Madden Ratings System Unveiled

A recent article on FiveThirtyEight.com has helped us understand a bit more about what goes into Madden player ratings.  I wish I could say I am impressed.  Madden is one of the most stale and non-simulation sports games in existence, yet it gets touted as being true to the game.

It has always bothered me that Donny Moore seems to have full power to subjectively up someone’s rating because of one big catch, run or block.  I truly miss 2K Football more and more as I read about Madden and the NFL in general.

Here is the breakdown from FiveThirtyEight –

paine-feature-madden-4

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Getting the Shoe Deal In NBA 2K15

One of the more interesting mysteries I have seen in recent sports titles is people trying to figure out how to get the final Jackson Ellis cut-scene on NBA 2K15 ‘My Player’ mode.  All sorts of videos of people saying ‘THIS is the truth and other people are liars.” are just about as helpful as those that are liars.  Without further delay – here are some of the facts surrounding My Player and where he was in his career upon getting the Jackson Ellis scene.

One this is certainly true – playing the games and not simming them is going to be your best bet.  I simmed quite a few games in my first couple seasons and while I say I regret it from the ‘shoe deal’ perspective.  It actually made it so that my player has realistic career averages compared to what I have now in my third full season in the NBA.

What Are The Facts?

First and foremost – I am convinced that maxing out at least one attribute is key.  I don’t know if it was simply some sort of coincidence, but after playing the first 9 games of the 2017-2018 season I finally got earned enough VC to get the final upgrade for jump shooting.

Attributes
My attributes just before/after the final meet up with Jackson Ellis.

I believe you either need to have a single attribute fully upgraded or have used a certain amount of upgrades.

I nearly had a quadruple double in the 10th game of the season.
I nearly had a quadruple double in the 10th game of the season.

The game I got the Jackson Ellis scene from was also a great personal performance where I almost had a quadruple-double.  I don’t believe a Triple-Double or Double-Double count matters so much, but It was my 15th career Triple-Double just in case that does matter.

My Last 10 Games before Jackson Ellis stopped by.
My Last 10 Games before Jackson Ellis stopped by.

I am currently playing 8 minute quarters and using the casual setting.  Does this take away from ‘sim play’?  Sure it does.  However, it also keeps me from playing insanely long games with frustratingly bad teammates and such.  It is just more fun for me.

I did notice that I averaged over 40 points per game and had sporadic Double-Double/Triple-Double performances.

Finally – I had 92 Games Played.  I believe some of these played games are a bit skewed as I certainly started at least 10 games and simmed to the end once they started.  You can look at the actual ‘games played’ by you by going to the Milestones Career Section and scrolling to towards the bottom.  Take a look at the ‘games played’ achievements and you will see how many you have actually played – not simmed.

I hope this has helped you put together a few more ideas about how to get the ‘Wooo!’ scene with Jackson Ellis.  It will take you two more games for him to visit your house and seal the deal.  For me, it was quite awesome as the game after I picked Jordan as my endorsement I got a quadruple double AND the ‘I Got This’ trophy.

Then, I somehow had a more impressive shot a game or two later.

Happy Gaming!

EA Sports Could Lose The Exclusive License For NFL Games – But They Won’t

The deal that ruined football gaming for almost a decade is scheduled to expire this year.  EA Sports and Madden have been synonymous with declining quality and innovation ever since coming to an agreement with the NFL and NFLPA to have exclusive rights for an NFL video game.  This essentially did away with any of the NFL games you might have played instead of Madden over the years before that fateful day in 2004.

While there is no doubt that Madden’s sales have been impressive for the 25 years that it has been around, there is cause for concern when there is a consistent feeling among consumers that the game is nothing more than a roster update every year.  To call Madden a simulation experience would be like calling Call of Duty a military simulator.  On the surface there is ‘football’ but once you boot the game and start playing it will feel more like a half-scripted arcade game with decent graphics, canned animations and poor physics.

