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NFL Blitz Legends brings back NFL Blitz without the illegal hits

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Twenty-five years after the launch of the popular series, and 10 years after its last edition came out, “NFL Blitz” returns in the arcade format that made it famous. Arcade1Up, a retro gaming company, announced that remastered versions of the first three games in the series will be released this fall, featuring retired star players like Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, Dan Marino, Brett Favre, and Jerome Bettis.

NFL Blitz Legends, the new arcade cabinet, will include “NFL Blitz”, “NFL Blitz ’99” and “NFL Blitz 2000: Gold Edition”. The revival of these games, which were famous for heightening the violence and physicality of the sport, comes after years in which the NFL has made changes to its rules to increase player safety and improve perceptions of the dangers of play football. In a nod to these initiatives, Arcade1Up removed certain tackles and removed animations that had been banned by the NFL since the ’90s, including post-whistle slams and other stunts that would earn a real-life NFL player a win. disciplinary meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Speaking about how the (real) game has changed since he retired after the 2004 season, Hall of Famer and three-time NFL champion Jerry Rice said in an interview with The Washington Post that while he believes that recent rule changes helped protect players, he liked playing in his day.

“I think now the game is about protecting the players. But before, when I was playing, it was a little bit different,” she said with a smile. “You had to set up on a football pitch, you knew it was going to be a physical football match and you were going to get beat up. … In the past it was brutal. You had to get out and you had to protect yourself. But I think it was something the fans wanted to see.”

Acknowledging that players who target opponents need to be ejected from the game, Rice lamented game interruptions due to the increased use of instant replay and what he sees as a greater amount of control given to referees in terms of deciding. the results of the game.

“I understand it’s about protecting the players, but I played when you didn’t have all those [officiating] decisions, where you just let the players go out there and play the game,” he said.

Still, Rice was moved when talking about the fluidity and pace of “NFL Blitz.” He highlighted retro elements, including team logos and rosters, that hark back to an earlier era of gridiron glory.

“It’s really the game of the ’90s,” Rice said.

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According to Davin Sufer, CTO and Product Manager at Arcade1Up, taking these games, some of which were developed over 20 years ago, and running them on modern hardware and graphics engines, was no easy task.

“You can make the ROM file, the original builds, [and] make your hardware run it or you can dig up the source code and build the game from scratch,” said Sufer. “We did the last thing.” It took him and his team two years to complete the game.

The Arcade1Up version, apart from increasing the frame rate and responsiveness, also added an online multiplayer feature and can be remotely updated by the developer. A 49-way joystick, present in the original arcade versions, has also been retained. The “NFL Blitz” arcade cabinet features a 17-inch screen, is approximately 5 feet tall and weighs 92 pounds. It has a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024 and illuminated marquee.

“This is by far the most sophisticated game we’ve ever created,” said Scott Bachrach, CEO of Arcade1Up.

In addition to technical challenges, Arcade1Up also had to deal with a complex legal landscape, including negotiating new licenses with the NFL and the Football Greats Alliance, a group of retired NFL players. In collaboration with the NFL, the Arcade1Up team agreed to remove and edit animations showing players pointing at each other by heading with their helmets during tackles. They were also able to obtain a license for 409 of the 448 players in the original games.

“Coming out with this really is a minor miracle in my mind,” said Mark Turmell, creator of the original “NFL Blitz.”

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Turmell, who was involved in the remastering process, said he believes the new editions stay true to their original versions.

“In terms of the hard-hitting nature of NFL Blitz, that’s still here,” Turmell said. “In terms of an arcade game, things move fast, things change in a heartbeat, you can dive into mid-air, all those arcade elements remain. That is the code that runs in this game. It really holds up.”

When asked about his own abilities, Turmell spoke like a true player, albeit with a huge advantage.

“I’m pretty hard to beat,” he said. “I wrote the playbooks. So when I see a formation, this wide receiver comes out and makes a cut, I know the defender is going to go in the wrong direction. In my head, I know all those moves.”

Rice, who also seems to know opponents’ moves ahead of time, said that even though he’s been retired for years, this time of year, the start of the NFL season, is still special to him.

“It’s football season, man! Even though it’s preseason, I get excited because the preseason prepared me for the regular season,” he said.

For Rice, “NFL Blitz” and other sports games offer a taste of the reality he experienced on the field. That’s why, he says, that’s why those kinds of titles are so popular.

“I think people have an opportunity to live out that dream through these legends,” Rice said.

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