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Video Game / NFL Blitz

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NFL Blitz is a series of American Football games based on the National Football League originally created by Midway Games. Blitz was the first of several franchises that took the NBA Jam formula of stripped-down rules and controls combined with amped-up violence and spectacular plays and applied it to another sport. The first Blitz came out as an arcade cabinet in 1997, and it was an immediate smash hit, not just because it was easy to pick up and play, but because—as the Blitz name might tell you—it presented an absurdly over-the-top version of the game, where there were only 7 players on each side, quarterbacks threw 30-yard passes on every down, defenders used Professional Wrestling throws to tackle the ballcarrier, and late hits were all but encouraged. That success meant that home ports soon followed, along with sequels every year up until 2003.

In its heyday, Blitz was the arcade yin to Madden NFL's sim-style yang, spawning a slew of imitators and even outselling Madden some years. Even to this day, NFL Blitz 2000 in particular is revered as the pinnacle of arcade-style football, and it's still relatively easy to find as an arcade cabinet. Unfortunately, the violence that made Blitz in players' eyes and set the series apart was also the exact thing that worried the NFL—even in the '90's, when concussions weren't taken as seriously and the league glorified its brutality. Thanks to league pressure, little by little, the games slowed down their gameplay and became more realistic until, by the time NFL Blitz PRO came out in 2003, it was basically just regular football, only with no penalties and On-Fire mode. After the NFL finally gave its exclusive license to Madden, Midway struck out on its own, creating the Blitz The League series as an elaborate F-U to show just how gory they could actually get, but after Midway's 2008 bankruptcy, EA bought out the Blitz license and tried to duplicate the success of their NBA Jam revival with a reboot in 2012, but this time, the NFL didn't allow the signature late hits and violence at all, creating an unsatisfying shell of a Blitz in the process.


These games contain examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: In real life football, a first down requires moving forward 10 yards, but in this game, you need to make 30, due to the fact that players in this game move much faster than in reality.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: By the time PRO came out, there was barely anything distinguishing Blitz from the simulation-style games it used to oppose. The EA reboot, despite imitating old hallmarks, actually gets this worse because of the toned-down violence—so during the 3-second pause after a play, where you would normally be able to make late hits, the players just stand around awkwardly.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": For some reason, Midway insisted on hyphenating the years in their sports titles once they started making them for PS2/GC/Xbox, so you were supposed to say "NFL Blitz twenty-oh-two" instead of "NFL Blitz two thousand two".
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  • Lemony Narrator: Tim Kitzrow's commentary, which is full of sarcastic quips about the brutality unfolding on the field.
  • Made of Iron: The cartoon logic and lack of penalties means that everybody can take brutal hits all day long and get up like they're nothing.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The fastest way to create an all-out brawl is to keep alternately hitting the switch player and tackle buttons as fast as possible, causing all your players to mindlessly dive at the nearest opponent until the game finally goes to a menu screen.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: As always, the computer has a habit of performing miraculous comebacks to keep things close. Get too far ahead, and your offense will suddenly get butterfingers, your defense will turn to Swiss cheese, and the even the automatic extra-points will magically start missing.
  • Self-Plagiarism: Midway made the first big Arena Football League console game—well, the first one that didn't turn into Vaporware, anyway—in the form of Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed. It's pretty much just the PS1 port of Blitz 2000 with a smaller playfield, a different license, and some other sound and aesthetic changes.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: A Blitz game without ridiculous tackles and late hits pretty much isn't a Blitz at all.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The late hits. Oh, God, the late hits. The end of each quarter is the best time for it, since there's more time provided to go around attacking the other team, and you can even put in cheat codes to extend the after-play pauses and give yourself more time to brawl.
    The announcer: That was uncalled for, but a lot of fun to watch!
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The influence of the Monday Night Wars is very obvious, especially in the earlier editions. Apparently, everybody in the NFL can do flawless legdrops, suplexes, and other wrestling moves, and will use them to tackle opponents.

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