Tuesday was an unofficial holiday. It was Madden Day. It’s the day the newest edition of the multi-kazilion selling pro football simulation goes on sale and all the hardcore gamers wake up their mommies early in the morning so she can drive them to the mall and they can buy it.
I’m kind of over all that.
Not that I don’t still dig Madden. Last year’s version was the best one yet. At least the best one for the Xbox 360 that I had purchased. Madden 10 was a vast improvement over Madden 09. That edition didn’t dazzle me and leave me stupefied by the graphics, gimmicks or gameplay. Can the same be said about Madden 11?
Don’t know yet. I didn’t go anywhere near a mall yesterday. Maybe it’s important for some gamers to have the hottest new game AS SOON AS IT COMES OUT AND PLAY IT ALL NIGHT UNTIL THE SUN COMES UP THE NEXT DAY AND YOUR HANDS ARE RAW, RED AND DRIPPING BLOOD FROM THE YOUR POPPED BLISTERS but I’m too seasoned a veteran player to get all excited and jump around like David Lee Roth in his Van Halen prime.
Here’s the thing. Let somebody else camp outside of a Game Stop counting the minutes until the midnight hour release. That’s fine for them, but I don’t need that shit. So what if one of the new features is you can play an entire game within 30 minutes? A real football game takes an hour, not a half-hour. I want more realism from Madden, not less.
There are two kind of Madden players: the casual ones who just want to play a football simulation now and then and the hardcore junkie who can’t even start a game until the rosters are set right, the depth chart is correct and if it’s necessary to go into the menu to create the 7th round punter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who beat out a 10-yr vet for the job, then that’s exactly what’s gotta be done. God took seven days to create the world and took Sunday off. A hardcore Madden player will go as long as it takes to get every player in place and find a place for every player that needs one.
However, when you’ve played this game as long as I have, you don’t automatically start salivating like Pavlov’s dog each and every time EA Sports pops another Madden bun out of the oven. When EA Sports purchased the exclusive NFL licensing rights in 2004, they ensured they would kill off the competition from ESPN 2K football, NFL Quarterback Club and every other football simulation that wanted to use real NFL teams, players and stadiums. It has to be mentioned that the NFL sought bids for the rights and EA won. That was great for EA but was it really good for gamers to have their choices reduced to only one?
I don’t think it was, but EA has the only game in town until 2013. Madden has been the premier football simulation for a long time now, but competition is a good thing. Monopolies have a tendency to get lazy and less inventive. EA has made many mistakes with the Madden franchise in the past such as the maddening “quarterback vision” of the 2006 edition. It was a monumentally useless feature which made completing even the most simple pass a major pain in the ass for anyone QB not named Payton Manning or Tom Brady.
EA’s tagline has been, “if it’s in the game it’s in the game.” I’ve watched pro football since I was a little Winbush and I’ve yet to see a cone of light pop from a quarterback’s eyes to spotlight a receiver. There have been some boring, baffling and just plain bad years of Madden, but with the QB vision feature, I almost threw up my hands and walked away from it for good.
Many years the only reason to buy the latest Madden is for an updated roster. Otherwise, all you get is yet another rerun of last year’s model with a few meaningless tweaks. As reasons go, that’s a lousy one to lay $60 bucks down for a game that becomes obsolete every 12 months.
I thought long and hard about putting down some cash to reserve a copy, but then I shrugged and said, “What for? It’s not like they’re ever gonna sell out.”
Madden Day has come and gone. I am serene and calm. Let the mob fight and paw over who gets the last copy it stock. It makes no nevermind to me. The prospect of diddy-bopping into a Best Buy in a couple of weeks only to be told they’re still sold out does not stress me out in the least. There will always be more. It’s like potato chips. There’s always going to be another Madden game and someplace selling them.
There is however in this year’s model an extra special player. Guess whoooooooooo?