Madden NFL ’97

Madden NFL '97

As a part of my research for this piece, I watched some football. It was the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans won the game. Which I guess is a pretty awesome thing, since their city had a tragedy more massive and heartbreaking and incredibly relevant than the Giants’ city ever did (don’t freak out– the New York Giants are from East Rutherford, NJ and Wikipedia says nothing of catasrophes there).

What I learned from this time watching was probably non-indicative of the sport in general. I watched the saints, play after play, do incredibly cool things such as throw the ball and catch the ball with great athleticism. It was sort of fun to watch. Now, I’ve watched this game before, and for the most part, it bugs me. In concept, I like the idea of getting a bunch of little mans to line up and do battle with each other with a set group of rules, allowing one set piece to bounce off of another; after all, I play tactical RPGs.These are virtually the same thing, only less deep (you can’t win every game of football by getting four linebackers to simple surround and circle-kick a quarterback).

now, videogames have, over the past, taught me most of what I need to know about football. I never got into the Madden series, but I had NFL Quarterback Club ’96 for the SNES (which cost only $1 or something at the time) and Blitz: The League II for the Xbox 360 (which I won in a Destructoid contest, only a few spots outside of winning a whole PS3). I assume I picked up the actual rules at some point (it can’t have been those games that taught me a single thing).

It doesn’t matter, though. Nothing I learned about sports taught me how to properly play this game. It took me a quarter to figure out how to throw the ball. I never completed a pass or got a first down. I think my only gains were 2 yard rushes that I accidentally did instead of failing to throw the ball.

Madden might be an incredible simulation of the port these days, or whatever, but let’s be honest: there’s nothing like playing the real thing. Or even watching the real thing. I shouldn’t be struggling with ideas like “where is the Y button?”

I should instead be struggling with, “where do I inject these delicious steroids?”

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