This news about Aaron Rodgers being in the final eight to make the cover of the new Madden video game upset me. No, it didn’t make me angry because I believe in some silly Madden curse and worry about Rodgers breaking his leg or turning into Mark Sanchez, it angered me because Madden isn’t as fun for me as it used to be. I don’t want the QB for my favorite NFL team as the poster boy for a video game that never really does anything to improve year in and year out besides make roster updates.
Before I get to Packers news and links, allow me to pontificate a bit on this topic:
Maybe it’s because I’m 30 years old and growing out of mashing buttons on a controller, but I need more depth in my video games than what Madden offers. Yes, the bells and whistles of Madden are nice and I still buy it every year, but I always feel empty after playing it. The game looks like football. It sounds like football. It’s supposed to be football. But it doesn’t feel like football.
I want to do more in a football video game than just find a few plays that typically work and try to exploit the game’s artificial intelligence. I need player ratings to actually matter, even ratings for interior offensive linemen and backup linebackers. I need an opponent that realistically reacts to my playcalling, allowing me to set up future play calls or adjust on the fly to my opponent’s new strategy. I need realistic statistics and results, not every game ending 45-41 and defensive ends totaling 30 sacks per season.
To be fair, Madden has gotten better in these areas over the last five years. But it’s nowhere near perfect. Perfection may never be achieved, at least in my jaded eyes, but there are football games that come close, much closer than Madden, anyway.
The top two for my money are Front Office Football and Action PC Football. Before explaining why, I need to warn you that both are text-based simulations. This means there are no fancy HD graphics and theater-quality sound effects that make you feel like you’re in an NFL stadium. No button-mashing is required to complete passes or recover a fumble, either. Yet both games feel much more like football than any version of Madden I’ve played.