2010 – Madden NFL 11

Madden NFL 11


Developer(s) EA Tiburon, EA Canada
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Series Madden NFL
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox 360, iOS, PlayStation Portable, Android
Release date(s) August 13, 2010
Genre(s) American football simulation
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

Liam:   Pad up fat men. It’s time for gridiron. Blue 42, Blue 42, hut, hut, hike!

American Football is a series of advertisements for fast food, terrible cars and erection medication all leading up to the Super Bowl which is a really important set of advertisements for fast food, terrible cars and erection medication; also occasionally featuring Janet Jackson’s nipple. At points during this onslaught of consumerism, two teams of heavily armoured fat guys are directed head first into each other by two blue eyed American heroes called quarterbacks. There are also cheerleaders and massive hot dogs.

Now that the intricate explanation of the sport has finished I can go onto explaining the game. It’s pretty much the same… but instead of adverts every 30 seconds, Microsoft Visio diagrams appears and ask you to make totally meaningless choices between throwing it a short distance to a guy who then collapses on the floor or throwing it a long distance to a guy that then collapses on the floor. You can kick as well but this involves taking off one of your big burly Americans and bringing on a tiny European guy, who has never fully recovered from being rejected by the Lazio youth team – why the hell would you do that?

As you can probably tell, I don’t know much about American football – although I have to admit I find it fascinating. The game we are playing Madden 11, has all the good bits of American Football (you know, the actual game without the adverts) and even has a handy mechanism for skipping the endless tactical decisions that make games like this entirely unplayable for the uninitiated. As we didn’t get a chance to play Jonah Lomu Rugby (if it was up to me we would be playing that instead of Goldeneye) I really wanted to get a contact sport in and when it comes down to utterly over the top hits and hijinks, American Football is good value for entertainment so much in fact that I am actually going to my first American Football game this Autumn (or should that be Fall). Madden is the premier American Football franchise and is named after ex-commentator John Madden who as far as I can tell is the Andy Grey of American Football without the rampant sexism.

The main reason this game is on the list is that despite really only being played in a single country, this game franchise has managed to rack up over 100 million sales. That’s pretty impressive in anyone’s book if you consider that is only a few million less than the FIFA series which represents a sport played worldwide. Due to its massive sales it has a huge amount of resources thrown at it by EA meaning that the end game is a highly polished and fluid affair. There are only a few sporting series that are in this top tier of games, dominated by repeatedly high sales and yearly releases and we are lucky enough to see two in this challenge. Sadly we couldn’t find a space for the third – the Tiger Wood’s golf series.

I know Joel is going to be terrible at this. He lacks any sort of sporting mind set and I believe when he was doing his testing phase he was getting his ass kicked by his little boy. Great news for me as this should be a perfect opportunity to crush his already waning spirit as well as throw in some hilarious puns about tight ends, huge sacks and penetration. That’s right, beating Joel, contact sports and terrible dirty jokes after being awake for 27 hours straight… I can’t wait.

Joel:  We’re getting so close to the end now, I can almost smell it. I think in some weird way, I’m actually going to miss writing these things… The only drawback of them is that every now and again I have to try and write about a game I’ve never really played. Aside from testing this (where, as Liam rightly points out, I got my ass handed to me by a nine-year-old) the only American football game I’ve ever played was on the Atari Lynx. A little research leads me to the conclusion that it was the originally titled “NFL Football” going by screenshots on the intertubes. I was pretty rubbish at it too, but I seem to remember it being pretty good fun. Though it seems at least one reviewer disagrees with me:


It doesn’t help if football games on other portable game systems are no more sophisticated than NFL FOOTBALL. The bottom line is that this game is a futile exercise in boredom, and is certainly not fun to play nor worth the price asked for it.


Interestingly, this is how I usually feel when I try, most years, to watch the Advertbowl. For a game with a scheduled playtime of 60 minutes, you can watch in amazement as this stretches into four hours or beyond. All the while not having a clue what’s going on. Which is a shame, because, I think it would probably be pretty good otherwise.

Anyway. What to say about this one? It’s a massive franchise, probably propping up the US-side of EA all by itself, having released a game every year since 1990. In fact, in researching that last statement, I’ve just learned that Trip Hawkins actually founded EA games just so he could start work on a predecessor to the line. So there you go, it not only props up EA, but is, in fact, its raison d’etre. Well you learn something every day.

The more astute among you are probably beginning to notice I’m doing everything I can to avoid talking about the actual game – You’re right. I’ll stop wasting your time now. I know nothing. I don’t stand a chance here. I might just take a nap. No not really, that would be cheating, but I’d probably do better.


