Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Madden Effect

For a game that's about competition it's a shame that the game itself doesn't have any. The Madden series is the longest running and best selling football game of all time. That's something that will probably never be taken away. After reading this, most Madden fans will probably disagree with me or hate me (I hope not!!!) but it's an opinion and we all should respect those. Before I delve into my topic let me give you a brief history of my experience with football games.

The first football game I ever played was NFL Football 94 on the Sega Genesis. The game was fun and fast, but I hated it! Why? Because my older brother would always destroy me in it and make me cry. The agony of defeat!! That was back when I lived in Germany (military brat). I was unaware of the Madden series at the time. So that next year we moved to the states and the next football game I got my hands on was NFL 95. I played the hell out of that game. I was the one dishing out the punishment to my brother this time! The taunts were the best with it's "where you goin" and "call an ambulance!" After that year my brother received Primetime NFL starring Deion Sanders for his birthday. The gameplay and difficulty changed a little with this release from Sega. That was my brother's "game" so of course he wasn't going to lose. And to this day, I still haven't beaten him. While I experimented these games, there was one caught in between that I loved but didn't own. It was Super High Impact which my cousin owned. I used to love playing that game. I own it now, but I'm too lazy to hook up my SNES. My cousin also owned Troy Aikman football on the SNES. I've watched it in action but never cared to play it. I was satisfied with my NFL 95.

So next came the era of the Playstation and also my next football title, Gameday 98. The game was a little on the dry side but as for me, that game gave you the ability to deliver one of the toughest stiff arms in football games history. Maybe it wasn't a stiff arm.....it was more like a punch. I remember the greatness of taking it all the way while spinning the WHOLE time. Now, the moment everyone's been waiting for. That's right. Madden. I have a cousin in Atlanta that used to come and visit me every once in awhile. Usually, he would just come play my games, but now he owned a Playstation. So during one of his visits he brings Madden 98. I played it and laughed at it because of Madden's "BOOM"s or "BAM"s. I didn't think the game was any good compared to Gameday 98. So the following year I picked up the next Gameday which made huge improvements to me. The overall graphics of the game changed completely. The players looked  more realistic, names on back of jerseys, commentary, and a passing game actually existed. The next football game I played was on another console completely. It was NFL2K on the Sega Dreamcast. It was a great game and I soon started to follow this series as I moved on to the Xbox and PS2. I bought the newest one every year.

In between the years, I still would play Gameday and Madden demos. Eventually, Gameday dropped out of the football race. I also played NFL Fever 2002 which I thought was awful. After time, the greatest football game ever (to me) came before me. It was NFL2K5. Everything was just perfect. (Even the price which was $19.99!!!) The presentation in this game was amazing. All the NFL2K games prior helped mold a complete and unique product. With each NFL2K release, the series received high reviews and higher sales, so of course this would be alarming the EA. So, what do they go and do? Something I was never expecting. They made a 5-year deal with the NFL and NFLPA in 2005 that gave them the exclusive rights to all things NFL up to 2009. I was infuriated, but this only showed me one thing. It was EA Sports admitting that the recent (at that time) Madden games were inferior products compared to the 2K series. I agreed to wait these 5 years out which turned into 9 since EA Sports extended the deal through 2012. Shame.

We live in a country where we always like to have a choice. We choose what we wear, what we do, we even choose who we want in our governments (or so we think..). I feel like I'm trapped when it come to football games. It's like walking into a car dealership named FOOTBALL and every car on the lot is MADDEN. Well it's madden-ing. I understand that which each Madden that comes out every year EA Sports makes gameplay tweaks. That's fine, but where is the innovation? The graphics look the same every year and the gimmicks become even sillier. Old Spice Swagger stat? Obama? I'm more concerned with that trailer for the next-gen Madden we saw in 2005. It's been 5 years and the series still looks no where near that and I believe it can. I just feel that Madden fans are receiving the same game every year. You guys expect and deserve more. At least a lower price. If I worked for EA Sports I would create you the most complete football experience ever and call it Madden NFL and sell it to you for 19.99 and then sell you roster updates every year instead of you paying 59.99+tax for a roster update. But I don't work for EA Sports and better yet, who am I to speak for you? A new season of NFL is about to begin and you Madden fans have your new game. Enjoy it and have a great season!

I can only imagine what the NFL2K series would look like now. (Whoever made this did an amazing job!)

I guess I'll save that for my dreams, but for now I guess it's the beginning of a new season of NFL2K5 for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment