While getting ready to play NCAA Football 09, I had an epiphany. An epiphany not simply about NCAA Football, but the sports video game genre as a whole.
Sadly, I have discovered I’m unsatisfied with the overall quality of sports games. Even fan favorites like MLB: The Show and College Hoops 2K8 have left me desiring a richer product.
There just seems to be something missing in all titles and I have yet to find the common issue, if one even exists. There is no clear feature or gameplay mechanic that will have me believe that NCAA will be any different.
Now, I will admit that while I don’t hate or dislike NCAA Football, I am not one of the great majority of sports gamers who gets excited when the football gaming season approaches.
I have played every incarnation of NCAA Football since its Super Nintendo days, and before that Bill Walsh College Football. I've watched EA go from a five year Dynasty Mode to an intense recruiting system with campus visits and player preferences. While I had fun through it all, I never got amped for a new upcoming release.
Maybe its because I was raised in a professional football city. New Yorkers hardly get the chance to read about the St. John's Red Storm or the Syracuse Orangemen and when we do there’s usually just a small, nearly insignificant block on the back page.
I also do not have an alma mater I care to lead into the BCS Championship. Stonehill College is a D-II school and has trouble enough gaining first downs, let alone championships.
But I do fancy myself a sports fan - a follower of the theater of sports. Whether it be baseball, tennis, gymnastics or college football. I know the schools involved, most of the conferences and even the star players.
So why else could I be purposely avoiding the herd of sheep aimlessly awaiting the arrival and unofficial start of the college football season?
For starters, I just do not like the general pacing and presentation of football video games. NCAA does one of the finer jobs of capturing the overall feel and emotion of college sports. But for a stubborn, tough to please gamer like myself, it just does not do enough.
What makes anyone believe that I will find ecstasy in a sport's franchise that does not rank near the top of the list for me?
Now, I am certain, without a doubt, that NCAA 09 will be one of the best titles in its franchise. The franchise is hitting its next-gen stride and the introduction to wide-open gameplay will help bring it even closer to capturing the game.
That being said, I know myself. Right now I am struggling to enjoy two of my favorite sports franchises. What makes anyone believe that I will find ecstasy in a sport's franchise that does not rank near the top of the list for me?
So what does this mean to you, the sports gaming enthusiast who’s not overly excited to grab NCAA Football?
Chances are you are just like me. You hear how great NCAA is going to be and the idea of it excites you, but then you remember you’re not a huge college football fan. Then you begin remembering what you did not like about previous versions. Whatever it may be, the mere thought of it makes you want to keep that $60 in your pocket. "I will wait till the price drops," you say. Then the onslaught of basketball and hockey games starts hitting store shelves and you have a new decision to make.
Let us make the decision right now. If you have ever been a fan of the series and you enjoy football then get off the fence and enjoy a great title.
Otherwise, stay back a bit, wait to see how your friends - the ones that enjoy the same types of games as you – feel. And if that fails, just wait for a price drop.