Want Better Football Gaming? Avoid The NFL License

This might be sacrilege for many pro football fans out there.  However, after playing just one game of All Pro Football 2K8 last night I found that the answer to all of my football gaming frustration is based on changing one thing (primarily) – the NFL license.

nfl-no-fun-league

Before a lot of people start coming at my neck for this, let me make one thing clear.  I love using my favorite team (the Browns) and building my team through the draft & guiding them to the playoffs.  However, when my quarterback or wide receiver gets lit up during the game, I want to see them struggle to get up off the field.  I want to see players hobble with a pulled hamstring during a game.  I want to see and feel real football again.   The primary reason we don’t have that with Madden NFL is because the NFL has essentially castrated the game to being a representation of NFL football only in name.

This isn’t to say that EA Tiburon is off the hook when it comes to their pathetic annual roster update with minimal improvements and innovation to the actual game.  Madden has been able to ride the exclusive NFL license all the way to the bank for close to a decade now.  Not to mention the fact that in the process, they have also found it necessary to remove features from year to year and effectively do as little as possible to evolve their product over time.  This isn’t new to gamers that have bought Madden over the last two decades.  We have become almost jaded into expecting and accepting that ‘it is what it is’.

2K Sports hasn’t said anything about a new football title in the last few years.  However, now that we are entering a new generation of consoles with even more possibilities for improvements to graphics and physics in sports gaming; it does beg the question of when we will (if ever) see another 2K Football game.

Would you buy a 2K Football game on next-gen hardware?

Sim Sports Gaming Vs. Casual Sports Gaming (Remember The Titans)

We have been focusing on Madden 13 and football gaming quite a bit over the last few months.  One of our more recent articles was about the complete subjectivity in what makes someone a “Sim” sports gamer.  After considering my own personal views and then looking at my own advise to the NTTV community (…have a good time and play the game however the hell you want to…) I was left to wonder what the other people within the sports gaming community thought about this rather trivial but somehow vital prescription for how games should play and be played.

The ultimate showdown between the Casual Sports Gamer and The ‘Sim’ Nazi… Where do you stand?

it was at that point that I came across this post on operationsports.com from community member, Big FN Deal

…I will suggest this again, for all the good it will likely do. We are all aware that the game is not tuned for optimal realism, it is tuned for a “fun”/realism balance. So they should release two separate optional tuner sets, one “balanced” for casual Madden play, the other for the “hardcore” tuned for optimal realism. …” (click the link for the full post)

What made my mind explode was the mention of the word ‘FUN’. In case you don’t remember what that is; it was that thing you used to do when you were younger and playing games that made you laugh and enjoy the moment because you were just having a good time.  You wanted to smile your way through whatever happened and breath in that fresh air of innocence.

Then something happened… you can’t pin-point it, but chances are good that it happened when you started playing high school sports and the coaches started screaming at you and you thought every moment was live or die.  You stopped wanting to have fun and just wanted raw, unadulterated, anger inducing competition.  You stopped smiling.  You stopped playing the game for fun.  It became a chore to even go home and relax with a game of Madden football because there is NO WAY someone can rocket catch in real life!

The Definitive Movie Reference

This clip can be viewed from a two sports gamer perspectives/comparisons…

1- Casual Gamers That Play For Fun (The Players) VS. Sim Gamers That Play Strictly For Realism (Coach Boone)

or

2- Madden Fanboys (The Players) VS. 2K Fanboys (Coach Boone)

Hopefully you are laughing at this point, because you are supposed to be… if you are angry, that is okay too.  Just remember to think back to when you used to have fun.  Once upon a time when there was no such thing as a ‘patch’ for the 100-Yard pass in Tecmo Super Bowl.

How Should Sports Games Reflect The Happenings of Real Life?

Today the NCAA decided to pass down a punishment on Penn State that would essentially cripple the football team and university for years.  It does raise a question about how much video games should or shouldn’t reflect what happens in real life.  For instance, in NCAA 11 and 12 you will notice that teams like USC and Ohio State are given terrible ratings as far as Championship Caliber and Coach Ratings matching those of Luke Fickell (eventhough they aren’t really those coaches… riiiight).

When game developers gloss over the realities of the sports they are trying to reproduce they are short-changing their creativity and the consumer’s ability to take part in a true simulation of the sport itself.

Now we are in the midst of a USC team coming off of a ban, an Ohio State team starting a one year ban and last but not least – Penn State.  In NCAA Football 06 you would have to deal with players violating team rules and all sorts of things that brought real life situations to the game.  Why have these things been taken out of games this generation?

Madden NFL Football doesn’t have late hits, real-time injuries or even contract holdouts.  Are sports games being held to a different standard somehow?  We have shooter games that allow for some of the most gruesome actions to take place but when it comes to sports titles we can’t have late hits or concussions?  We can’t have bowl bans or shady recruiting?  We can’t have team rules violations by players that have questionable motivations?

