I was playing an early copy of the new "NFL Blitz" the other day, and Calvin Johnson went airborne for what looked like the game-winning touchdown. But then he ran into Patrick Willis. And when I say "ran into," I really mean Megatron flew facemask-first into P52's stone-like fist as the on-fire Willis literally punched the gravity-defying receiver backward before he reached the end zone. 49ers win.
That's what "NFL Blitz" is all about. It's that maddening intensity that only 7-on-7 football can bring. Throw in players igniting into flames and hurtling their virtual bodies throughout the field thanks to the kind of hops that would make even LeBron jealous, and you have a recipe for twitchy arcade action gamers have been addicted to since the title first debuted to tokens back in 1997.
While football fans have to wait until January for the game's digital release ($15; XBLA, PSN), EA Sports and Spike TV are launching a special "NFL Blitz" cover vote at VGA.Spike.com, where gamers can choose among Willis, Roddy White and Ray Rice to appear as the game's cover star and spokesperson. All voting will take place during the Spike Video Game Awards on Dec. 10, with the winning player being announced in style by football legends Joe Montana and Jerry Rice that night.
To All-Pro linebacker Willis, however, there's no denying he's the best choice for the game's cover.
"People should vote for me for the cover of 'NFL Blitz' because I'm the type of guy who likes to go after the ball carrier and just like in the game, I hit him pretty hard," Willis says. "I still remember when my dad bought us the old N64 copy of 'Blitz.' My dad was pretty good at that game, but we would all play together. I'd play, my brother would play, even my sister liked to play 'Blitz,' but my dad was tough to beat. He was always throwing the ball deep.
"But what I like about the game best is no flags. You can hit people when they're up in the air, blow them up before the ball even gets there, and no flags. I love that. 'Blitz' was one of my first loves when it comes to gaming. Before I was a 'Madden' fan, it was all about 'Blitz,' so to me, being on the cover would be a perfect fit since I used to play the game so much. This is the type of game I love. Big hits all day and no flags. Doesn't get better than that."
Jon Robinson: I know you're a big gamer. What have you been playing lately?
Willis: I'm on that new "Need for Speed" game hard. That's one of those games I've always been into playing. Can't wait for the new "Blitz" to come out. I used to love the old "NFL Blitz," then I still played it when Lawrence Taylor was on the cover and they didn't have the NFL license. I liked that concept with all the action they added. That was the game where you could break someone's ankle and they would show the X-ray of the bone snapping. That's what I want to see more of. That's the real deal.
When you're playing "Madden," people throw the ball over the middle too much. I want them to show people get a crushed collarbone or a crushed ankle or a crushed sternum or something. I wish when you put a Hit Stick on someone, you could put them out of the game. I was playing the other day, and I was in a Cover 2 Man, and my homeboy was completing passes over my defenders every time. I just want to Hit Stick him and put him out of the game.Read More »