When the exclusive license expires it will be more of a ceremonial expiration than anything to get excited about if you are a 2K Football fan.  This is because the NFL and the NFLPA (Players Association) are going to renew the deal.  Electronic Arts (EA) is like the New York Yankees of game development.  They are easily the most hated team in sports, their fans tend to be loud and obnoxious and they really don’t have to worry about sales every year… because they are the Yankees.  There is a big problem with the Yankees and that is starting to show on the field and in the front office (See A-Rod, etc.), much like EA and their overall performance as a game developer by and large.

Over the last few weeks EA has been ridiculed for their terrible release of the new SimCity game on PC.  They flubbed the launch in so many ways that you had to almost ask yourself if someone sabotaged them.  They had server issues that prevented people from playing the game when it came out.  Then they had numerous other issues that stemmed from their use of DRM (Digital Rights Management).  DRM being put into the game is a sign that EA fears piracy, and why shouldn’t they?  Gaming has slipped into a realm of Catch 22 that few other industries have had to deal with outside of music and movies.  What you will start to notice is that when people want to support a business or a certain way of doing things they will speak with their wallet’s/purse’s/allowance.

The sales of Madden have been relatively stable over the course of the 360/PS3 generation of consoles.  This is coupled with the fact that the NFL has been bringing in billions of dollars as the favorite sport and form of entertainment of the United States.  It is going to be hard to tell either party that they should change what is going so well for them financially.  This is the primary reason why the exclusive license will carry on between EA Sports, the NFL and the NFLPA.  Money talks and so far the football gaming community has been speaking EA’s language.

The glimmer of hope can be found in the fact that EA lost exclusive rights to NCAA and Arena Football.  While the AFL is about as popular as VHS Tapes – college football is a huge business and a potentially open market for a developer like 2K Sports to take advantage of if they wanted to bring some sort of competition to EA’s doorstep.  There is a somewhat large group of football gamers that prefer NCAA Football over NFL football and EA’s NCAA Football has been less than stellar over the last few years.  Hopefully we will see a company like 2K Sports step up to the plate and work on a football game once again.  Lord knows they haven’t stepped up to the plate for hockey this year and they keep striking out on their baseball titles.

The best thing for Madden NFL is competition and they know it will make them have to step up their game.  Which is exactly why they will continue to hold the exclusive license for NFL gaming.  You can have hope that it will expire and not be renewed, but don’t hold your breath.

What Does The Madden Name Change Mean?

What’s in a name?  Apparently EA Sports thinks the 25th anniversary of Madden is deserving of a trip to the social security office for a tweak in the name.

Madden 14 Pic

Madden 25 was just announced to be the official name of the only NFL game coming out this year (just like it has been since Madden 06).  The only thing that might have made people happy was hearing that the developer was working on Madden 2K14.  Keep dreaming.

Chances are good that Madden 25 will also signify a change-over in consoles just like the switch from Madden 2005 to Madden 06 also greeted the next hardware generation.  The idea of a new console is always exciting because of the possibilities in graphics and physics; but if one thing is certain we can expect one thing to dull our expectations for new software – bare bones games.

Madden 25 for the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 will most likely prove to be another slight tweak or change from Madden 13.  Maybe there will be a few new animations or the ball will be a shade darker or smaller.  Otherwise, you shouldn’t expect much to change.  The new consoles that are rumored to be coming out this Christmas will most likely be priced between $400 and $500 with a pipe-dream hope of $300.  The unfortunate truth is that most of the games that will be released with the consoles will be bare bones in their offerings.  If you played Madden 06 or any of the other games that came out with the current generation you will notice how lacking they are in features.  Also, many of them don’t take advantage of the graphical capabilities of the console.

This isn’t a complaint at all.  It is merely a point to be raised in order to lower expectations for the next generation.  Not to mention the cynical view that Madden hasn’t changed many things in the 25 years it has existed.

Would love to hear from the fan boys out there.  2K and Madden alike.

Keep it civil.

Why MLB The Show is King In Sports Gaming Quality and Why Baseball Is Dying

Before jumping into this explanation, please understand when referring to baseball video games we are referencing the MLB The Show series.  In no way is 2K Baseball close to being as good as The Show.  That is a different point for a different day.

