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Football Matters Madden Retrospective Series: We Need More of This in Our Genre

Madden NFL 20

Football Matters Madden Retrospective Series: We Need More of This in Our Genre

I don’t know about you guys, but I think sports games have gone mostly untouched from a retrospective standpoint. Every once in a while, we get a really cool article by a large outlet, such as this GQ article about NBA Street 2 back in 2018, but it’s not enough to satiate me. I think of all the amazing sports documentaries, and all the amazing work done by outlets like NFL Films over the years, and I want that for sports games.

I don’t expect production quality that rivals NFL Films or anything, but the history here is starting to amass. We have generations of consoles to parse through now, and it’s time to start collecting this history in worthwhile videos and retrospectives.

Football Matters posted part three of their three-part series about two weeks ago, but it came over my timeline during Thanksgiving. I finally had a chance to watch it on Sunday, and while overall it has the feel of an advertisement more than I would like (especially parts two and three), part one is the one I share above because it’s more like the stuff I crave. It’s a look at how the Madden series got started, and it talks to some of the people involved in that process. For those who are up on their Madden history, it’s maybe not full of a ton of new info, but it’s well shot and well put together, and even production values like these are hard to find on a consistent basis in the sports game genre.

It’s not just the history of how these games were created that matters either. For example, NoClip does great work doing retrospectives in between focusing on other new games coming out. I can still recall watching things like GameTrailers’ look at Zelda’s timeline years ago — it’s great to see a bunch of those guys now working independently under the Easy Allies umbrella by the way — and it’s because so much of this stuff is now part of a long stretch of our lives. I’ve been playing Zelda games for 20 years at this point, and the same goes for Madden.

That sort of history is rich, looking at the many versions of the game is an interesting topic, and documentaries are something sports fans love anyway. It just feels like a subject that has gone mysteriously overlooked. I would love to watch or read about the impact of music in sports games over the years. I would love to watch someone talk about the history of the Madden Vision Cone, and maybe even get to talk with some developers involved in that gameplay feature. It could be so many things, and it just feels like it’s past time more high-quality video pieces were out in the wild encapsulating the history of sports games.

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  1. I don't know if anyone here remembers the G4 TV channel or not. But years ago they did a documentary on the Madden series and it was a great documentary. It interview key people at Madden ( key at the time ) and talk to John Madden himself and how involved with the game he was and how he insisted that it was realistic football. I wish I could find it.
    The Black Redneck
    I don't know if anyone here remembers the G4 TV channel or not. But years ago they did a documentary on the Madden series and it was a great documentary. It interview key people at Madden ( key at the time ) and talk to John Madden himself and how involved with the game he was and how he insisted that it was realistic football. I wish I could find it.

    I definitely remember that series, and yeah, Madden was a strong proponent of a lot of that stuff for sure if any of the histories on the topic are to be believed. I miss G4, even if it was mostly trash when it wasn't doing video game stuff.
    The Black Redneck
    I don't know if anyone here remembers the G4 TV channel or not. But years ago they did a documentary on the Madden series and it was a great documentary. It interview key people at Madden ( key at the time ) and talk to John Madden himself and how involved with the game he was and how he insisted that it was realistic football. I wish I could find it.

    There was another video around 2015 where someone asked Madden how he felt about where the state of the game, the lack of competition, etc. I forget his exact words, but he sounded mostly unaware, and disheartened. I don't think some people realize John Madden hasn't had anything to do with this game baring his name for many years.
    Culture Rot
    There was another video around 2015 where someone asked Madden how he felt about where the state of the game, the lack of competition, etc. I forget his exact words, but he sounded mostly unaware, and disheartened. I don't think some people realize John Madden hasn't had anything to do with this game baring his name for many years.

    I don't think he could have much input at this point either way due to being at such an advanced age, and I don't think he's in the best health.
    Culture Rot
    There was another video around 2015 where someone asked Madden how he felt about where the state of the game, the lack of competition, etc. I forget his exact words, but he sounded mostly unaware, and disheartened. I don't think some people realize John Madden hasn't had anything to do with this game baring his name for many years.

    Exactly. In the very beginning, he had good intentions... insisted that the game was real. And even then, it was my understanding that in the late 80s, the extent of his insisting it was 'real' football was that there was 11 players on the field.
    But at this point, his name is on the game... that's it. He doesn't meet with producers, he doesn't meet with the programmers. He just lends his name... just like George Foreman has nothing to do with the George Foreman grill, other than his name being on it.
    kennylc321

    Exactly. In the very beginning, he had good intentions... insisted that the game was real. And even then, it was my understanding that in the late 80s, the extent of his insisting it was 'real' football was that there was 11 players on the field.
    But at this point, his name is on the game... that's it. He doesn't meet with producers, he doesn't meet with the programmers. He just lends his name... just like George Foreman has nothing to do with the George Foreman grill, other than his name being on it.

    Even Foreman did commercials for the grills.
    Id be fine if Madden withdrew his name from this game because it has gone to crap. That would be a biggy for EA.
    Rayzaa
    Even Foreman did commercials for the grills.
    Id be fine if Madden withdrew his name from this game because it has gone to crap. That would be a biggy for EA.

