Published on April 13th, 2012 | by Nichomaxwell1
NFL GameDay 2000: Because Madden games couldn’t persuade me to like football…
Year: 1999 // System: PlayStation // Publisher: 989 Sports // Developer: RedZone Entertainment // Genre: Sports// Atmosphere: Football (NFL)
>>> Some genres are simple to pick up and play because of their premise. When you have game where your main controls are jumping and slashing while you’re going around pressing buttons, you can jump into it pretty quickly. A game with an easy-to-learn but enjoyable experience is more likely to grab a person’s attention than something like a strategy or RPG game, which entails a far longer list of steps and commands to memorize. Sports games can afford to be complicated, because those who are most likely to play them already have an interest in the sport that game is related to. Fans of racing will enjoy setting up their car the way they think it will best handle on a racetrack. Fans of football will have little to no issue working with a coach’s playbook in calling and performing plays with his or her favorite team. In short, the sport gets the player into that game.
But there was one personal occasion where a game got me into a sport.
Enter NFL GameDay 2000, the title which ironically marked the decline of the GameDay franchise’s sales until it was discontinued in 2005. Part of this discontinuation had to do with EA Sports entering into a partnership with the NFL itself, claiming exclusive rights to make games for the sports and putting the other acclaimed series out of business. But it was no lie that Madden NFL had taken the lead in both graphic and gaming quality. They had mastered the art of game feel in terms of simulating the NFL experience, while franchises liked GameDay drifted too much towards an arcade-like style.
The arcade-like aspect of GameDay 2000, however, appealed to a dumb kid like me who wanted to experience the world of football, but in a rather simple fashion. This was such an accessible football game to the casual player, because on Easy mode, it was so easy to pass to your receivers, run the ball all over the place, and lead your powerful defensive players to major stops. The way I did it, I made eight random characters based on friends of mine, and that’s how I learned about the purpose of each of their positions. Watching them succeed up against the likes of Terrell Davis, John Elway, Marshall Faulk, and Brett Favre was both hilarious and exhilarating.
Capping off the satisfaction was the crazy celebration move each of my players could pull after just…well…not even scoring, but just making a first down! I could get one guy to break dance after a a five yard run. If that wasn’t enough, they had clips play from legendary songs like “Taking Care of Business” and Arethra Franklin’s “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” GameDay gave me the impression that it wasn’t trying to copy and paste the football world in its mechanics like Madden did, but rather continue with its own authentic signature. NFL GameDay 2000 was a title that sometimes exaggerated the football experience, but did so in a humorous manner that appealed to both hardcore and casual fans alike.
Challenge: 9/Outstanding: Three big features were introduced to the GameDay series in 2000: play editor, GM mode, and individual play. Individual play allowed you to assume the role of one player as opposed to the entire team for one whole game, allowing you to figure out how much talent you can exude from that single selection. GM mode gave you total control over one team’s management with a level of depth that competed with that of Madden’s Franchise Mode. The play editor feature placed you in the position of Offensive Coordinator with the freedom to edit routes for your runningbacks and receivers. Keynote features such as create-a-player and season mode added to the range of challenges that could be found in GameDay. The difficulty could be custom fit to your playing style, so if you were a casual gamer, you didn’t need to decipher plays in the same way you would for Madden, even with the simpler settings.
Handling: 9/Outstanding: The controls were intuitive to learn and highly responsive. The placement of the juke, spin, and stiff-arm buttons allowed for reflexive presses that flowed with the action occurring around you at that very point in time. Sometimes the movement of your players felt too free, as if there weren’t enough obstacles in their path to slow them down. Differentiation in players was noticeable in speed and power, and players like Terrell Davis were far more intimidating because of how they synchronized with their player stats.
Innovation: 8/Great: It kept much of the playing experience from GameDay 99 the same, but 2000′s addition of the three modes mentioned above in “Challenge,” as well as the introduction of twice as many plays for gamers to work, individualized this title to make it a memorable piece of art.
Core Experience: 9/Outstanding: Everything about the game’s depth and variety came together to supply a thrilling experience for the player, regardless of his or her interest in football. From the whacky celebrations to the funky music to colorful commentary from Phil Simms, the atmosphere ensures a pleasurable setting for the accessible features that GameDay has to offer.
OVERALL: 8.8/Great: It’s too bad that GameDay lost out due to Madden’s stranglehold on the football gaming market, but I for appreciated this game for being the reason that I now enjoy the sport of football, in spite of the fact that GameDay 2000 took itself less seriously as a football emulator than Madden did. Now, where’s that phone number for the creator of this game? I need to call him to let him know I’m suing him for getting me too involved in fantasy football leagues…