Day 99: ESPN NFL 2k5

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I’m just about completely clueless when it comes to sports.

I know I’m just enforcing a stereotype about nerds, but it’s not my fault that pro wrestling and figure skating better serve my needs for athletic competition. Football is something I’ve certainly always been aware of. As an American, it’s kind of impossible not to be at least familiar with the basic rules of the game, and I’ve certainly demonstrated an understanding and ability to throw a ball once or twice, but as far as sitting through a whole broadcast? Yeah, not for me.

Though I can’t hold a conversation about the latest signing or whatnot, this is still a fantastic trait to have as a savvy video game consumer; I never have to break the bank to get my fix. Most Gamestops are overrun with used sports games, immediately losing their value when the next edition rolls around with minor improvements. Since I don’t care about whether or not the rosters reflect Steve moving to his new team (I’m going to assume there’s a football player named Steve), I can happily play titles several years old, or in this case, over a decade.

NFL 2K5 is notable for several reasons, many of which don’t even have anything to do with the gameplay. To this day, it’s remembered as the game that scared EA so much that they chose to pay for exclusive NFL rights rather than have to compete. It probably didn’t help that 2K5 was $20 at launch too, half the price of Madden that year. It was also a comically better football game. At least, that’s what people tell me. What I do behind the controller barely resembles the game that it’s intended to emulate, instead morphing into an increasingly chaotic series of quarrels centered around the theme of “kill the guy with the ball”. They are typically high-scoring games in which every passing and sacking record is broken several times over. I rarely win, but I always enjoy coming back every few months to cause more destruction, as if I will one day I’ll be able to reprogram the game via sheer force of will and it will slowly transform into Blitz, bringing Midway back from the dead in the process.

It says something that a completely sports-illiterate chap like myself can still enjoy the game after all of these years, finding it more accessible and fun than the past few Maddens I’ve tried. Maybe it is because I tend to fool around a lot, but from what I gather, I’m not alone. People still talk about the game to this day, like it’s the standard bearer, the inaccessible white whale of the genre. I guess, in a lot of ways, it’s like No Mercy is for us wrestling fans. Sure, the newer games are flasher and more detailed, but they appear to lack a soul. Insert your own jokes about EA being some unfeeling entity, but it does make me wonder, as many others have before, just how good an NFL 2K17 could have been. If their basketball offerings are anything to go by, EA would probably choke in the face of competition yet again.

Bring it on, I say. Competition is good for everyone and EA could use a fire under their ass. That fire may be the thing that finally gets us Skate 4.

Okay, full disclosure, I don’t care that much about the football part. I just really really want Skate 4.

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