Nintendo 64 Sports – NFL Quarterback Club ’98

High quality sports games are key components to the success of any console and it has been this way since the beginning. Intellivision claimed superiority over Atari with their “realistic” sports titles and it was a major selling point for many children and adults in the early 80’s. The Nintendo Entertainment System contained 4 sports titles for their North American launch in 1985, acknowledging the impact it could have on initial sales. The Genesis does what Ninten-don’t ad campaign of the early 90’s highlighted Joe Montana and Tommy Lasorda endorsements for Sega’s console.

There will always be a market for realistic video game depictions of popular American sports such as football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, et. al. so it’s in a console manufacturer’s best interest to make sure developers come up with stellar sports titles for their systems. With that said, the only sports game I have for my Nintendo 64 is NFL Quarterback Club ’98. This can easily be explained by understanding that I didn’t own an N64 until it had just been replaced by the Gamecube and my 5th gaming generation console of choice was the PlayStation, which had numerous sports titles worth buying.  Unless a game offers something unique and special, e.g. Baseball Stars, Tecmo Super Bowl, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out for the NES, the multi-platform Tony Hawk Pro Skater series or Tennis 2K series for the Dreamcast, sports titles tend to age poorly with dated gameplay and long retired or forgotten players. I wasn’t too excited to pick up a bunch of dated sports games once I decided to start collecting for the Nintendo 64.

NFL Quarterback Club ’98 was an entry in Acclaim Sports’ franchise which got its start as a multi-platform title prior to this particular entry being exclusively made for the Nintendo 64. I purchased this particular entry in the series due to the cover athlete being none other than Brett Favre, the quarterback of my favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers. When the game was released in 1997, the Packers had just won the super bowl and they would go on to play in their second consecutive super bowl the following January. Favre had also just won his second of three consecutive NFL MVPs so this game was going to represent Favre and the Packers at their 90’s peak. True to form, when I play the game as the Packers, they are statistically one of the best, if not the best, team on the game and Favre is likely the best QB as well. The game play is similar to the Madden titles that were popular at the time but it took a bit for me to get used to using the Z target button at the bottom of the N64 controller to hike the ball and then select my receiver targets. Once you get the hang of it, it plays just like other NFL games of the era. NFL Quarterback Club ’98 allows you to simulate a variety of high pressure scenarios for you and your QB of choice to play out. Other features such as create a player, create a team, hidden teams accessed via cheat codes and the more traditional season modes that allow you to choose a team and play through their 1997 schedule in an attempt to reach the Super Bowl. The game’s graphics are sharp and the amount of bells and whistles make this game a winner. However, the gameplay mechanics aren’t as fluid as other NFL games available on the PlayStation or Dreamcast but they are serviceable. NFL Quarterback Club ’98 is a decent game but remains in my collection for one very green and gold reason.

Rating: B-

Currently in my collection: game only

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