Madden NFL ’09

I approached Madden ’09 with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation. I was curious because I have never played any of this particular franchise before, which is some achievement considering it’s now in it’s 20th Anniversary year! I had some trepidation because… well I have never played any of this franchise before!

I know a little about American football, I know that there are specialised players who come on the field simply to kick the ball for example. I know that the quarterback is the only one who seems to throw the ball and that no-one seems to care how many times the get hit in the head, this is my limit. I looked upon Madden ’09 as an opportunity therefore to expand my cultural (!) knowledge of this sport and also to fill a perceived gap in my gaming CV. I now know that the gap was there for a reason and that I actually understand even less about American football that I thought – I am also more than a little pleased about the latter!

So, carrying my ignorance like a banner I loaded up the game and proceeded to go through the Madden IQ tests, these are the key to this new games underlying intelligence as the game itself monitors how good you are at various different aspects and adjusts the difficulty levels to match. The testing takes place in a ‘virtual’ environment – actually I think it’s just the standard field environment with the texture maps removed – and you are run through various offensive and defensive exercises, this also serves as a sort of tutorial process as you are shown on-screen what button to press in any specific scenario. I did predictably badly and with a happy smile moved on.

There are a number of ways this game can be approached, one can play as an individual player starting as a freshly drafted rookie (see how I picked up the jargon!) and run through a career day by day attending training and games. You can run a franchise (that’s a team for the rest of us) and go through the seasons playing them game by game and hoping to reach the finals of the various bowls. In each of these modes it’s possible to ‘simulate’ the events, i.e. as a player I can choose to simulate a days practice instead of actually going through the motions and as a team I can simulate games or even an entire season. This is where we fell out, the game and I.

Firstly, why simulate the game-play? Surely the idea of playing a game is to actually _play_ the game simulating playing a game is a bit like washing ice surely – a bit cold and ultimately without results. Secondly, as a beginner I know NOTHING about anything but this game in it’s elegant stratification believes that I am either incapable of doing anything and limits my actions to moving 1 stick and pressing 1 button for each play or presents me with language with frankly may as well be written in Kanji.
Despite all of this I did manage to get an achievement… oh yes! I got the achievement for getting a touchdown, no wait, not for the touchdown but for moving the player into a blue box on the ground and pressing the right button to make him throw the ball though the uprights in celebration.

For me this sums up Madden ’09. If you are a Madden franchise fan, or an American football fan then maybe you should give it a glance. If, like me, you have managed to steer clear of all previous 19 of these titles then please.. keep on trucking there’s nothing to see here!







One response to “Madden NFL ’09”

  1. Mart avatar

    I had no clue about the NFL (besides the odd Al Pacino movie) until I played this game. Now it’s fairly got me into the sport. Gotta love being smacked so hard you flip over!

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