Part of the reason we limped out of college with a five-figure student loan debt were those hours spent at the student union arcade playing ‘NFL Blitz.’

Not only did the game shake us down for change — charging $.50 cents per football quarter, costing $2 to finish a whole game — but it also contributed to those classes we failed and had to repeat.

Now it’s back, and faster, better-looking and slimmer than it was in the 90s. Pretty much the opposite of us.

Publisher Electronic Arts is undoubtedly paying off karmic debt, because it was the publisher’s exclusivity deal with the NFL that originally killed off the series nearly a decade ago. Now that old ‘Blitz’ publisher Midway has gone under, EA is dancing on its corpse by resurrecting its best games. The initiative has already yielded two ‘NBA Jam’ games, and now ‘Blitz’ is back as well.

Witnessing the old classic in high-definition, moving with grace and finesse of 60 frames-per-second would have brought tears to our eyes, had we not become jaded, soulless cynics who no longer possess the ability to cry.

A true nostalgic blast, the game lets you resurrect old dormroom rivalries via online play, stock your roster with ninjas, robots and zombies — or Larry Fitzgerald, who really is better than all three combined — and helmet-bash your way through leagues and leaderboards.

The only knock on the onfield action, which perfectly replicates the 7-on-7, no-pass-interference-allowed style of the original, is the exclusion of late hits. Much of the charm of the old game came in pummeling your opponents after the whistle blew, but the NFL stepped in and banned them for the remake.

We also missed the old play-designing feature from the Nintendo 64 version of the game, which allowed us to make up plays and bestow them with fantastically inappropriate names.

Flaws aside, this new ‘Blitz’ is a welcome addition into our gaming harem, now causing us to shirk work and family duties rather than sociology class. At least we don’t have to pay $2 per game anymore. Which is important, because sooner or later our bosses will kick us to the curb for taking so many “sick days” to play the game.

Rating: 8.5/10

NFL Blitz ($15), was developed by Tiburon, published by EA and is available on Xbox 360 and PS3. Rated Everyone 10+. The publisher provided a copy of the game for review.

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