John Madden Football
Let me just go right out and say it: I hate sports games. I especially hate football games. It doesn’t help that I greatly dislike the sport of football as well. I’m much more of a fan of refined-skill games like soccer. Or should I say real foot ball. Fucking Americans polluting the namespace. That’s right. I went there.
Sports games always try too hard to simulate the experience of some sort of fantasy league. I guess that’s great if you’re the type who likes fantasy football. I can’t stand it. If I’m going to play sports games, I’d rather play games that consider the sport, its rules, and the related management as loose parameters to apply to a game that is primarily designed to be fun. Good examples are any Mario sports games. They’re not really sports games. They’re fun games that happen to use the rough parameters of whatever their title sport is. Another good example is the classic NES World Cup Soccer. It was ridiculous and silly, which made it tremendous fun. It didn’t care that you were breaking every rule of soccer. It was interesting.
So how does John Madden Foodball fare? Well, it makes good use of the expensive franchise that went on to sell over 16 sequels and counting. I assume when he dies, they’ll start selling Posthumous John Madden Football, where he comes back from the grave to say his cliches for the voice-overs.
Verdict: It’s a sports game! What? What do you want me to say? You are either in that niche target market and drop $60+ every year for the newest and greatest football game, or you’re a gamer. They’re all the same. That’s all. End of discussion.