Thursday, September 07, 2006

Top Five Sports Video Game Countdown # 3

I apologize for the lack of posting, (not that anyone was complaining) but I've been swamped with reading since my return to school. I think I read Plessy v. Ferguson for the 1,758th time in my life last night and it still took me forever to get through it all. So tonight I'm going to return to my top five sports video game countdown eschewing all of the big mostly depressing news (Tigers tailspin, Dmitri Young release, pantsless Lions coaches) in favor of something lighter, so on with the countdown.

#3 Madden 2005 (PS2)

Madden is now in its 17th year as a sports video game franchise and is easily the most popular and successful series in the history of video games so picking the best one wasn't easy. I loved the Genesis version most notably for the late hits that would result in
devastating injuries. I remember this one game I was playing against a friend, which also happened to be the computer (I was a very lonely child), and my friend had inserted Deion Sanders into the Falcons offense at a time when he was the fastest player in the game and completely unstoppable. Anyways I'm winning the game late by less then a touchdown, when my friend receives the ball and starts his drive. First play sweep to Deion gain of ten, Deion picks himself of the turf, when out of nowhere Antonio London comes and blindsides him 5 seconds after the whistle. POP!, "oh no there's a man down" Summerall solemnly says as "Neon" Deion lays prostrate by the first down marker, and my friend has to resort to the Erric Pegram, Jeff George, Bert Emanuel triumvirate. Game Over. Anyways the game became increasingly better with each new generation of systems, ranging from Genesis to Nintendo 64 to ultimately the ps2, with which it ultimately peaked with the release of Madden 2005.

The only thing I play on Madden, other then the occasional exhibition matchup against my friend (a real one now), is the Franchise mode, which I stupidly play with the Lions every season. That year the Lions didn't have the best overall rating, because they never do, but they arguably had the most potential at a time when Joey Harrington was still fooling people into thinking he was capable of becoming a competent quarterback, Charles Rogers coming off injury but still highly regarded, Boss Bailey being as fast as most wide receivers, and the addition of first round picks Roy Williams and Kevin Jones. By the third year of my Franchise I had all of the aforementioned guys up to a 99 overall, had shipped Harrington, whom I hated in real life to the point that it pained me to see a digital version of him succeed, to the Falcons for Michael Vick. This was easily the funnest team I had ever assembled and allowed me to shatter every record imaginable. Most sacks in a season, Boss Bailey obliterated Mark Gastineau's record by...... oh about 68 sacks. Single season rushing record broken by week 9. Most receptions in a season, shattered by each of my top three receivers. I plowed through season after season on my Franchise, much to the chagrin of my roommate Mike who didn't even like Madden raising suspicions about whether or not he was actually human. That fall was easily my least productive semester of college, which is coming from a person who played all 256 games of a Tecmo Super Bowl season TWICE my freshman year. Thinking back on it now I 'm not sure I actually went to class once during my four years at State, but I digress. Anyways here's my typical exchange with Mike that year.

Me: (walking in the door) Hey Mike let me play Madden.

Mike: O.k. but let me finish this episode of Becker/King of Queens/Suddenly Susan.

Me: (staring blankly)

Me: (blinking)

Mike: What? Wait......what are you doing....set me down.

Me: (lifting couch off ground and shaking Mike out the window)

Mike: (walking in the door from outside) Fine I'll go to bed because I'm a submissive little girl.

12 hours later.......

Me: Why is that star so bright, whats going on here?

Mike: (emerging from room with blindfold on (he actually wore those) What are you talking about that's the sun you jackass, you were up all night playing Madden again.

Actually there was usually a lot more shrieking over things like whose TV it was, which devolved into a 20 minute wrestling match with the loser being too tired to fight and just going to bed. Anyways I managed to play 17, yes 17, (17!!!!!!) seasons on my franchise that year playing through a whole career of each of the aforementioned guys and making poor Madden announce games into early 90's, which means they were probably keeping him alive with some sort of hyperbolic sleeping chamber. The last two Maddens have been equally good because they've pretty much released the 2005 version with updated rosters and limited new features, which I have no problem with and I'm sure I'll still be playing it 17 years from now.

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