I had really high hopes for this game. Obviously it wasn’t going to be the next Madden out the gate (or even NFL Blitz), but there was a lot to like about it, and for the right reasons. For one, it’s development team features several black female programmers, and the developer, Nerjyzed Entertainment is headed by a black female CEO. The company’s mission is to produce games which promote the more positive aspects of minority cultures. While BCFX is a good note to start on, it tends to fall flat during the execution.

BCFX: The Doug Williams Edition is an Xbox port of the previous year’s PC title. It’s purpose is to educate audiences and introduce them to the world of black college football. Despite what you would have read on internet message boards around the time of the game’s release, this game is not racist, nor is it meant to punish white people for any reason. These colleges were founded at a time when blacks weren’t allowed to attend the same colleges that whites did. Being the entrepreneurial people we were, we made our own, and they have become a part of history, thus, the title Historically Black Colleges. No, the schools were not black only, whites could attend as well. Now don’t worry, I won’t beat you over the head with a lesson on black history however.

This game features 40 HBCU teams, three HBCU conferences, an interactive museum, an interactive halftime show, and play-by-play commentary from Donal Ware and Jonathan Coachman (yes, former WWE commentator The Coach). It’s also the first retail sports game that makes use of Unreal Engine 3. Although you would not realize it looking at the graphics. Animations are choppy, movements are stiff, and to be honest, players look like they’re on Dreamcast rather than Xbox 360. The only part of the game that remotely resembles Unreal 3 is the museum. The commentary is also lacking. Donal Ware and the Coach are often off with their calls. My favorite? After I take down a kickoff returner at the 10 or 20th, they remarked on how the offense got good yardage! WHAT FUCKING GAME ARE YOU WATCHING? I BURIED THE FUCKER AT HIS OWN 10! ANY FARTHER THAN THAT, AND I’D HAVE A TOUCHBACK! Doug Williams tries to be the game’s answer to NCAA’s Lee Corso of John Madden, as you’ll hear from him when you auto select a play. However, even this falls flat, as he simply tells me ‘this is what I’d do’. Why? If this was NCAA, I would hear all sorts of remarks about my fielding, and the current situation on the field, along with why exactly this play is best suited for my situation. It doesn’t help this game that all it has to offer in terms of single player content is a bare-bones season mode. Things like team and player customization and recruitment have been left to the side. Now granted, these things aren’t too critical considering that this is the company’s first effort (or rather a port of the company’s first effort), but for a player who has been weaned on NCAA and Madden, this is a bit of a disappointment. It would be an even bigger disappointment if the gameplay wasn’t up to snuff. Thankfully, it does a decent job. If you’re familiar with any of EA sport’s offerings, this game will be easy. Just don’t go expecting anything special when moving the right analog stick.

If there is one thing that the game got right, it’s the band, specifically the drum line. Anyone who attended a high school or college (HBCU or otherwise) football game knows that the band plays a huge part in the atmosphere, almost as if they are part of the team themselves. If you’ve ever been to an HBCU football game, you’ll know that the drum line is king when it comes to the on-field entertainment. Throughout the game, you’ll hear band renditions of popular hip hop and R&B songs. You’ll recognize hits from a wide range of artists ranging from Young Jeezy to Earth, Wind, and Fire. During halftime, you’ll have the option to play a rhythm minigame centered around the band. You’ll earn coins, but there seems to be no real use for them. Even better, you can bust out your Rock Band drums and play through another minigame that’s accessible from the menu. Again, there is no real point to it other than being fun, and it takes me back to my high school days when the band played everything from George Clinton to Master P. The aforementioned museum is awesome as well. You can learn several facts about Historically Black College Football, and you can even learn just who the hell Doug Williams is.

BCFX has ways to go if they wish to provide a good alternative to Madden. Although this game gets an A for effort, its lackluster presentation (except the drum line) and lack of game modes is something that will have to be addressed in future entries. Of Nerjyzed has set out on a good mission, and I hope that this will not be the last we see of them. It will be great to see minority females having a bigger presence in game development.