Madden Community – We Have a Problem

Over the last 10 years (Holy Sh*t!, a decade!?) I have posted articles regarding Madden Connected Careers, Franchise Mode, Etc.. I have been critical and somewhat verbose with a little bit of my over the top (or off the top rope, if you will) – schtick.

More recently, I have noticed the toxicity of the Madden community on Reddit and Youtube in particular has become worse than the game they love (to hate). There are times I have posted on Twitter and on this site my level of disgust with the lack of attention to Franchise Mode since Madden 2005 – 07. As much as I feel like the current status (pre-scouting update) of Franchise Mode is indeed – the same as last year, I also believe that we need to do a few things as a community and then make demands as consumers for the mode that gets little attention.

Being an A-Hole Gets You Nothing

When was the last time you changed a behavior because someone was a jerk about it? If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of getting yelled at or called names you might remember some of the effects later on in life. The first thing you realize is that the desired outcome wasn’t achieved by the yeller. The next aspects are what resulted going forward.

  • You avoided future encounters with the person
  • You ignored what they said if you couldn’t avoid them
  • You found them to lack credibility
  • You resented them and would tell others what to expect from your experience

The YouTube channels, Twitter and Reddit threads out there that claim to want a better game are filled with nothing but awful comments. Some are quite offensive in their lack of originality, lethargic profanity, and most especially – in their weak-ass grammar. If you are going to complain and want someone to actually pay attention you need to use tact and give someone a reason to believe you. Obviously, this is slightly tongue in (maybe through) cheek – but, hopefully you get the drift.

YouTube Football Experts Are Actually Click Bait Wastes of Time

Yes, I have a YouTube channel. No, I don’t post many videos anymore. Why? Here are a few reasons why I don’t post Madden critique videos anymore. There are also a few things

1 – They don’t matter, EA doesn’t have a position that watches YouTube channels that want to ‘fix’ the game. Most people that watch the videos do so because they noticed a bug or a broken quirk in the game that ruined immersion. It’s a sports game with 22 characters that have to react to numerous changes in code presentation in a high resolution digital environment – and quite honestly, most of you don’t know the first thing about how to program any of it.

2 – The videos you see posted almost daily from some of the channels that aren’t the Ultimate Cringe Pack Openers of Ultimate Team are from those that are sick of the lack of attention to Franchise Mode and/or Gameplay. If social media and the last few years of political/social/Covid turmoil have taught us anything it is that OUTRAGE SELLS! All it takes is one stupid headline to grab your attention and you are falling into the rabbit hole of youtube videos that give money to these ‘content creators’ for doing nothing but triggering you.

3 – I also stopped sharing videos with bugs because there are already a ton of them out there. I see no reason to further pollute the internet with old news. Do I have a problem with some of the legacy issues we see in the videos I used to share? Sure. Honestly, I am tired about complaining about something that either won’t or can’t be fixed. Recently on NoobTubeTV.com I have even posted articles that in retrospect probably helped nothing change for the better – so I will take my own ‘L’ there.

Twitter Wars Are Lame

I try my best to keep my Tweets somewhat clean and mostly respectful. Sometimes, I lose my patience and hit the Tweet button when I should delete instead. That said, some of you out there have a serious problem when it comes to your level of toxicity and disrespect. You add nothing to the community. You lose all credibility you think you had. You basically sound like an ass hat and make every point I am trying to get across in this article for me. Sharing videos of angry Madden players or bugs in a game seems to get some people the attention they want. In some cases, it brings clicks and money their way. I block more people than I follow and my experience is still 2 out of 5 stars on Twitter.

In closing – I am done arguing with people on any digital format. I am done with all of the negativity being used as click bait. Let’s make our community better together.

Madden 22 Franchise Mode Guide, Tips, Notes, and New House Rules

As promised, I had some time to play through most of the first season in Franchise Mode. I simmed the last few weeks and played some moments in the divisional round. My Browns lost to Tampa 38-20 in the Super Bowl. Here are a few things I noticed and of which I would like to bring everyone up to speed.