Today we are focusing on comparing MLB The Show to any other sports gaming platform out there.  The top competitor is actually soccer/futbol but in the United States you will be hard-pressed to find anyone that knows how transfers and team management works in soccer (present party included).  If it seems that I am coming from a somewhat biased perspective it is because I am.  The best selling games in 2012 have been the more popular titles of course, but are they really the best?  No.

The Show has been one of the most consistently high-quality and true simulation sports games over the lifetime of this console generation.  SCEA (the developer of The Show) has been one of the most highly rated sports gaming developers because of the quality of The Show.  Between the actual gameplay and the depth of modes like Franchise Mode as well as the new Post-Season Mode there is little more to be desired.  However, that is where The Show really shows why it is the best sports game out there with so many details like ball trajectory and other physics based implementations that you will start asking where it is in other games like Madden.

While The Show is by far the best baseball game when competing with the awful 2K Baseball, its only competition in terms of quality comes from EA Sports’ NHL and FIFA games.  The one thing you will notice is that baseball, hockey and soccer are all ‘niche titles’ with relevance to a select number of people in the United States.  Baseball has been dying a slow death in terms of popularity among sports fans.  That may be a big reason why The Show flies under the radar when compared to games like Madden and NBA 2K (which are typically the higher selling sports titles in the U.S. every year).

The trend of baseball gaming has been on a down-slope as far as game sales go.  But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the fact that if you enjoy baseball and want to play a great video game version of the sport.  Go out and buy a PS3 if you don’t have one (as this game is only available on the PS3 console) and get The Show.  It is that good.

Why Is Baseball Dying?

I am of the opinion that baseball was both saved and destroyed by steroids.  The 1993-94 strike made many fans turn their backs on baseball.  It wasn’t until the home run explosion between 1996 and 2001 that people started to care about baseball again.  Say what you want about the ‘purity of the game’ but steroids brought fans back and brought more money to owners as attendance went through the roof.  Then, as if someone called the cops to bust up a great party – the Mitchell Report destroyed the game from the inside out.

Kiss your career good-bye, Alex. You’re done.

The legacy of steroids in baseball goes back to the 1980s where there was a tremendous boom in the overall use and production of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).  This is also the same time period that saw the beginning of Free Agency (players were able to look for new teams as their contracts expired).  While this was something that happened a few times before, it became quite normal as the 1980s and 1990s came and went.  This should make you consider the motivation that players had to use PEDs – it was about the ability to command more money in their contracts.  If a player like Barry Bonds could increase his output as a batter from an average of 25 HRs during his time with Pittsburgh to 39 HRs during his stay in San Francisco, why wouldn’t he use what he could to demand more money?  The same goes for players like Alex Rodriguez who could be on his way to a Lance Armstrong collapse in the coming weeks.

People suspected that players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds were on some sort of PEDs as they started having numbers pile up that no one had seen in the history of the game.  Why is it that some fans were so appalled when the report came out.  Many people started making these players they all but worshiped at one point into pariahs to save face in some sort of non-existent social witch hunt.

The Three Musketeers

I am not suggesting that steroids should be legalized or that they don’t artificially inflate statistics.  I will demand that society takes a look in the mirror and honestly asks what they want from entertainment.  Society doesn’t want purity in sports.  Society wants to appear concerned about safety and legitimacy while demanding more power, speed and violence.  We are living in the greatest example of hypocrisy in entertainment and the only thing we can do is edit our video game rosters and change every player’s ability rating to 99 – call it digital steroids.

 

It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp – EA Sports Loses $27 Million In Class Action Suit

As we approach the launch of Madden 13 it should be noted that EA Sports still has exclusive rights to the NFL license.  There are a few things in gaming that truly drive innovation and the primary motivating factor is true competition.  EA has found out the hard way that monopolizing the market to fix prices is the wrong way to go about this not only with fans of sports gaming, but now with the Federal Court system.

It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp

For a detailed run-down of the decision check out this article at Kotaku.

If you want the real moral of the story, it is that EA Sports will be banned from exclusive deals ONLY with NCAA Football and Arena Football League.  Which in all honesty is simply a slap on the wrist.  The real competition they faced was from 2K in the NFL 2K series.

