For a minute, just think about all the football games you remember in your life. If you’re like most people, you probably immediately think of Madden, NFL 2K, and a couple others like NFL Blitz and Tecmo Super Bowl.

NOW think of the more obscure or less memorable football games. Not as easy, is it? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. For every big time release like Madden, there’s many that flopped and never made it past the discount rack at your local EB games. Today, we’ll take a look at the Top 5 Football Games that you’ve probably never heard of.

Emmitt Smith Football

Emmitt Smith Football was an American football video game released exclusively in 1995 for the Super NES in North America. It was not licensed…outside of the likeness of former all pro running back, Emmitt Smith, himself so the teams and players are fictional.

It had an exhibition and season mode based on the 1994 NFL season. Smith added his voice on the game; giving positive comments on big gains and negative comments on negative plays. The biggest innovation was the ability for players to make up to 64 of their own plays which were saved on a battery backup.

Emmitt Smith Football received generally mediocre reviews. A reviewer for Next Generation stated, “That [play editor] feature alone is great, unfortunately it’s the only thing that keeps Emmitt Smith Football from being one of the worst football games on the market. Once on the field, the poor graphics and even worse gameplay make the testing of your plays anything but fun.”

Although it was pretty much a flop it’s interesting to see there were full play editors in football games back in 1995 yet we don’t have them now…wow.

RealSports Football

RealSports Football is a 1982 football video game made by Atari for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200 and Atari 8-bit computer platforms. The game presents a significantly simplified version of football for play. Players in the game cannot go out of bounds or fumble the football, and there are no penalties in the game. Also, touchdowns automatically score 7 points; there is no kicking for extra points.

On offense, the user is given these choices for plays: pass left, pass right, run or kick. The game does not have a running back, although the quarterback is allowed to scramble. To pass or kick the ball, the user presses the joystick button, and to navigate the field, the user moves the joystick.

The linebacker is usually slightly faster than the player with the ball on offense for both the user and computer. Because of this advantage, the computer will often use the linebacker to stalk the player with the ball when the user is on offense. People who complain about Super Jumper LBs would be completely triggered by this.

Due to the low video quality, sound effects were added to identify game events. A “ringing” sound indicated a tackle, incomplete pass, or unsuccessful kick. A “roar” indicated a score.

RealSports Football was well received winning “1984 Best Sports Video Game” at the 5th annual Arkie Awards. Needless to say football video games have come a long way.

Brutal Sports Football

Brutal Sports Football is a arcade-style football video game developed by Teque London and published for the Commodore Amiga in 1993. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic futuristic sci-fi world during the year 2034. During the time, genetically engineered bi-pedal robots have replaced humans in the Brutal Football League, which originated as a disguised population control operation.

Brutal Sports Football is played as a 7 on 7, similar to Mutant League Football, in which it deviates from other American football titles released at the time in several ways. While following the same basic gameplay featured in other football simulators, there are no rules once a match starts and characters not in possession can actually hit opponents with or without the ball and even kill them. The game also features item and weapon pick-ups randomly scattered across the main playfield. Players could use these against opponents.

There are 3 modes of play: League, Unfriendly and Knockout, with each one having their own subset of rules. Unfriendly is both the standard single and multiplayer match mode of the game. Knockout is a tournament-style where eight teams battle in the competition. League is the main single-player mode of the game, where the player competes in four league seasons against rival teams. After winning a match, the player earn money depending on their performance in the playfield and its used in lockers where they manage their chosen team, repair a teammate that got the most damage in-game and more. Password is also given after finishing a match to resume progress. You can see the spirit of Brutal Sports Football has been carried on by the recently released Mutant Football league.

Sterling Sharpe: End 2 End

Sterling Sharpe: End 2 End is a Super Nintendo Entertainment System football video game released in 1995 exclusively in North America. A Japanese version titled Super American Football was planned to be released but was eventually cancelled.

While the game features 30 cities involved in the 1994 NFL season, their team name and official logos are not. None of the actual NFL players themselves appear in the game like Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, or Brett Favre. Although Sterling Sharpe sometimes compliments the player when he makes an excellent play on the field.

The game did not get the warmest reception being called “a mediocre Madden NFL clone” by Gamepro. They particularly criticized it for lacking a regular season mode, real teams, and real players, and added that due to the poor controls “Completions are based more on luck than skill”. However, the did single out the large variety of plays as the game’s one strong point.

Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka

Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka is a 1995 football video game published by Digital Pictures for the Sega Saturn, 3DO and MS-DOS.

It features Mike Ditka as head coach of the player’s team. Unlike in most football video games, the player does not control an entire team. Instead, Quarterback Attack attempts to simulate the experience of being a professional quarterback, with the other players rendered in full motion video. This gives the game an amazingly realistic look but with much less control of the gameplay like a traditional football game.

The game received mixed reviews as EGM praised the unique game concept and said that despite being FMV-based, the game is actually fun to play. A Next Generation critic agreed: “It’s tempting to write this game off as another novelty FMV product, but when given the proper attention, this one might just surprise even the most die-hard of sports fans.” He elaborated that the fast pace and smooth transitions between video clips enhance the feeling of being in a real football game. His one criticism was that the video quality is subpar by Saturn standards.

Gamepro felt the game simulated the quarterback experience with a surprising amount of realism and interactivity, noting that “You do everything a real QB does: call the play and the cadence, study the defense at the line and adjust with audibles if necessary, dodge the rush, find your open man, and get your crosshair on him for a clean pass. You even have the option of eating the ball Steve Young-style and scrambling for some yards yourself.” He found the graphics and sounds were both sufficient though not without problems, but concluded that many gamers would miss the comprehensive modes and options typical of football video games. The biggest issue with the game was a lack of multiplayer modes, licensing, and the ability to control an entire team.

In December 2016, Quarterback Attack was remastered from the original source video and released as an app for Google Play and iTunes. So You can actually buy the game for mobile right now!

That concludes our list of the top five football video games you’ve likely never heard of. Perhaps, you know of some that we do not. Let us know in the comments!


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