Super Bowl Games to Play Right Now
Step out of the locker room and get onto the sidelines – it’s time to take charge of your favorite NFL stars in search of Super Bowl success!
American Football is at the heart of popular culture in the United States. It is the most popular spectator sport throughout America, ahead of the country’s other “major league” sports, namely basketball, baseball, ice hockey, and soccer.
The NFL is the pinnacle of American Football, with tens of thousands of college football students battling to make the grade each year.
The ambition for every NFL franchise at the start of the season is to reach the postseason stage and compete for the Lombardi Trophy by reaching the Super Bowl. This is one of the biggest sporting occasions on the planet, watched by a global audience.
It’s no surprise that the Super Bowl has inspired many video game developers to design and publish authentic Super Bowl games that demonstrate the effort and skill that goes into an NFL season.
Super Bowl Games History
The first example of Super Bowl games on home games consoles was the Tecmo Super Bowl game, published in December 1991. It was the first of many Super Bowl games to be fully licensed by the NFL (National Football League) and the NFL Players Association.
In doing so, Tecmo Super Bowl was permitted to use official NFL team names and player names. Other Super Bowl games released prior to Tecmo Super Bowl were unable to use real player and team names simultaneously, which hampered their authenticity.
The original Tecmo Super Bowl was published for the NES originally and latterly the Super NES, Sega Genesis, and the Sony PlayStation 1.
The game achieved cult status among gridiron fans, with a vibrant community of “mods” that would edit the game at the start of each season to ensure updated rosters were available to gamers.
Prior to Tecmo Super Bowl, the most popular Super Bowl games were the John Madden Football series. Originally published on the Apple II, it was later ported to MS-DOS and the Commodore 64.
The initial series lacked season play, which hampered its authenticity somewhat. When you think of how many games in an NFL season including the Super Bowl, the absence of the season play failed to get across just how grueling the regular and postseason is.
It wasn’t until the partnership with EA Tiburon for EA Sports in 1994 that the Madden NFL franchise we know today truly came to light.
The Rise of Madden NFL
Madden NFL was established in 1993 after EA Sports secured the licensing rights to include NFL players and teams in each of its annual releases.
Within three years it had shifted over eight million units, becoming not only one of the best-selling Super Bowl games, but one of the most popular titles in the sports genre.
The 1998 version saw EA incorporate a “Franchise Mode”, whereby players could assume the role of a franchise’s general manager, trading players and getting involved in the postseason NFL Draft.
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Feature additions to future Madden NFL releases include the “Madden Challenge”, where gridiron fans can travel back in time to change the course of history in some of the most iconic games of all time.
“Superstar Mode” also gave players the chance to take control of one rookie hopeful and lead them to glory in Super Bowl games throughout their career.
Alternative List of Super Bowl Games
Although Madden NFL is considered the most successful of all the NFL video games franchises, there are many other video game developers that have dabbled with publishing fun Super Bowl games for gridiron fans to enjoy.
Many of which ended up being one-off efforts that failed to knock Madden NFL off its perch as “top dog” in the NFL gaming stakes.
ESPN NFL 2K5
Many NFL video games experts believe that ESPN NFL 2K5 was one of the finest console-based Super Bowl games in history. It was the sixth – and final – version of ESPN NFL, released on the Microsoft Xbox and the Sony PlayStation 2. ESPN NFL benefitted from official NFL licensing, with impressive player likenesses and immersive ESPN broadcasters and analysts featured. It was also available at less than half the price of its Madden NFL competitor. Despite the popularity of its tight, responsive controls and player moves, and visuals, ESPN NFL was ditched when the NFL signed a long-term arrangement with Electronic Arts (EA), resulting in the end for Sega-published gridiron titles.
In November 1995, Sony Interactive took the plunge to develop and publish its own NFL video game. NFL GameDay was aimed at providing a credible challenge to the Madden NFL franchise, by utilizing motion capture animations to add a new dimension to Super Bowl games on the PlayStation 1. GameDay was briefly the best-selling PlayStation 1 game of all-time prior to the release of Resident Evil. The accuracy in terms of stadia, team jerseys, and playbooks set GameDay apart, along with its authentic AI gameplay.
EA Sports’ FIFA Street proved to be a fascinating and popular alternative to the in-depth nature of its FIFA franchise, bringing informal “street” soccer to our video game consoles. EA Sports’ attempts to replicate this success with a smaller 7-v-7 NFL Street game failed in too many ways. Although it appeals to entry-level gridiron fans, enthusiasts of Super Bowl games quickly grew bored of the lack of depth once NFL Street’s stylistic features were mastered.
NFL Blitz was a partnership between EA Sports and Midway Games, the masterminds of arcade games and strategy games from yesteryear. What initially began as an arcade game in the late 1990s was quickly ported onto home consoles. NFL Blitz was the antithesis of Madden NFL. It was designed to be over-the-top and extravagant, just like Midway’s successful NBA Jam franchise. However, the move to next-generation consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 saw gridiron fans crave authenticity, with NFL Blitz cast aside for Madden’s licensed and immersive Super Bowl games.
Today, you can find the best Super Bowl games like Madden NFL on mobile devices, as well as the latest consoles. Some Super Bowl and Football games are even considered among the best iOS games of 2022, along with other immersive genres like war games that offer similar all-action gameplay.