Madden’s popularity remains unmatched

Its staying power is remarkable.

Over the last 15 years its popularity has grown like no other pro football video game in history. It’s known as Madden NFL.

And on August 10 the 15th edition of Madden NFL hit video game stores around the country to the delight millions.

According to Electronic Arts web site, the company that manufactures the video game, Madden NFL 2005 set a new personal record selling more than 1.3 million copies in its first week alone.

And, video games stores here in Tallahassee felt a ripple effect from the large waves Madden NFL 2005 made across the country.

“Over 150 people pre-ordered the game when we let people start pre-ordering the game back in January,” said Robert Lorick, a fourth-year computer information system student from Jacksonville who is a salesman at Electronic Boutique Games in Governor Square Mall.

“For the first week I want to say that 90 percent of the customers coming in here wanted to buy Madden 2005.”

To help accommodate the large crowds EB Games store, which usually opens its doors at 10:30 a.m., opened its store one hour early to a long line of Madden lovers, Lorick said.

Why has this football game become so popular?

Maybe it’s the longevity.

The game has been around for 15 years and it has went through the Sega Genesis and Play Station eras and currently the game is widely popular with the Play Station 2 and Xbox generation.

Or, maybe it’s the high-quality features and incredible graphics that this game produces.

The same kind of eye-popping moves the NFL players dazzle viewers with on Sundays can take place on this game with only the push of a button.

In the 2005 edition, defense is the name of the game with EA Sports placing more emphasis on the defensive side of the ball.

The players of Madden 05 now have the ability to change the momentum of the game with new features like the hit stick and the defensive playmakers control.

The hit stick gives the player an opportunity to deliver the big hit or force a turnover by using the right analog stick.

And, the defensive playmaker control makes it much easier for players to control per-snap assignments, use double teams, and use player-specific match ups to help defend any skilled position player on the opposing team.

Or could it just be the name, Madden, that has peaked video game lovers’ interest for so many years.

Some would agree.

“It’s that Madden name really,” Lorick said. “People have been playing Madden since back in the Genesis days and they keep buying it because it is the premier football game.

People just like that Madden name and that is what keeps bringing them back.”

The video game, which bears the name of Hall of Fame NFL coach and long-time television commentator John Madden, seems to be equally adored here on the FAMU’s campus.

For many students living on campus Madden is viewed as a good source of entertainment.

“I enjoy playing Madden,” said Arien Cannon, 18, a freshman business administration major from Columbia, S.C.

“Madden is entertainment. When you are chilling in your room Madden gives you entertainment to help you get your mind off of school for a couple of hours.”

To that end, competition in those few hours sometimes can become stiff.

“When I play with my friends it gets real serious and every play is so close,” said Orlando McKenzie, 18, a criminal justice student from Miami.

“When you play your friends you don’t want them to get any yards. That is how serious the games are.”

Placing wages on video games isn’t uncommon and around campus friendly wagers are typical.

“Every once in a while I will play for more money,” McKenzie said.

“Me and some of my friends get together and play for money, but I don’t go higher than $15 and that is a big game. I’ve been on the losing side here of late, but it has been pretty cool.”

According to the EA Sports Web site, in its 15-year existence, Madden NFL has sold over 30 million units, the all-time best seller in North America.

One thing is clear, the phenomenon has span over a decade and a half and its popularity continues to grow.

There’s no question that Madden NFL has set the standard for pro football video games for many years to come.

contact Ryan Boyd at