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How Madden made me a football fan.

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How Madden made me a football fan. Empty How Madden made me a football fan.

Post by DarthObvious on Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:55 am

Confession time, I used to dislike sports. I saw no point in watching them on TV, thought they were boring, etc, etc, etc. John Madden Football changed all of that. Here is my story.

I was born, and have always lived, in Green Bay, WI, literally only 4 blocks away from Lambeau Field. you would think this automatically made me a Packer fan, and you would be right. This doesn't mean that I always actually cared to watch them. My dad is a HUGE sports fanatic, he had season tickets to the UWGB Men's Basketball team for as long as I can remember, and worked for the Packers as a gate keeper since he was a teenager until shortly after the renovations in 2003. Both my godparents own Packers season tickets. You would think that this would be the perfect pedigree of a little Packers fan, but it wasn't. Although apparently I really liked basketball when I was little, this all changed the first time I played Super Mario Bros. From then on I became the stereotypical late 80's early 90's video game nerd, and I almost could have cared less about sports. I liked when the Packers won, but I had no clue how football worked, and didn't particularly care to find out how. My godfather took or gave me tickets to Packers games when I was little, and I liked going, but really had no clue what was going. My dad would still take me to basketball games, but I spent more time in the concession area playing arcade games.

I think my mom tried to use my love of video games as a way of introducing sports to me. I can remember renting all sorts of sports games for the NES, the only one I can remember by name is John Elway's Quarterback. There are only two games from this time period I remember actually enjoying. Ken Griffey Jr. and NBA Jam on the SNES. Still didn't teach me much about the respective sports, and I still could have cared less, they were video games, I was playing video games.

My memories of the Packers winning Super Bowl XXXI are as follows.

-The TV station (that I now work for, coincidentally) breaking into Power Rangers to cover Brett Favre announcing his Vicodin addiction.
-My mom having me and my brother wear Brett Favre jerseys for our school pictures that year.
-Brett Favre giving me a hot dog on "Packers serve you lunch day" at school (I swear I'm not trying to make these all about Favre)
-Playing Super Nintendo in another room at a Super Bowl party
-Getting to wear Packers clothes instead of our school uniforms for about a week

Pretty sad, I know. I do seem to remember watching a good chunk of Super Bowl XXXII, but I couldn't tell you why.

Madden changed all of this, but it took time. When the Packers were THE TEAM in the late 90's, I remember choosing to rent Madden 96 or 95. It was actually going to be fun to play as the Packers. Thing is, Madden at the time was really dependent on you actually understanding football, and did little in the way of giving you any sort of option to learn football. So while I had a general idea of what to do, I didn't understand why the ball was "randomly" being given to the other team after 4 plays, or any other basic football knowledge. Apparently I still wanted to learn, and as Madden games got better, I actually began to learn football, and in turn, started watching it. I still hated the idea of Madden though, I was completely in the "yearly roster update" mindset. (To be fair, I feel this was a much better criticism at the time, but also, due to the lack of the internet, also more excusable)

I think things really started to turn around for me when I got to high school and started going to school football games. This didn't happen until Sophomore year, sadly, but going to those games were some of the most fun I had in high school, and I did not miss a home or cross-town away game for those three years. At the same time, I would almost always rush home after the game and play Madden, although it was always rented or an old game (Madden 2000 on the PC lasted me quite a few years if I remember right)

By the time I left for college, I finally understood the game, but it wasn't until college that I actually started to watch the Packers regularly. Also, moving into the dorms introduced me to a whole other side of Madden, as it was the competitive game of choice for a good chunk of the first semester. I was actually considered one of the elite Madden players in the dorms, and I always bragged that I did this even though I "knew the least about football". It was at this point I stopped caring about Madden being a yearly roster update. I've owned a copy of every Madden game since 2004 in some way or another, and it's been a release day (or near release day) purchase since (Madden) 2008.

I realized in typing this that Madden isn't the only thing that did it, and that high school football also played a big role, but I still wouldn't have learned the game without Madden. It has taken time, but this has also extended to other sports, as I've learned both baseball and soccer from playing the respective games over the years. I've followed the Brewers closely for a couple years now, and watched a good chunk of the World Cup last year. In fact, it's gotten to the point where I play sports games over "traditional games" which I sometimes feel bad about, not because I feel like I shouldn't enjoy sports game, but for the large pile of shame I've built up.

I also want to give a shout out to some of my favorite non-Madden games that also helped in this process.

-All-Star Baseball (N64)
-NFL Gameday Series (I felt it was better than Madden for a couple of years)
-International Superstar Soccer (N64) (first soccer game I ever played, and actually got me into soccer games)

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Post by Huhnerficker on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:12 pm

Dude I love it. I have always loved participating and watching athletics. I have learned so much about them though through games. Front Page Sports: Football and Baseball were mainstays throughout my childhood. We had a 12 person FPS:BB league that ran for so long the computer would crash trying to keep track of all the numbers. In the case of a game jump starting my interest in something that game would be Sword of the Samurai back in the day. It came with Pirates!(which led me to that study also) and made me interested in feudal Japan. I try to explain this to my friends who have younger kids who are starting to game. I explain not every game is just about action and mindless.

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