Fatigue Matters!

The Season Fatigue Bar for each player is buried in the player card under ‘Health’. I think this should be more readily available in the lineup section with a simple color dot on the player card.

As I played through every snap of from week one through fourteen I noticed a couple instances where some players (Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry and OBJ) were all magically removed from the field and I couldn’t do anything to bring them back. Due to a few things being difficult to find in the Weekly Strategy section I totally forgot that there was a way to adjust practice methods from intensity (full vs. half pads) and which players were the focus of the training (Starters, Backups or split). In order to change these you have to manually go to the Cross Symbol (ON EACH PREP PAGE!!!! The first will be defense and the second will be offense). From there, you will want to change it as you see fit. As I wait for the next update to come out with a better scouting system I have already decided that my global settings for this will be Split/Half Pads for the first 8 weeks and then Backups/Half Pads for the last 10 weeks. I choose this for now because backups need the XP far more than the starters will as they will earn it in game. I will also never make my team practice during the Bye Week as it doesn’t seem to be worth the risk of injury or fatigue (you do you on that end).

Staff Points Might Need to be Turned Down

By the end of the first season I was able to max out the Personnel Department Trade Section (and make progress on some coaches as well). I think it was a little too easy.

I absolutely love the new coaching trees and overall effort to bring Coordinators into the game (even in simple ways like this flashback to NCAA 14). However, before the season starts you might want to slow down the XP growth for staff as it might build too fast if you are performing at a high level all season. I was able to max out the trade upgrade tree before the first offseason. This gave me the ability to fleece teams for draft picks and such with even more ease than before. The trading has been tuned somewhat (from the later update in Madden 21), but there is more to be desired on this end in my opinion.

Here are a couple of trades I made that weren’t AWFUL, but they weren’t great in terms of fairness (IMO, as always).

Coaching Carousel/Staff Moves Has Some Bugs

After the first season, the Seahawks fired their staff. Pete Carroll was looking for a job, and apparently he was so sought-after that two teams hired him. This is simply a bug that I hope will be ironed out before the big scouting patch, but it’s worth mentioning and showing you nonetheless.

Auto-Sub with Season Fatigue Could Be Tougher To Tune Than Sliders

As mentioned at the beginning, I love the idea of season fatigue as a concept. Once it is better understood and tuned by the community I think we will have some of the best depth in player development that we’ve had in Madden. As it stands, I have found that my old Auto-Sub sliders won’t perform well in 22. I will be tuning all Sub In and Sub Out to be lower (I may even start with default 80-60 in the coming weeks before the patch, just to test it out). Be on the lookout for other people to release their own ideas as well. The more input we have, the better.

All Madden vs All Pro

All Madden cheats and All Pro is tough-ish (not really) for the first 1.5 quarters (sometimes). This leaves me with a situation I have to get used to again and that is not switching players on Defense (ever). The second change I have to make is not user catching passes with WRs. The second issue is something I have serious issues with as it feels like WRs sometimes simply don’t make the slightest attempt to catch the damn ball – especially on deep routes!

The running game is still too easy, but I think it feels the best it ever has. We need to make some changes to User Run Blocking (down) and CPU Tackling (up) and the opposite the other way around.

The passing game isn’t bad from the user perspective, close to default for user passing feels good and CPU INTs will punish you if you’re sloppy. However, CPU Robo QB is alive and well at default. This will need to be tuned with User Pass Rush, Pass Coverage and INTs – CPU Pass Blocking needs bumped slightly (maybe 55 or 60?).

Backup CPU QBs – Oooof…. In a Good Way (I think?)

So, I injured Lamar Jackson in the first game we had against the Ravens (ruptured disk – 6 weeks! W00T!). In comes Tyler Huntley and good lord was it a different feel. He turned the ball over 6 times (2 picks and 4 fumbles – should have been 5, but his LG recovered). Suffice to say, poorly rated QBs will play – poorly most of the time. Robo QB is still a factor, but wow – they are lacking in the ball security department.

