Should've read the whole rules thread instead of just the main post before I started posting. Hopefully you'll forgive my three pre-introduction posts.
I'm a lifelong Raider fan who's first football video game was Madden NFL '97
for the Sega Saturn. Before that, I grew up on a football strategy card game that was like Strat-o-Matic but different enough from what I can piece together about Strat-o-Matic's gameplay that I'm certain it was a different brand of football card game. I got '98
for the Saturn (touch passing! ooh la la), then the Saturn was discontinued and I got '99
for the PlayStation, as well as the next three games.
I got 2003
on the PlayStation 2, but then got 2K4
as I was underwhelmed by pre-release footage of 2004
that looked identical to 2003
. Then the hype train before 2005
led me to return to Madden
. I wound up selling my video games to get into music around that time, and a short while later picked up a GameCube and got 06
for it. I got 07
for the PC and was disappointed in its similarities to '05
for the PS2, so I got a copy of ESPN NFL 2K5
for an Xbox I'd picked up cheap off a friend around then (this was back when EA had just secured the exclusive NFL rights, and so people furious about that and talked up 2K5
a lot; it was actually extremely polished, with incredible presentation, and had very good-but-somewhat-sluggish gameplay in a game where that couldn't really be written off as a consequence of simulation-style gameplay, given that part of the gameplay also involved mashing a button to sprint).
I got a PS3 at that point, for which I picked up 07
, which was utter trash; the game was akin to watching the all-time late greats of pro football climb out their graves and begin lining up and going at it as limbs and teeth fell off of them. Nothing about it felt real; it was a masterclass in the presentation of artifice. 08
came out and was supposed to be really good on the 360 and PS3, but I balked at the price tag, considered getting the one-sixth cheaper PC version but realized that it was a port of the fifth-gen game and balked at that too, and then wound up getting the PC version a few months later when the price had dropped considerably. At some point after that, I played APF 2K8
for around a year when, anticipating the release of Backbreaker
, my PS3 died and I returned to the warm embrace of my PC and Madden NFL 08
and came across the Football Freaks website.
In the interim, I've played a few of the Madden
s that have come out. I've never been that impressed. Either the player you controlled would feel like they were skating with great agility, or there wouldn't be anywhere near the depth of pre-play options, or there would be all kinds of bugs, or the A.I. was prone to rubber-banding, or some seemingly-minor thing on the control scheme is moved to a strange place and you realize that the minor things need to be accessible, too. What I'm saying is, I think 08
is probably the best football simulation made to date. It has its bugs, and it was already built on old bones when it was released (I think they started using the engine for it with 04
), and it wasn't even the new-generation version of Madden
when it was released, but I can do everything I want to do in it. I don't miss tackles because of glitches or unpredictable responses to button presses, I miss tackles because the player doing the tackling is out of position. Receivers don't clip through my defenders when they catch bombs, they catch bombs because I should have Sean Smith in zone coverage, not man-to-man. As much as I may fight with the sliders in order to get competitive games, I do
get competitive games, and beyond being able to block computer field goals over half the time on any difficulty, there's not a lot of cheese you can pull on the computer. The control scheme seems perfect. The graphics show me all the information I need, albeit virtually none of the information I don't, but how much can I complain? The game's turning ten in a month.
Edit: I'm also pretty sure I played that first Arena
football game that was on the Xbox, the one that used the Madden
engine running at 150% speed or something.