three titles, not only because they are three of my favorite sports titles of all time, but also because of that community creativity I spoke of earlier. A group of very talented individuals have worked on bringing these titles up to date, not only with rosters, but new textures, new equipment, and much more.
I previously wrote about what a wonderful group has created with NCAA Football 14 Revamped on the PS3 emulator, and this falls within the same category. For many, this isn’t news, as the ability to upgrade each of these titles has been around for some time, but for others, this is still new.
Sports Emulation In 2022
Initially, I started with NCAA Football 06, because it was the newest mod available, and combined with the love I carry for the game, it instantly sucked me in.
NCAA Football 06 Next
Initially released in July of 2005, this installment is considered one of the best in the long-running series, if not the best. NCAA Football 06 offered up some great gameplay on the field and gave us the options to create a team, create a sign, and create a fan.
So what makes what Antdroid and his group from Operation Sports are creating even more exciting? They have taken NCAA 06 and created a free NCAA 06 mod for the PCSX2 emulator that updates the game in multiple ways, and breathes new life into NCAA 06.
Here is what is included, but not limited to:
- Uniform Updates (based on CURRENT DAY conferences)
- Uniform Patch
- Patch fixes the Disc Image with uniform number location changes!
- Other Art Updates
- Stadium/Field updates
- Logos and Banners
- Championship Logos
- Menu Artwork Skins
- Player Skins
- Controller Layout Art
The group has done an amazing job with updating NCAA 06, and while the core gameplay is still there, seeing the new field art, stadium updates, intro movies, uniforms and helmets, screen splashes, and more delivers an addictive product that has sucked me back in for the long haul and has greatly eased the pain of waiting until the new college football title is released in 2023.
Again, even if this is all new to you, these guys have done an awesome job of not only creating the mod itself but post-release support as well.
Madden NFL 08 Next
Much of what I described in terms of NCAA 06 can be copied and pasted with Madden 08. Again, in a series that has spanned over three decades, Madden 08 remains one the best of the series (See Madden 05 also). A release that included mini-games, franchise, create-a-fan, team, player, Superstar mode, and more.
Madden 08 also included the dynamic duo of John Madden and Al Michaels. While the lines were often repetitive, did it ever get old hearing John utter “Tell your line to protect here, tell your line to protect every play, not just here” or “You better kick it here”? I mean, it did, but hearing John was always a treat, whether in the game or the broadcast booth.
Much like the mod that was created by the same team for NCAA 06, the improvements for Madden 08 improve the experience all across the board. Here is what is impacted (or will be soon) in Madden 08, although this mod is still classified as a work in progress.
This updates the original game with:
- Updated Rosters built-in (thanks to RogerJinx of FootballIdiot.com)
- All Game Modes working with 2021 rosters
- Updated Team Names
- Updated Coaches
- Updated Stadium Names
- Uniform Patches for Texture Mods
- New First/Last Names Generation Database – Not included yet
- Compatible with NCAA Football 06 exported draft classes and Race for Heisman saves!
- Textures – (50% completed)
- Updated Uniforms and Alternates
- Updated Gears including team and generic gloves
- Updated Menu UI and Icons
- Update Fields, Grass, Stadium decor, and more!
- Update Logos
Antdroid and his team are working hard to get the Madden 08 patch/mod ready to go by the season’s start, but will continually add to it as time progresses.
NFL 2K5 Resurrection
Things are a bit different with NFL Resurrection for ESPN NFL 2K5. This mod has been going strong for a couple of years now, but key contributors LostsouL, xflamexofxhopex, xevan, RateSports, and CujoMatty have created an amazing experience with their complete revamping of NFL 2K5.
Much like the other two mods, the team behind NFL Resurrection has bundled the whole package together to make it extremely easy to enjoy NFL 2K5 in a modern way. NFL 2K5 has been kept alive for years with updated rosters, game changes, and emulation, and this mod package looks to continue that trend in a major way for the foreseeable future.
Here is what you can expect after firing up NFL 2K5 Resurrection for the first time on the PCSX2 emulator.
- Updated graphics in 4K
- New Broadcast options: CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC
- All new Cyber faces
- Modern Looking UI
- New Textures – Including players, uniforms, fields, and stadiums have been redesigned
- Updated Rosters
- Washington Commanders Branding + home and away uniforms
- Updated NFL Football
- Hi-res Tattoos
- Updated licensed gear
I could keep listing all of the improvements that LostsouL and his team have implemented and delivered, but that list would be extremely long. In short, this team has taken one of the all-time classic sports titles and brought it current, and in doing so, has given the community a reason to love this title even more.
Even better, this can be utilized and played on both the PC and Xbox Series X/S. The team has also created a website, Discord, and Twitter account to help with any difficulties in installing.
With this article, I just wanted to continue to shine a light on the amazing work that all involved continue to deliver every week, regardless of what game or what mod I have discussed. I wrote a strong piece on the team behind NCAA Revamped last year, and they continue to do amazing work on keeping the game updated and giving the community a chance to experience NCAA Football 14 in ways once never thought possible.
The bottom line here is that the teams and community behind the mods, the emulators, and everything in between deserve to be recognized as often as possible. The work they do, for free I might add, gives the community the chance to play the entire catalogs of each generation. On top of that, it allows us to enjoy some of the best sports titles ever created in ways that were once thought to be impossible.
If you are interested in gaming emulation but have no idea where or how to get started, there is a massive amount of help everywhere in the form of videos, forums, Discord, and more.