1993 – FIFA International Soccer

FIFA International Soccer

Developer(s) EA Sports
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Cover Star David Platt
Series Fifa
Platform(s) PC, Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, Mega-CD (As “FIFA International Soccer Championship Edition”), Game Gear, SNES, DOS, Amiga, 3DO, Game Boy, PlayStation 2 (on FIFA 06)
Release date(s) 15 July 1993
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously
Media/distribution ROM, cartridge, Compact Cassette, floppy disk

Liam: I fought tooth and nail to get this onto the list as Fifa is one of the biggest video game franchises in the world. The original Fifa has on its cover David Platt, McDonalds advertiser and occasional England football player. Readers of a certain age will remember the line ‘You mean to tell me that you signed David Platt for a Big Mac and a Filet o’ fish?’. Ironically a Big Mac and a Filet o’ fish would have been more expensive than the price I paid picking up this beauty of a game.

I freaking love Fifa (there was a brief period of time when PES was far better but the circle has most definitely swung back to Fifa). It’s the atypical ‘lads get together over a few beers’ game and I have clocked up a countless amount of hours over the years playing the various iterations of Fifa on every nearly console I have ever owned. The main reason I love fifa is that I am a rugby player, a front row forward at that, and I play football with the level of grace and skill you would imagine for a front row forward. However, when I play Fifa I am a beautiful proponent of Total Football – skilful, fluid and creative. I am a freaking joy to watch. Not sure how that is going to work with the older version of the game… I haven’t played it since it was the incumbent version and quite a bit has changed since then. I currently own Fifa13 on the PC (PC gamer supremacy) which I can output to the TV when I have guests or play on the laptop screen if the missus is watching the telly.

Joel isn’t really a football fan, evident by his support of Nottingham Forest. Playing the first Fifa should level the playing field considerably compared to playing a newer version – which Joel’s 9 year old son would put up a much better fight (actually he is pretty good!). Thankfully for Joel this will be past his bedtime so he won’t have to witness his dad being utterly humiliated (again)!

Joel:  Roight… Here goes…

This, for me, is a very difficult review to write. It’s causing me a fair degree of internal conflict, as the following wordage will no doubt demonstrate.

One simply cannot deny that this was the beginnings of what has turned out to be one of the most significant gaming franchises of current times – and with good reason too. This game launched when I (and, it would appear, a fair number of our audience) were at an age when there was little more in life than “footie” and video games. My current day feelings about the sport aside, this was massive to me at the time. Before too long, I had figured out all the moves, the weird physics bugs and the spot to shoot from to be almost guaranteed to score. I remember playing against Qatar over and over and over again trying to get higher and higher scores – the best I ever did was somewhere in the high thirties to nil I think. If memory serves, this might also be the game where you can actually run away from the ref when he issues you a card, preventing said issuance until he caught up with you. When Liam sends it over to me for testing, it’ll be interesting to see how I get on. (Don’t worry Liam, I’ll only play a couple of games, just to make sure it’s working!!) But what this game did in real terms was begin to change the very concepts of video gaming from being the reserve of sandal wearing, myopic, social outcasts to something that everyone did – Over the years I’ve known a few “gamers” whose entire library has been built of 5 consecutive releases of FIFA and one edition of International Superstar Soccer they tried but didn’t like because they didn’t have the rights to use real player likenesses and names. That was probably the case for the person who sold me a SNES with 13 games, 8 of which were football! Presumably it’s their copies of last year’s FIFA you see at your local game store for 49p – one of the worst value retentions I’ve ever seen.

On the other hand, I gave up on football a long time ago. I’m not getting into the whys and wherefores here, but it’s fair to say I have zero interest in it. As such, I haven’t played a football game in anger since FIFA 98 RTWC for the PC, of all platforms. I’m going to struggle with this one – I predict a humiliating drubbing from Liam. We’ll be ten hours in by this point too, tempers will be frayed and thumbs beginning to ache.. There’s a good chance this is the first time when Rachael will have to break out her umpire shirt.

SNES Games Charity Auctions!

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) Eur...

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) European version. Photo by User:Sandos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charity Auction o’clock!

Right then folks – As you’ll no doubt have been keeping a close eye on our updates, you’ll obviously have already seen my post with the SNES in? Obviously. Well, in case you missed it, it came with a load of games. Most of them are football – Got the original FIFA international Soccer in there! Anyway, I’ve decided to put some of them up on a certain auction site. Any profits made from these sales will be promptly handed over to Child’s Play. Can’t say fairer than that, can I? So, click the link, check the list and dig deep!http://goo.gl/pxJI3

-Even if you don’t bid, take a look at the Virtual Soccer listing to see the original Woolies till receipt from 1994! That alone has to be worth something, right?