Be on the lookout for live streams on Twitch www.twitch.tv/noobtubetv and new videos that will be uploaded to the Youtube Channel www.youtube.com/officialnoobtubetv. Give me a follow over on Twitter twitter.com/NoobTubeTV as well if you want to see and read more of my snarky irreverent quips and gifs.

Let me know what kind of settings you are finding success with in the comments or on the platforms listed above. Happy Gaming and GO BROWNS!

Madden 22 – Franchise House Rules

This is a new year with an update coming to Scouting in September (allegedly). Here are my new rules going forward for Madden 22 Franchise Mode.

Draft Picks – Some of these will be different as I try to make it feel more like what transpires in real life.

  • Trading Down – You can trade down once in the first two rounds and three times total.
  • ScoutingNEW – You can now scout the first block and leave it as I believe many teams and scouts will hear something about a player and all it can take is one glance to say ‘Okay, nevermind.’
  • Big BoardNEW – You must draft according to your big board within the Top 10 Picks.
  • Sleeper Rule – You can choose any player up to one round before their projected position.  This will keep you honest and give the CPU a chance to take these sleepers before you get the chance.
  • Draft Pick Limitations – NEW – You can only hold a limited amount of picks in each draft.  The rules for your draft pick amounts are somewhat complicated, but they will make for a better experience.
    • Maximum of 10 picks in any draft
    • You can have two first round picks for up to two years in a row
    • If you end up with three first round picks during any draft you must trade one of them to a division opponent for their lowest pick in the next season’s draft.
    • You cannot draft two QBs in two consecutive rounds
    • You cannot draft more than two QBs, HBs, or TEs in any draft

Free Agency and Re-Signing –

  • You can only sign one 90+ OVR free agent player per season
  • You can sign one player outside of each of your schemes during free agency bidding (1 on Offense, 1 on Defense).
  • You can make ONE offer to any player on your team with 90+ OVR during the re-signing period while in regular season.  If they turn down your offer they must be allowed to test free agency – the rule above still applies.
  • QB Specific – If you have two QBs with 80+ OVR you must allow one of them to test free agency when their contract expires.  If both are on expiring deals you must choose one to attempt to re-sign.  This will allow CPU teams to have access to quality QBs and drive realism.

Staff Points – NEW

Each upgrade you purchase must rotate between each section (Coach, Off Coord, Def Coord, and Personnel). This means you can’t throw all of your points into making trades easier and you can’t put them all into your Head Coach either. Spread them out and it will add depth to your experience.

Trading NEW – During the pre-season you are permitted to make a maximum of four trades (one per week).  Two trades can involve acquiring draft picks.  Two more trades can be made that are player for player.  Any player you acquire must have a lower OVR than what you are giving up OR if they are a greater OVR they must be over 30 years old.

  • In addition, if the CPU declines a trade offer you can make one more counter-offer. If that offer is declined you cannot offer them another trade that season.

GAMEPLAY HOUSE RULES

  • Play Calling – You must pick a play from as many formations as possible during each game.  I recommend choosing a new formation for every play or every other play. This will add a tremendous amount of depth to your experience and how you play each game.
  • Hot Routes – You can use one hot route per series.
  • Money Plays – If you find a play that works often enough against the CPU that it becomes a go to play, you must either remove it from your playbook or stop using it immediately. (looking at you Slant/Drag abusers!)
  • Running Up The Score – If you are up by 21+ points in the fourth quarter you must switch to Chew Clock and choose a running play while rotating new HBs as well as a new QB in the final two minutes.
  • Passing No Switch – Do not user control a WR until after the catch has been made. This will add realism, challenge, and more animations! 
  • No Huddle – This can be used only on the first drive of the game and during the final two minutes of either half.  It cannot be used to keep other personnel on the field outside of the situations above.
  • 4th Down – You can go for it if you are losing the in the fourth quarter or if there are fewer than five seconds left in the half and you are within 55 yards of the endzone.