You can’t say we never had these things before…  we did… but  now they are gone with the winds of political correctness or some sort of false societal demands.

Madden 13 – Connected Careers and Franchise Mode Questions Answered

It has been just over a month sense E3 and there are still people waiting to hear more details about Franchise Mode/Connected Careers in Madden 13.  There are a few things we can deduce from details that have either been given to the community straight up or through videos that leave you to draw some conclusions.  Not to mention the fact that some of the good people that were invited to Community Day at EA Tiburon have given a lot of great feedback.

This is one of the biggest changes for Madden in years.  The issue we are facing is that the details have become rather muddled.


Here is a list of answers and a few thoughts (after the facts) so you can have your questions answered.

Is Franchise Mode dead?

In name, yes.  In practice, no.  Franchise Mode still exists and it will be under the selection of being a ‘Coach’ – you will still have the same control over your team, etc.  Also, you will have the ability to get fired as a coach.  Everything you have been able to do in Franchise Mode in the past – you can still do in Madden 13.

What about Superstar Mode?

Superstar Mode is still around.  You will ‘Be A Player’ and in the process you will only control yourself.  You will get to choose plays as a QB, etc.

Legends, what’s the deal?

Legends (Coaches and Players like John Madden and Barry Sanders) are not coming into Connected Careers as 99 OVR versions of themselves.  Their presence in Connected Careers is also up to you as the main user to turn them on or off (off is default as of E3).

How does XP work for Connected Careers?

XP is a two tier process –

1– You have to earn it through performance and milestones.  However, you won’t be able to earn more XP if you cheat or run up the score on the CPU.  (IE – If your goal is a 300 yard passing game in week three for 1000 XP and you pass for 900 yards, you still only get 1000 XP)

2– Leveling up costs increase as your ratings get higher.  You will earn XP as you accomplish certain goals, but as you try to make your player either faster, stronger or simply better all-around you will see ratings cost more as you go. (IE – The cost to go from 85 to 86 SPD as a QB could cost you 6000 XP, but the cost to go from 86 to 87 SPD could cost you 7000 XP, etc.)

Do Coaches Matter?

Not really.  Coaches simply get put into one of four levels.  You can grow your created coach into a ‘Level 4’ but it really doesn’t mean anything. (Unfortunate)

Do player ratings change depending on a team’s scheme?

Yes, there are finally ratings that dynamically change to reflect the player’s overall value to your team or coach and what type of offense or defense you run.  A 6’3″ 349 lb DE won’t be valued highly by a 4-3 Defensive Team, etc.  This doesn’t mean his ability ratings ‘change’ but his displayed OVR and value to your team will be.

Can I make existing players retire if I control them?

No, you technically ‘stop’ using them.  However, if you have a created player and retire they will be removed from the game.

Can I still control all 32 teams?

No, you can only control one team or player at a time.

Is Connected Careers Online or Offline?

It is both.  If you hate playing against people online you don’t have to worry about it.

Can more than one person play a Connected Career on the same console?

No.

Can Commissioners kick people out of the league?

Yes

Is there online Auto-Pilot?

Yes.

Can Online Connected Careers have different roles?

Depending on your settings, you can make it so everyone has to be a QB, Coach RB, etc.  It is totally up to the commissioner.

Can I play on the same team as a friend in Online CC?

No.

More to come!  Stay tuned to NoobTubeTV as Madden gets closer.
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A few quick thoughts…

Madden 13 is really depending on Connected Careers being a high quality experience.  There are a few things that it seems EA still needs to figure out for coaches especially.

In NFL Head Coach you would be able to say one of a few different things to your players at key moments.  This added immersion and actually made coaches important.  As well, the idea of a player fitting into a team’s scheme… it should be a coach’s scheme, not a team’s scheme.  The Browns have switched coaches so many times in the last decade that the players change as often because they don’t fit what the coach wants to do and how his staff prefers to approach the game.

Making people earn XP to increase abilities is a great attempt to make the game a bit more involved and honest.  By removing the ‘Potential’ rating you are now pretty much in charge of proving that a player is as good as you think and they will have to earn every bit of that OVR Rating you think they deserve.  The nice part is that it is all on you to do this.

The overall closed nature of Connected Careers is a good thing for this year, but next year it needs to be opened up.  There is a danger in allowing people to mess with time paradoxes, true simulation and that little thing called the game’s actual coding.  This is something that can be improved upon with a more open approach in the future.  Let the beta testers gamers mess with all sorts of things so EA can figure out the issues and fix them rather than avoid them because they are scared of problems with freezing and system crashes, etc.

All things said, Connected Careers is starting to look like a great mode for Madden fans that want to have a nice experience in growing a team or a player as they see fit.  Even with some limitations that make you scratch your head.

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