Growing up in the early to mid part of the 1990s, there were not many activities that were more exciting than scrounging up some change, going to the local convenience store and buying a pack of sports cards. Whether it was football, basketball, baseball or even soccer, your card collection was much more than simple childhood hobby -- it was a status symbol, signaling to the neighborhood who the most hardcore sports fan was. There were even preferred card makers that further elevated one's status, as nobody wanted to be the guy stuck with the massive Donruss collection when all of your buddies were showing off their Fleer Ultra collections.
My group of friends took our card collecting a step further than most, picking a sport, a collection of 10 cards for that respective sport and then spending entire afternoons ripping up our parents front yards as we emulated those specific athletes. Trust me, you have not lived as a kid until you have pretended that you are Julio Franco in a game of whiffle ball, correct stance and all.
Naturally, when Madden 10's Ultimate Team mode was announced a few months back, I was extremely excited to relive my childhood nerdiness, this time in video game form. Since I never played the Ultimate Team mode in EA's FIFA series, I really did not know the overall value that the mode would bring to my favorite sports game of 2009. I am more than happy to report that after weeks of nonstop play, I am absolutely loving almost everything about Madden's Ultimate Team.