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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Madden NFL

Madden NFL is an American football video game developed by Electronic Arts Tiburon (EA) for EA Sports. The Madden NFL series consistently is one of the top selling video games in North America every year. The first version of the game was released in 1989 for the PC, as "John Madden Football". The first console version for the Sega Genesis followed in 1990 with a Super Nintendo version available a year later. EA Sports has released annual updates for all versions since 1991's "John Madden Football '92". The series gained full NFL licensing and became known as "Madden NFL" with 1993's Madden NFL '94; NFL players licenses came two years later.

The game is currently available for Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, and Game Boy Advance. EA has already released CGI renderings for Madden NFL 06, or Madden NFL: Next Generation as it is also known, which is scheduled to come out next year for the Xbox 360 next-generation gaming console from Microsoft.

The game is named after John Madden, a well-known football commentator and formerly a successful football coach during the 1970s. Madden insisted that he would only give his endorsement to a game that was as close to real life football as possible.

The game has grown, refined and matured over the years, adding many new features. Among these is voice commentary, allowing players or watchers to hear the game being called as if it were a real game on TV. The commentary is by John Madden teamed with his regular broadcast partner, which meant Pat Summerall until he retired; the role is now filled by Al Michaels, John's regular broadcast partner on Monday Night Football.

The original version of the game was commissioned by EA founder Trip Hawkins in 1984, and originally ran on an Apple II. EA had just shipped the hit Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One on One and would soon begin work on Earl Weaver Baseball and World Tour Golf, which together were the foundation for the EA Sports line of video games. The Apple II was not fast enough to show all the players running in real formations on the field. After several years of unsuccessful experiments the game finally shipped in the late 1980's and did not sell well.

When the Sega Genesis video game console gained popularity in the early 1990s, EA tried again. Producer Rich Hilleman brought in veteran sports game designer Scott Orr, who had founded 1980s Commodore 64 game publisher GameStar and had led the design of their games. The team of Orr and Hilleman designed and led the development of what is today still recognizable as the modern Madden Football, the highest revenie generating video game franchise in North America in game history.

There are multiple modes of play, from a quick head-to-head game to running a team for a whole season or even multiple seasons. Online play, which was a new feature for Madden NFL 2003 was only available for users of the PlayStation 2 console or a Microsoft Windows PC until earlier this year. At E3, Microsoft and EA Sports released a press statement announcing that games made from July on will now be Xbox Live-enabled. In August of 2004, EA Sports released Madden NFL 2005 and thus became a fierce competitor in the Xbox Live Community.

On December 13, 2004, EA Sports announced it had secured exclusive rights to the NFL for the subsequent five years, precluding any other game company from selling a football game using NFL players, teams, stadiums or other licenses. This move was widely criticized as an attempt by EA to establish a monopoly over football video games. Although the cancellation of the 989 Sports' NFL GameDay* and Microsoft's NFL Fever had removed two key rivals from the market in the holiday season of 2004, EA was facing increased competition from Sega/Take Two's ESPN NFL 2K5 whose lower selling price was undercutting EA's market share for NFL games.

* Although 989 Sports can’t produce football games with NFL content or superstars it has since started on work on a football game with a fictional league and fictional players called Road to Sunday

Contents [hide]
1 The Madden curse
2 References
3 See also
4 External links

The Madden curse
Prior to 2000, all of the Madden NFL game box covers prominently featured John Madden only. When EA started to have NFL players on the cover of the Madden NFL games, some people speculate there was a "Madden curse" after noticing a pattern when Atlanta Falcons' star player, Michael Vick was injured during the 2003 preseason after appearing on the cover of Madden 2004. Some of the people that believed in the curse stated that the player featured on the box would get injured or simply have a weak season.

The first NFL player to be on a Madden NFL cover was Barry Sanders in 1999, on the 2000 version of the game. He shared the cover with the customary picture of John Madden. However, a week before training camp began in 1999, he abruptly retired, ending his career and leaving the Detroit Lions without their star running back of the previous 10 years. Sanders' part in the curse is debated because he is not soley pictured on the box.

Eddie George of the Tennessee Titans, who graced the 2001 box, was the second cursed player. He was cursed by bobbling a pass in the playoffs, which was then picked by Ray Lewis, who returned the ball for a touchdown. He was also injured the following year. After appearing on the cover, George never rushed for over 4.0 yards per carry since.

In 2002, it was Daunte Culpepper, of the Minnesota Vikings, who had a lackluster year and feuded with his star receiver Randy Moss. In the two years that followed, the usually efficient Culpepper threw for 32 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.

Marshall Faulk, of the St. Louis Rams, who was on the 2003 box suffered an injury and had a bad season overall. He has yet to break 1,000 yards rushing since.

The aforementioned Michael Vick, of the Atlanta Falcons, suffered a broken fibula in a pre-season game against Baltimore. Ironically this happened the day after Madden 2004 was released. The result of that injury would be that the Falcons would suffer a painful 5-11 year. The most recent version, Madden 2005, featured Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. He had an injury that kept him out of the last game of the regular season against the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens won, but missed the playoffs altogether.

Electronic Arts officials point out that Ray Lewis and former Tennessee Titan Eddie George appeared on the covers of the 2005 and 2001 versions, correspondingly, and had successful seasons without injury. [1]

Philadelphia Eagles' star quarterback Donovan McNabb will be on the cover for the upcoming Madden NFL 06.

^ "McNabb has history with 'cursed' products". ESPN. URL accessed on June 21, 2005.

See also
NFL Blitz
NFL Street

2:10 AM


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