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therockstar2005's Blog
State of the Madden Board 
Posted on September 3, 2012 at 04:35 PM.
Any OS vet or lurker (such as yours truly) knows that this is a magical time of the year. The kids head back off to school, the leaves start turning brown, and Madden NFL is released once again to record sales, fantastic reviews, hilarious commercials, and general panning by the “hardcore” sports gaming community. Given the fact that this year’s Madden is incredibly new (like every year), I thought it would be worth it to take a National Geographic-esque look at life on the Madden board, so that the three of you who never venture over can have an insight into what that life is like.

The Oblivious New Guy

Every year, it never fails. A new Madden, a new generation of people who have never used an internet forum before. Even though the Internet has been around for about 20 years now, and forums have existed for at least half of that time in their current incarnation, there are always plenty of folks who have enough web knowhow to create their own account, yet fall just a bit short of utilizing that incredibly well hidden “Search This Forum” button on top of every screen, or ready any other forum post such as “READ THIS BEFORE POSTING” or “MUST READ THIS BEFORE POSTING” or “Madden Question and Answers.”

Life can be tough for these folks. It can be truly intimidating to join an online forum such as OS (see the next two species of forum-goers to know why). It is especially intimidating to look click onto any other link and see if someone else has asked the same question that you are about to, or to wander beyond that intimidating-looking first page of the Madden forum. Really, we should be applauding the courage that new folks demonstrate to ask a question about something that was made readily available to anyone via a Google search three months ago. Why shouldn’t 35 different people be able to ask the same exact question about Connected Careers that is answered in the “Mythbusting” section of the forum? Has Madden teamed up with Mythbusters now? Maybe Adam and Jamie can solve the myth about whether the Madden team actually watches real NFL football or not.

So remember. The next time you see a new person ask what you think is a fairly obvious question and you have a snarky response for them, just wait. Don’t inflate your post count. Don’t “get in before the lock.” Thank them for asking a question that so needs to be asked – the one that everyone asks.

The loyal EA-apologist

This is quickly becoming an endangered species on the Madden boards, as even the most ardent supporter is quickly becoming more jaded and more likely to move into our third camp below (don’t go reading ahead now…). But there is still plenty of space left for the EA-apologist. These fans always support whatever EA brings out, wholeheartedly backing every attempt from the publisher to pull out yet more money from its customer’s wallets, be it Online Passes (“just buy the game new”), Season Pass (“who wouldn’t want to play the game three days before the ‘official’ launch date?”), or Ultimate Team (“I love game modes where I have to spend money beyond the $60 I already spent to win”).

We must be specific when referring to an EA-apologist, however. Just because a player likes the current Madden game does not mean that they are an apologist. This is a very common argument within the Madden board. Someone who enjoys the game, can still be honest about a game’s faults. EA-apologists never see any faults, or never bother to reflect on them much. No fantasy draft in the game? “Who likes a fantasy draft?” Problems with Super Sim? “You’re supposed to play the games.”

It must be admitted, that this is becoming a rarer and rarer breed these days. Filled with thoughts that maybe EA doesn’t consistently produce the best football video game each and every year, the EA-apologist seems to be dying out across the board. This has tended to make what few apologists remain far more aggressive in their convictions, going so far as to bash anyone who would disagree with them. But unless action is taken, it remains to be seen just how long this species continue to exist in the wild.

The loyal EA-basher

Ah, finally, the lifeblood of any Madden forum. Whereas in previous console generations, you could find plenty of apologists along with the bashers, in today’s Madden board you are far more likely to find an EA-basher than an EA-apologist. The unapologetic EA-basher is everywhere. Every forum has 1…ha ha, who am I kidding. Every forum has 10,000 of these intriguing creatures. They can each have unique seasonal patterns; some migrate north to the NCAA board during the spring, while others migrate south to NBA, NHL, and MLB boards, while a truly bitter few remain in their native Madden board home all year long. But rest assured, when the weather gets hot, they all return here, to gather and begin chirping away at yet another year’s worth of work by people who are far more knowledgeable and experienced in creating football video games than they are.

But this is the ingenious trait of this species – no matter how the game actually improves from year to year, no matter what obstacles the basher has to overcome (the increasing cost of development and skill of sports video games; the toil of a 9-month development cycle for the biggest property in the medium; the love and affection of his family and friends….ok, ok, the continual bans he faces from OS), he will remain resolute in his conviction that the continual existence of Madden is yet one more sign of the coming apocalypse. For this species, the worst Madden is every Madden, each one more destitute than the last, and no amount of effort, engaging new features, graphical polish, or “improvements” to anything in the game will convince the basher otherwise. Similarly, no amount of public presence by those who design, test, and market the game will ever convince the basher that Madden is not made somewhere in the taint of Hades itself by the foulest of demons to ever walk the earth. Utilizing a rare form of stubbornness usually reserved for honey badgers and Nickleback fans, the EA-basher always manages to find something wrong with the game, usually even before placing the disk into his Xbox/PS3 (strangely, there are no Wii-exclusive EA-bashers, though this is probably because there is no one who plays the Wii anymore…).

And yet, the truly remarkable accomplishment for the EA-basher is their ability to not only hate the new Madden game, and not even their continual threat to return the game and never to play it again, but their incredible stamina to continue to play the game they cannot stand, and to find more reason to complain about it more, and to continue their hateful journey into the seventh level of Madden-hell. It is this trait which allows them to ignore the most obvious wisdom they often receive:

“If you don’t like the game, don’t buy it.”

For the EA-basher, this is tantamount to insulting their mother, sports team, and chosen deity/mythological creature/favorite deli sandwich in the same breath. It is absolute lunacy to the basher to suggest he simply avoid the thing which he bashes. This rare symbiotic relationship is crucial to the EA-basher – while he hates the Madden game, he must play so that he can continue to hate the Madden game. It is why the basher will persist in buying the new version of Madden, playing it as much as he can, and running back to the forum to complain as much as he can, even though in nearly every other analogous situation in life this would be a concern for mental instability:

“I really don’t like to eat Snickers bars, but I think I’ll down twenty more anyway.”

“I don’t like drunken mobs, and I don’t know anything about soccer, but what the hell, let’s go to the FIFA World Cup. I hear it’s in Germany this year…”

“She has nothing to talk about, she has no personality, and she hates everything that I love in this world, but maybe if we get married I’ll bang my head against a wall so many times that I’ll stop noticing her many, many flaws”

Yet, the basher will endure, believing that, even while the game does not actually improve from year to year, all the improvements to the game are due to his valued feedback. This is, of course, due to the fact that no human being ever strives to do anything better than they currently can unless they are constantly hounded by another person who tells them how awful they are day and night. And thus, the EA-basher is able to sleep at night, knowing that all he wants is what everyone wants – a perfect simulation of football that requires no physical attributes, little football knowledge, completely perfect real-world graphics, physics, and announcing, and an engaging franchise mode that will allow him to return Cleveland to its glory days, all so that he can then tear the game apart for not having the right color on the second stripe on his fifth-favorite team’s left sock.

And be sure to join us next time, when we cover the elusive “A**hole who loves to laugh at the state of the Madden board.”
# 1 bigdoc85 @ Sep 3
Good stuff! You are a very creative writer.
# 2 therockstar2005 @ Sep 7
Thanks bigdoc! Appreciate it.
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