Monday, February 4, 2013

"NFL Game Day '97", PlayStation, 1996.

The Super What?

This isn't a game, it's a war. So be prepared for battle. Now, enough military analogies, let's talk football. This is NFL GameDay '97. It's better than any football game ever created. The artificial intelligence in this game is unmatched. Players on the field think, react and perform like they do in the NFL. Defenses and offenses learn your tendencies and key on them. In other words, there are no bread and butter plays to go to on third and long. You'll go head-on with real defensive coverages, including nickel and dime packages and Dallas' Cover 4. Defensive fronts attack your offensive line with stunts and swim techniques. And with new, larger players you'll see guards and tackles trapping and pulling. This game is loaded with features, too. This is real football, baby. So welcome to the NFL.
I have found a lot of ads for sports games and don't share them much because, well, they're not of great interest to me digitally or analogue, uh, -ually. But if not now, when? Their ads often fail to excite due to emphasis on unsexy selling points: "the game of football - we really simulate it effectively! Our guys are real guys, and they move like the humans who occupy their roles would move on a real field!" Consequently I don't have much to say about this one, whose prose very quickly veers away into the incomprehensible to me, as though the copy was produced by Markov chain techniques:"Defensive fronts attack your offensive line with stunts and swim techniques." Stunts and swim techniques sound interesting but challenge my understanding of how the game is played.

MobyGames tells me that this was the second installment in a long-running series, released less than a year after the first, and one of the features distinguishing it is "season-ending injuries". (Put that in your ad! "Expanded camera control" maybe not.)

This was one ad that prompted my partner to snicker at the fundamentally ridiculous task I've set before myself here.


  1. I think you should show some PRIDE and cover some games that focus on the CFL. However, only one game like that was ever made, and it was probably not advertised heavily.

    1. National pride is no different from the tribal pride that motivates interest in professional sports. I don't really understand either (or if you go back to Constantinople, both -- as there was a time the city was run by its sports teams. Not a bright moment in their history.)

      That said, if you're sitting on privileged information, you may as well spit it out! What was its name? Granted, I can only write about ads for games whose ads I encounter in my archaeological digs, and I don't know that many games advertised their CanCon-appeal features in international publications.


    Sounds fascinating, right?

    1. That might be overstating the case, but yes, it is very curious. The transformation into a general-purpose "variant rules" simulator isn't surprising.

      Hey, I always thought the existence of Alpha Flight in the Marvel Universe was outrageous, a kind of a wart on Wolverine's butt (a favorite metaphor this week, it seems), and couldn't imagine anyone in the US buying a copy. But if they can publish that, dude can develop a CFL game, sure.