It’s mid-August, which means once again, NFL teams are in the thick of two-a-days and football season is right around the corner. This also means sporting news is starting to become meaningful and not God-awful, (sorry baseball, you’re regular season is dreadful). With this in mind I recently turned on my Nintendo Switch with the desire to play a football game and was applaud at what I saw.
I live in the United States and when I typed in “football” to the Switch’s online store search bar I expected to find some semblance of football video game. What I found was this:
I’m sorry, Nintendo, but your search algorithm stinks. Soccer is NOT football and although the image shows a man wearing a football helmet, “Ultra Hyperball” is neither ultra nor hyper and does not contain anything resembling football. Heck, I don’t think it even contains an actual ball!
All that I found were soccer games and generic sports games that have nothing to do with 22 men bashing their skulls into each other and trying to get an oblong football across a painted line on grass or a grass-inspired ground covering. This is not an attack on soccer. Soccer is an enjoyable sport to play, watch and translates nicely to video games.
I was able to find one American rules football game on the store, Arcade Archives Ten-Yard Fight. That’s right a port of the 1983 arcade classic that was developed and published in Japan by Irem and later published in the U.S. and European regions by Electrocoin. The fact that the only American football game that switch owners can play on their Nintendo system that is well over a year old now is a game that came out in the U.S. thanks to a company that’s named was inspired by coin-op machines speaks volumes to how much of a travesty this truly is.
I fully realize this isn’t just a Nintendo problem. Publishers need to feel that there is an audience for this type of game on the platform. I wonder if a video game adaptation the most popular sport in the U.S. would sell on the Switch, (duh!). Games like Tecmo Super Bowl that originally came out on the NES have a cult following that supports the idea a football game on Switch just makes since. If you don’t believe me, see Tecmobowlers.com. I myself even created a ROM hack of this timeless classic.
Hopefully this great injustice is rectified soon. I personally would love to see EA Sports rejuvenate the EA Sports BIG brand of games. With the return of the XFL in 2020 it would be interesting to see what they could do with a license to produce a game based on their league. I’m sure that if someone puts out a meaningful football game people will buy it. Maybe I’m crazy. Nintendo, please encourage football game development. To quote John Madden NFL games from from the PS2 era, “Heck I’d give this one a shot”.
By: Dennis Burkett