Madden 22 – Franchise Mode House Rules and Thoughts for This Season

It’s that time of year again. While there have supposedly been a litany of improvements made to Franchise Mode there will most assuredly be some things we will have to self-police when it comes to our own conduct in the little imaginary worlds we create in Madden 22.

The big part that is missing for now and will be added later is regarding the supposed update we should get for Scouting in September. This update will require a complete restart of your Franchise in order to implement the changes. This is why I plan on using the first month of gameplay to basically play-test and tear down the CPU logic for a couple seasons of simulation/active playing, etc. For those of you that plan on jumping in without waiting for the update here are the house rules I have played with since Madden 18.

My new thoughts on where I see my playstyle going in Madden 22 involve the possibility of running two Franchise Modes as I am a Browns fan and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of challenge building up my favorite team these days. With the Browns I will most likely make that my casual mode. This year, I am pondering a few low rated teams to build up after the mode update is implemented.

My personal feelings are that football is not meant to be played in a dome, so it’s difficult to pick dome teams from the start. There are some teams that are so dysfunctional and downright bad that it’s tempting to try out anyway.

1 – New York Jets

– Easily the worst team in the game with an Overall of 72. They have a rookie QB and a few pieces that could be fun to run with, but it is easily a team that you can also build as you see fit.

2 – Detroit Lions – The perennial suckfest that is Detroit has a coach in Dan Campbell that I can’t help but see as a WWE guy disguised as a football coach, he cracks me up and I think it would be fun to start a fictional dialogue with him in a franchise mode. They have Jared Goff and an extra First Round Pick in 2022 and 2023! It’s hard to think of a more fun experience to start a franchise mode – other than that damn home dome!

3 – Houston Texans – When I said dysfunctional I have a feeling everyone thought of the Texans first and maybe the Jets or Bengals as well. The Texans are a dumpster fire of hot Houston trash. Deshaun Watson is amazingly still on this team and could be easily traded in Madden before the roster update that eventually removes him completely or a real life trade sends him elsewhere (looking at the Patriots or Dolphins). If you want a team you can build a fun story around and move Watson for a trove of picks – this is your team.

4 – Chicago Bears – This is my second favorite team in the NFL. I love their stadium, I love their fanbase and the history of this team is as great as the Browns. You have Justin Fields and a few great pieces to bring this team to the next level. The Bears are my dark horse to challenge for a surprise trip to the Super Bowl this year. I can’t help it, I just love the idea of playing with an NFC North team in the snow in December/January – it’s awesome.

Are you ready for some football?

Don’t Be That Guy – Blackout Etiquette

Yes. Before you question one of my earlier articles on whether there is a ‘right way’ to play Blackout – I do realize that this might seem hypocritical. I promise you – it isn’t.

I stand by my belief that there is no right or wrong way to play Solo battle royale – do your thing, by all means. Camp your heart out or run through the world like Rambo – the world is yours Mr. Montana.

However, one thing needs to be covered right now and it will help make you a better teammate on all other modes of Blackout that aren’t Solo. First and foremost, you need to remember you are part of a team. Here are some tips for any of you that are either new to Blackout or want to have a better overall experience. This is especially important for those of you that join random teams in Quads or Duos.

Be Nice When You Jump Into The Game

There isn’t anything more annoying to a team than having one teammate come in talking smack or being rude. Blackout Quads and Duos is a great way to make new gaming friends and you should look at every match as an opportunity for this to happen. When you load up and arrive in the deployment screen give your team a friendly shoutout and ask where they’d like to drop. Something as simple as “Hey guys, how’s it going?” is one hell of a nice ice breaker. Keep in mind, you will depend on these teammates to pick you up if you get injured during the match – so, be cool to start and they will be more willing to run into the fight for you.