    The Madden marketing name/ scheme will never be relinquished because it's synonymous like a annual ritual, realism or not in the eyes of many.
    Hey Chevy, because your product has gone to crap, were going to change your name to Pragmatic.
    Me and my older brothers have played football games forever. We had that old Madden on PC with just the red and blue team colors. We constantly went back and forth thru Madden and Joe Montana football since the PC days and Tecmo. We actually played Joe Montana more until the last couple of years that just kinda fell off.
    Recently, I’ve gone back to playing the more recent Madden games from M17-M19 and honestly, M17 actually plays the best imo. M17 has the best balance and the more unpolished physics and tackling animations make it better. I had a defending getting blocked to the ground, but he had his hands on the QB bringing him down along with him while going to the ground. You seem to see this kind of stuff more often in M17 than any other Madden I still have.
    M18, is an okay game, but the tightened up animations actually make the game less exciting to me. Also the running game was so bad, you even get no gain or the defense gets sucked into the LOS vortex and allows you to go untouched for a 99 yard TD all of a sudden lol. That killed my joy for the game.
    M19 is okay with mods but the QBs hardly throw INTs in CFM. The TD/INT ratio is bad and the highest INTs a DB gets a year is usually 6 and most other guys get about 4 maybe. Then M20 is not built for CFM at all, stats are bonkers and the O line just doesn’t block at all on so many plays.
    I’m actually playing M17 right now, and it’s just a better CFM experience. I liked this old XP and regression system along with more developmental ratings like “Poor” still being there (another weird omission Madden made). It plays great and there seems to be more organic highlights you can make with the physic, break tackle function and other animations that just worked well together. You got a real halftime show with highlights, the camera man going into the end zone to catch the celebrations, the tackles were more unique, you see more trip ups more, sliders easily prevented auto-completion CPU QBs, there’s just a lot that honestly feels better in this Madden than the rest.
    roadman
    The Madden marketing name/ scheme will never be relinquished because it's synonymous like a annual ritual, realism or not in the eyes of many.
    Hey Chevy, because your product has gone to crap, were going to change your name to Pragmatic.

    EA ,like Chevy is the company, not Madden..he can relinquish his name anytime he wants to.
    When Madden retired from broadcasting, it was EA who elected to keep his name for obvious reasons. If Madden wants to disassociate his name to it, he can.
    Rayzaa
    EA ,like Chevy is the company, not Madden..he can relinquish his name anytime he wants to.
    When Madden retired from broadcasting, it was EA who elected to keep his name for obvious reasons. If Madden wants to disassociate his name to it, he can.

    Why would he ever want to give up that licensing money?
    ChaseB
    Why would he ever want to give up that licensing money?

    If he doesn't like the way the game has been heading with multiple glitches and issues.
    Same reason he wouldn't lend his name to it til they made it more realistic.
    Maybe he never will since he don't seem to be involved but sounds like he has been asked about it recently.
    I'd just like to see some fire lit under EA's keester
    Rayzaa
    EA ,like Chevy is the company, not Madden..he can relinquish his name anytime he wants to.
    When Madden retired from broadcasting, it was EA who elected to keep his name for obvious reasons. If Madden wants to disassociate his name to it, he can.

    Well, yeah, ok, that's a big if....................
    As Chase mentioned above, not sure why he would.(no need to say the quality of the game, I get it, I just don't see it happening)
    The last I heard I thought they were all flying out to his home in his man cave to on the weekend to consult with him, but that was a few years ago.
    I honestly don't even know if he could take his name off the game anyway. They probably did some sort of licensing deal with him at some point that would lock it in for as long as they want.
    Rayzaa
    If he doesn't like the way the game has been heading with multiple glitches and issues.
    Same reason he wouldn't lend his name to it til they made it more realistic.
    Maybe he never will since he don't seem to be involved but sounds like he has been asked about it recently.
    I'd just like to see some fire lit under EA's keester

    I'm sorry but the thought of 83 year old John Madden being in tune with the intricacies of this game is hilarious.
    MakaveliLPC
    I'm sorry but the thought of 83 year old John Madden being in tune with the intricacies of this game is hilarious.

    So is suggesting because he is 83, he don't care about nothing.
    Rayzaa
    So is suggesting because he is 83, he don't care about nothing.

    Depends, we don't even know his current medical or living conditions are,so, why even speculate or stir things up either way.
    roadman
    Depends, we don't even know his current medical or living conditions are,so, why even speculate or stir things up either way.

    not stirring anything up. I just merely suggested it would be nice if he would remove his name and light a fire under under EA's *** to be better.
    I mean, is it too much for some to fathom?
    Rayzaa
    not stirring anything up. I just merely suggested it would be nice if he would remove his name and light a fire under under EA's *** to be better.
    I mean, is it too much for some to fathom?

    Way too much to fathom and even dream up.
    1. Strong marketing name for 30 plus years, very recognizable name for video game football. Madden Holiday etc...
    2. Madden family still making $ for naming rights.
    I just don't see it happening for quite awhile, so, this is my final post about it because we will never ever agree on this one. Not worth it going back and forth all the time.
    Rayzaa
    not stirring anything up. I just merely suggested it would be nice if he would remove his name and light a fire under under EA's *** to be better.
    I mean, is it too much for some to fathom?

    Yes, very much so.
    Rayzaa
    So is suggesting because he is 83, he don't care about nothing.

    I promise you John Madden does not know about/care about the intricacies of this game. And that is not an indictment on John Madden at all. Just seems like you're trying to project your frustrations about the game on to him which is kind of weird

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