What this really means is that you shouldn’t hold out hope that 2K (or any other developer) will get a chance to make an NFL game.  However, if they do get that chance, it will probably be on the next generation of consoles (if ever).

What about the Class Action Lawsuit?

In terms of what you ‘get’ out of it…  $2 for any 360, Wii or PS3 American Football Title (AFL, Madden, NCAA) and just under $7 for PS2, Gamecube and XBox games that came out after 2005.

Bottom Line

EA Sports is being hit where it counts – the wallet.  This isn’t the type of punch in the face that knocks them out of Exclusive Rights in sports gaming, but it is a sign that what they have been doing isn’t right.  EA has potential to make some of the best sports games out there and when they had to fight against NFL 2K5 it was the best iteration of Madden (2005) ever.

Analogy Time

In 2005 it was like watching Rocky 2.  Two developers were busting their asses trying to prove that they had the best game out there.  In the end you see both of them fall to the ground in the last few seconds.  2K5 came out with a great game for $20 and after seeing this, EA released Madden for $30 rather than $50.  EA came out on top and then just like Rocky they were the world champs.

Then after 2005, EA Sports turned into Rocky in Rocky 3.  They got lazy and lost a lot of their motivation to train hard.  They started doing stupid promotions and simply got full of themselves because everyone they would fight would be a push-over (if there was anyone to fight).

The biggest fear that EA has right now is for a game like NFL 2K to come back around like Clubber Lang and “crucify them, real bad.”

While it seems that we might not like EA Sports games… it is to the contrary.  We love EA Sports titles, but we loved them more when they were trying harder.  It isn’t fair to EA Sports that they have no competition, it makes them look soft and it prevents them from improving.  We want to see a good fight between developers that makes us get excited again.

Madden 13 ‘Legends’ – I Think I Played This Game Before

Madden 13 is coming to your console with Legendary Players.  If you are excited about this – more power to you.

On the other hand, you could pop in a game that is five years old tomorrow and use quite a few of the same players such as the great Reggie White.

This is a screen capture of Mr. White as a Philadelphia Eagle while it looks very nice, the only thing different is that it is a licensed NFL rendition on the Madden engine.

It isn’t really a question of whether or not Madden or 2K Football is better.  It really is apples and oranges when you start comparing how the games play and other nuances that are too numerous to discuss in this article.

However, the real issue at hand is that EA Tiburon is putting this ‘feature’ in a game and almost acting like it is an original idea.  2K Sports (out of desperation) to please their hardcore football fans and with a feeble attempt to jump into the football gaming foray early on in this generation of consoles tried to grab a foothold with the inclusion of legends such as the aforementioned – Reggie White.  As well, they had players you can see here on 2K’s website.

The Original ‘Legends Game’ can be had for cheap. You will be amazed with the gameplay and animations that might not even be in Madden this year… or ever.

The issue at hand also makes the controversial Connected Careers Mode a little more strange in that it allows these legendary players (Barry Sanders, Ronnie Lott, Troy Aikman, etc.) as well as Legendary Coaches!  It is puzzling that they can’t allow people to do something like edit rosters, but they can allow legendary players onto their teams.

To compound the confusion there is also another vital question that needs to be asked –

Since when does the coach matter in Madden football?

Legendary Coaches is also a nice enough feature (and one that isn’t in APF2K8) but coaches have never mattered in Madden NFL.  You could have gone to the Super Bowl with Romeo Crennel’s ‘I’m Thinkin’ Arbys Cleveland Browns All Stars’ and it wouldn’t matter a bit.  Your coach means nothing in Madden and that has always been the case.

Madden 13 is on par to impress with their usual growth this year, but the inclusion of legends and marketing of their presence in Connected Careers (as well as Ultimate Team) is something that makes a lot of people look at EA with confusion and wonder if they will ever understand that gimmicks (especially those that have been done by another company) don’t sell games or make their game more enticing.  They are cheapening the ‘experience’ and making it feel more and more like it should be Downloadable Content to mess around with like a toy from a Happy Meal and then forgotten forever in the annals of Epic Sports Gaming Fails.

If you want a great game with classic players that requires a more simulation approach than Madden, please follow our link to a bargain of a fantastic football game!

All Pro Football 2K8