John Madden slapped his name on a video game that has been responsible for sick days, failed classes, and an entire generation of folks who think that you should be able to trade a 67 overall running back for a first round pick. Yep, it is Madden season for most football fanatics and I would like to take a look at the seven Madden video games that stand out over the years.
Madden 92 – Madden 92 makes the list because of one of the best in-game jokes ever. When a player would unfortunately get injured on the field of play, an ambulance would appear to take the injured player off the field. The ambulance often took a direct path to the player, usually taking out other players on either team. It was hilarious and I wish it could return to the modern versions of the game in some kind of callback to the older generation.
Madden 2003– Madden 2003 was awesome. It was the first version to feature EA Trax, the in-game soundtrack during menu screens and other game modes. It also featured Mini Camp, which were mini games to help you get better at different aspects of the game. Lastly, it was the first version of Madden that had on-line game play, so when you fired up that PS2, you could play against the world.
Madden 2004– I had a love/hate relationship with this iteration of the game. It introduced Franchise mode, which allowed you to control all aspects of running an NFL football team. From front office decisions to pricing concessions in the stadium, I loved this mode. What I hated was Michael Vick. He had 95 speed and was practically a cheat code on a team. If you played as the Atlanta Falcons online, there’s a good chance that I quit playing before the end of the first quarter. In fact, I had such a high DNP percentage I was actually was barred from playing online for about four months. Thanks jerks.
Madden 2005– THE HIT STICK! This feature lead to some absolutely devastating hits and some really discouraging missed tackles. This version of the game was probably the best version if you had a more defensive-minded skill set. There was a new hitch to the franchise mode called Storyline Central, which added media elements to the game. Radio shows, newspaper reports and other thing would keep you abreast of what was happening with your team and the rest of the NFL. Lastly, I recall the Jacksonville Jaguars being damn near unbeatable in the game too.
Madden 2009– This Brett Favre cover game was not very good because of two things, first because the game had some serious bug issues on release and would lock up your console, and secondly the game just played way too fast for anyone’s liking. But the one thing I think players did enjoy were the specific touchdown celebrations you could do with special players. Pulling off the Lambeau Leap as a Viking is awesome.
Madden 11– This might have been the most balanced game play version of the game ever created. The chess matches between offensive and defensive players lead to some fantastic match ups. Online Franchises made their appearance and let me tell you that I lost weekends to this game. Weekends spent scouting and tweaking my roster so I could beat my boy Caleb in our Super Bowl (I never beat Caleb).
Madden 15– The game got average reviews, but the only reason it’s on my list is because it looked so damn pretty. I did not care for the repetitive game play and the Connected Franchise Mode in this version was janky from the get go, but still. It was just so damn pretty.
Madden 17 drops today and from all accounts, it’s going to make playing Madden fun again. From a revamped run game, enhanced defensive AI improvements, a new broadcast team that’s worth listening to and a retooled franchise mode for all of us Internet General Managers that should make this version of the game extremely re-playable, I hope that we can all enjoy Madden Season like we once did.