Keep Your Background Noise Down

We get it, you love your trap music and your children. Sometimes we can tell that they are in the same room and they are both cranked up to 11. Do everyone a favor and turn off your mic – it is just too difficult to mute individuals in Blackout and hearing your music or daily banter is the last thing any of your teammates want or need in their ears.

Death Stash Goes To The Guy With The Kill

The ultimate disrespect to your teammates is raiding the death stash of the opponent they killed without their go-ahead. While I think most of us have committed this cardinal sin – it is something I feel needs to be talked about. This is especially true if a teammate comes to your aid and takes out an opponent that has you pinned down. If you manage to run away from the fight and your teammate pulls off the clutch kill for you make sure you ask if they want something in particular out of the bag – especially level three armor.

You will find that more often than not your teammate will tell you to go ahead and take a look. However, if this happens at the beginning of a match it is better for you to let them have first dibs. They are just as thin on ammo, weapons, and equipment as you – maybe even worse off than you. So, do everyone a favor and just ask before you go and raid a bag from the kill of a teammate. There is nothing more dickish than running away from a fight and letting your team do all the work only for you to run back after the fray to vulture all the goods. So, if you want it broken down to be that simple – don’t be a dick. Oh, and also – if you do that to someone that finds it to be insulting – don’t be shocked if they team kill you for the sake of righteousness.

Don’t Hoard Trauma Kits, Sensor Darts, Barricades, Attachments

One thing a lot of noobs don’t realize is that one player can only deploy one Sensor Dart or Barricade at a time. So, having three of each in your inventory won’t help your team as much as each person having one of each towards the end of a game. If you can strategically distribute and use these pieces of equipment your team will be in great position to win.

In the same breath, please don’t take all the Trauma Kits and hold them while your teammates are looking for health throughout the map. A team with 200 HP across the board is far better off than 150 or less for three teammates and you with 200 and four Trauma Kits. Seriously, offer these to your teammates – they will return the favor in the future.

Go ahead and pick up all the attachments you need for your weapons. However, if you have a few pieces in your inventory that you have no use for give them to a teammate or drop them. You are literally wasting space if you hold onto attachments you don’t plan on using. Let those things go and grab all the grenades and throwables – that’s where the winning happens.

Tell Your Team Where You’re Going

If you haven’t found any loot to start a match and you go away from your team to explore another building, etc. Do the decent thing and just tell them ‘Hey, I need to check this place out. I have no health and no gun.’. Also, if someone else is in this situation, make it a point to go with them if they are empty handed – be a good teammate, ya know?

Call Out Locations of Enemies

Keep in mind that the number locator is great for pointing out an enemy if you are right next to your team. The flipside is that it might not be the same if you are separated from your team. Use the North, South, East and West function as well as calling out the place you see enemies.

“They are over here!” is no way to get anyone to help you out.

“They are on my right side, up the hill, behind the rock.” is a much better callout.

As you play Blackout more often you will learn the sounds and firing rates of certain weapons. If you can figure that out it will help your team even more. Don’t be afraid of calling out an enemy if you hear them as well – that is a life saver for your team in close quarters.

Madden NFL Is The Perfect Simulation of NFL Officiating

After watching the lowlights of Championship Weekend in the NFL just a few days ago I realized that we have been neglecting proper credit for the programming of the officials in Madden NFL. One thing can be said when you take a look at the penalty sliders in Madden – they are right on the money.

As someone that hasn’t booted up and played through a full game of our only NFL football option on console or PC in over a month I felt almost nostalgic for it when that helmet to helmet epic pass interference penalty wasn’t called or reviewed. It was like playing a big game in Madden (as big as those can feel, I guess) and having your own player get throttled in the same way. If you really want to see broken pass interference you should look at it on the offensive side of the ball – oh boy, that is some good simulation football right there.

Madden has been trying desperately to push their marketing through Twitter with all sorts of shout-outs and retweets of all things Madden. This includes NFL WR, Torrey Smith scoring 100+ points on his kid. Sure, we have probably all scored over 100 in Madden at some point on rookie. Sure, this is all in good fun and I don’t begrudge someone for playing the game however the hell they want to. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Madden is not improving or playing in the way it would be if it had competition – yes, it always comes back to that.

