Season of X


What a time to be an Xennial.

The microgeneration that sits at the cusp of Generation X and Millennials - born between roughly 1977 and 1983 - has been seeing an update to things we came to love in childhood and early adulthood. A few months ago, X-Men '97 revisited the beloved X-Men the animated series in a way that grew up with us. And in a few short weeks, we see the return of EA Sports' college football video game series as College Football 25.

The series - previous known as NCAA Football - saw its last edition in NCAA Football 14, released in 2013. The game's layoff was the result of legal action and ultimately evolving policy oand practice on the compensation of college athletes for using their name, image, and likeness. College Football 25 will feature more than 10,000 college athletes who have opted in, meaning that rosters will feature the actual athletes, not just a "fictitious" QB #2 who coincidentally happens to share stats with Johnny Manziel, for instance. The new game will be available on Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X and S.

This series of games was instrumental to my college football fanhood. I came to college football later than many; I didn't grow up following it and didn't attend a school with football until grad school. The first edition I owned was 2005 (released 2004) on GameCube, because I pigeonholed myself into Nintendo consoles. The last one was 2009, the last to be released for the Wii (this was not a good game for the Wii.) I enjoyed the game, sure, but more than that, this game was a tutorial. It was through this series that I immersed myself in the lore of college football. I learned the rivalries. The trophies. The fight songs. It's even a big part of how I know my way around the Xs and Os of the sport, thought previous football games helped here as well.

The fact of the matter is, I'm not particularly good at the game, and that doesn't bother me much. I'm glad to begin gameplay and immerse myself in the cadence of gameday. The older games got a lot right, by the standards of the day, but after a decade to retool, all of the nuances that make individual programs unique are going to be on full display. Much like the aforementioned X-Men '97, skipping the intro will not be an option.

EA Sports has been slowly revealing elements of the game, including the gameplay, the sights and sounds, and Dynasty mode, with more to come. And even with a minor issue I have with the band depiction, I'm excited for all of it. My inconvenient truth is that I'm not likely to get my hands on it at first - I don't currently have either of the systems for which it will be released, but I'm glad it will be in the hands of fans in fairly short order and can't wait to see more.