The officials in the NFL have been exceptionally bad this year. So bad in fact, that I think many fans have decided to stop watching NFL football in general. This was actually the first year in some time that I didn’t sit down and watch most of the playoff games. I don’t know how interested I will be in the Super Bowl as it is once again another appearance by Tom Brady playing against a team that seemingly was in the plans for the Super Bowl before the NFC Championship took place.

I’m not saying the NFL is fixed. I am saying the NFL IS FIXED. The same can almost be said for Madden in that MADDEN NEEDS FIXED.

Flag on the play! Too many complaints on the webpage.

Well, I guess I saw that coming.

She Got Game – Where The Hell Are The Female Pro Gamers?

Raise your hand if you have heard of Lisa Lane.

For those of you that raised your hand thinking that I meant to type Lois Lane – you can put your hand down and rest assured that I meant Lisa.

Lisa Lane is now 80 years old and she is better than you at chess.

Lisa Lane was also a mystery to me up until yesterday when I picked up a copy of Sports Illustrated while I was at my local gym trying to fight off the symptoms of my mid-30’s. Ms. Lane was among the top chess players in the world back in the 1960’s. Not only was she among the best in the world, she was the first chess player to make the cover of SI – yes, before Bobby Fischer. While still at the top of her game she quit playing chess competitively in the late 1960’s. Among the reasons she stopped playing and left public life was the fact that women were in a similar position that they are still in today – being paid less for equal work. Read the article on Ms. Lane, here.

The subject of equal opportunity and equal pay for women is still a major issue almost 60 years later. The evidence is damning and it should piss you off when you see it. Another article came out on January 3 talking about the pay for Washington Wizards Assistant Coach, Kristi Toliver who is also a player in the WNBA for the Washington Mystics (WNBA players make next to nothing when compared to NBA players).  Keep in mind that NBA Assistant Coaches make $100k+ annually as you continue reading.

Coach Toliver in action

Ms. Toliver makes $10,000 a year as an assistant with the Wizards. That isn’t a typo either. For more on this situation, check out the article here.

The ugly reality of women being mistreated and cheated out of jobs and equal pay as well as their rightful place among their peers is glaring and this is possibly most true in the gaming community. I am among the many that would fail if challenged to name one non-male professional gamer for any video game or platform. Go one more step if you will and find one that doesn’t use sex appeal to further their brand. That list you were making from a google search just went back down to zero.

Most gamers out there can name a few of the big names (Shroud, Ninja, Fatal1ty, etc.). It has struck me on many levels how dire the situation is when it comes to non-males in every other avenue of career. Take the US military stance on women in combat and ask yourself if you really think it’s a good idea to tell over half of the population that they aren’t qualified to protect their nation in a combat role if needed because of their genitals or assumed ‘lack of strength’. Yes, it is as stupid as I make it sound. The situation itself is infuriating if you actually think about it with a critical mind.

So, the question persists in other realms that don’t require such ‘macho’ tasks as lifting heavy things or throwing a ball far through the air (yes, I am rolling my eyes as I type this). Maybe one answer to why we don’t see non-males in professional gaming can be found by simply logging in and playing in an open lobby of Call of Duty. By the time a woman starts talking on her microphone you can almost guarantee that you will hear some jackass come out of the digital woodwork and say something disgusting or rude to her. Nine times out of ten, the verbal abuse will be unprovoked – it gets downright nasty and will reach a point that the woman simply leaves the game if she hasn’t muted the entire lobby itself. It’s no wonder non-males aren’t more prevalent in pro gaming (let alone casual gaming) when you see the nature of many of the bro-tastic gamers out there – if I were a woman, I’d be hard pressed to use my microphone in a public lobby and just kick some ass anonymously.

What makes this worse? There are some badass gamers out there that happen to be non-male. Why aren’t they more popular or marketed on pro teams or streams? The article about Lisa Lane isn’t just a story from the past – it is a reference point for the exact same issue that is happening with women in gaming (and everywhere else) in the present (just ask Kristi Toliver).

So, how do we fix this? With most other aspects of life and changing the societal structure to be fair for all people we need the efforts to happen from the top down. This doesn’t simply mean making a token change to a minor role – it means making for a level playing field in all aspects of sports, gaming, and workplaces altogether. It is my hope that I can be a voice of reason and start making the change that I’d like to see in the world.

So, if you are non-male and want to kick some ass on a Call of Duty squad (or almost any other game) and you see Outspoknpoet in your lobby send me an invite because when it comes to kicking some digital ass on my PS4 I don’t care who is on my team as long as they kick some ass too!

The One Thing Your Console Is Missing – Extended Storage

It seems like every year around the holidays most of us come into a little bit of money to spend on ourselves. This year I found myself thinking about the different games I wanted for my PS4 and was coming up short – which isn’t really a bad feeling to have when you start thinking that you have all the games you need (in my case, more than I need). The problem I faced was not having all of them accessible at any given moment.

This was perhaps one of the most short-sighted flubs of this generation of consoles. The thought that 500 GB wouldn’t be enough space for all of your games back during the 360 and PS3 would have been preposterous. However, with the installation and patches required on the PS4 and XBox One – it turns out that 500GB is basically the equivalent of the stock 20 GB HDD on the XBox 360 – maybe even worse.

If you are fortunate to have bought Red Dead Redemption 2 you might notice that it alone takes up over 100 GB. One game… 100+ GB. Couple that with the fact that I have been playing a lot of Black Ops 4 and wanted to keep Grand Theft Auto V on my console – there was no space for any other game.

I took the plunge and bought the 2 TB Extended Storage on Amazon (Western Digital). Not only was it a simple plug-in of the USB (no need for an outlet to power the drive!) it just needed a simple format (the instructions were super easy to follow) and it took all of 10 seconds. Suddenly, I was granted this new gift of space and started downloading and installing all of my games. I managed to put over 20 games on my extended storage and still have room for more.

If there is one thing you can add to your console gaming situation it would be a 2 TB extended storage. The only question you will ask is why you didn’t do this sooner.

Accessibility – The Game Changer We Should All Want

I was playing Blackout Duos with one of my friends the other day.  We were having a good time going through the map (even without finding any armor WHATSOEVER!!!! ARRRRRGH!!!).  As we were advancing towards the border of the first circle I said I could hear an enemy vehicle coming from the left side of our advance.  I expected him to say that he heard it as well.  Only, he didn’t hear it at all.

I learned at that moment that one of my gaming friends was deaf in his left ear and it didn’t make me think any less of him – but it did change our tactics for the rest of the match and from that point forward.  I didn’t really make a big deal about it, but I did suggest that I could take the left side of our tiny formation at that point.  He agreed that it would be a good idea and we moved on – it was that simple.

I haven’t been able to shake that experience over the last few days.  As a former teacher I had to take into account all sorts of learning disabilities and different general learning styles.  One of the biggest aspects of allowing all students the same opportunities to learn in a classroom is access above all other things (this also goes hand-in-hand with what those in education call full-inclusion).  If you went to public school during the late 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s you might remember a lot of classmates being pulled from class in order to get assistance with their schoolwork in any number of subjects.  They might have had dyslexia or some other issue that simply meant they needed extra help to stay with the class or at least accomplish the same requirements of others.  I never liked the idea of removing students from the classroom when I was a student and I certainly didn’t like it as a teacher.  While there are some aspects that might require occasional departures from the class, most students with disabilities want to be with their classmates.  This is the same case with gaming… except, there isn’t an opportunity for those with disabilities to seek access to games where they aren’t at what we could consider a competitive disadvantage.

That’s where our assumptions still get us in trouble.  The idea that someone needs special treatment in order to succeed in gaming is the complete opposite of what needs to happen.  How you treat your fellow gamer has nothing to do with their mental or physical capabilities.  You treat them like any other friend or family member.  The one aspect you might start demanding is for developers (both hardware and software) to consider making changes and modifications to controllers, sound mixing, and other aspects that move everyone closer to full-inclusion.

Microsoft has a great commercial that focuses on access being something that allows ALL gamers to play the same games and support each other.  

This video pulled at my heartstrings.  Pretty sure that was the idea.

The other reason every gamer should be demanding changes and modifications to games, hardware, and peripherals (controllers, etc.) is because it will not only open the games we love to play to those with disabilities, but it will continue to drive further innovation in ways we might not even consider.  We continue to see so many amazing changes in technology at a pace that is difficult to grasp – it’s only a matter of time before we will be able to play games with our friends that can’t grasp a controller in the first place.  Actually, nevermind… there are already people that are finding a way to wreck on Blackout without actually being able to hold the controller.

Don’t forget the value of opening your mind a little bit.  You might actually like what happens when you come to better understand the needs of others.  

Here are a couple websites for you to check out if you want to dive a bit deeper into helping fellow gamers.

Able Gamers –
People with disabilities wants the same thing that all gamers want, to have fun with their friends, and family. There are so many challenges that come with living with a disability, social isolation, is one of them. Video games are unique in that we ALL use them to excape our days, and join our friends, and total strangers in a quest to win. That is where AbleGamers comes in.https://ablegamers.org/

StackUp –
Founded in 2015, Stack Up brings both veterans and civilian supporters together through a shared love of video gaming through our primary programs: The StacksSupply CratesAir Assaults and the Stack Up Overwatch Program [StOP].https://stackup.org/

All I Want For Madden Christmas Is A Smarter CPU… And A Better Franchise Mode

I try my best to enjoy playing Madden every year.  As much as I gripe about the game every year in one way or another I truly go into each iteration with high hopes only to have them dashed by the time I get into my Franchise Mode.

I tried to play with the Bills on All-Madden after winning the Super Bowl with the Browns on All-Pro in the first season.  It was the same old story – All-Madden is artificially difficult while All-Pro wants to be challenging, it is still hamstrung with the same problems.  The CPU doesn’t adjust to certain plays being called on succession (HB Toss plays from a Twin WR set will almost always get you 7+ Yards if the CPU is in Man Coverage, for instance.).  Money plays are alive and well – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The other issue that plagues this game is the idiotic Free Agency process and logic of the CPU.  After the latest update you will see that LeVeon Bell becomes a free agent (which is nice), but then I see him get signed by the Cardinals… the same Cardinals that already have David Johnson.  I rolled my eyes when I saw the signing during this latest run with the Browns (I used the Cloud Franchise to start my season in Week 12 or so).  It doesn’t stop there, unfortunately.

By the time the draft comes around and after I see Bell get signed by the Cardinals the idiocy continues in the draft.  I am convinced that the CPU is programmed to look at your Draft Board and make picks that will push you to take certain players earlier than you should if you want them.  While I enjoy the idea of this at face value I am also annoyed by the relative troll mentality.

Furthermore, Franchise Mode continues to gut the experience and immersion that should be the primary focus of the mode itself.  There is no living breathing league for you to enjoy – its as stale as the cereal at your grandparents’ house.  The ‘News’ section is hidden in the depths of the CFM menu and it’s basically a bunch of crappy tweets from Captain Obvious with a few half-assed tips about the draft class.  I don’t understand how this mode continues to be included in the game if they obviously don’t care about it from the revenue perspective.  The effort all goes into Ultimate Team and the cash cow that it has become.

Madden continues to be the distant second place in sports games for me as MLB The Show maintains a clear advantage in consistent efforts to improve.  Both games are going towards the Ultimate Team/Diamond Dynasty slippery slope, but I still have hope that Franchise Mode will become what I have dreamed for over the years.  I doubt I will get this for Christmas… but I can always hope.