Ah, Madden. A game I’ve loved ever since I was a little kid. A virtual reality that has been with me throughout the many transformations that life has to offer. It may just be a video game, but to me it’s so much more.
When I was younger my parents disagreed on whether to buy me a gaming console or not. I believe the hot item back then was the Super Nintendo. My Mom was in favor of getting me the system while Dad leaned in the other direction. Ultimately, Mom won the argument under the terms and conditions that I was not allowed to play shooters like GoldenEye 007.
This proved to leave me with limited entertainment options. Mario was popular, but it never quite did it for me. Sonic the Hedgehog was a blast but wasn’t available on the Nintendo consoles.
This led me in the direction of sporting games such as Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey, FIFA, and the glorious Madden.
My Dad always had a love for sports, and maybe he had a secret agenda behind not allowing me to play shooters. Whatever the reason may be, I had a natural affinity toward competition and Madden proved an opportunity to scratch that itch.
But I may be biased, the first online matchup I ever played I won via an onside kick.
I was probably around 12 years old and my SNES transformed into a Playstation 2. Multiplayer online gaming was new and I was excited to compete against actual people, instead of the monotony of the computer.
The inaugural matchup donned the Chicago Bears and the Seattle Seahawks, with me choosing the latter.
Trailing by 13 points with just under two minutes left, I punched the ball into the end zone. After a successful extra point, I only had one option left…
The ball trickled off my kicker’s foot and magically wound up safely in my team’s hands. Since I already dropped a spoiler alert, it’s safe to envision how this contest finished. O’man was I hooked.
As I continued to play I always had a goal of becoming a Top 100 ranked player. As a kid, I may have not had the football IQ to achieve this feat but I was still a formidable player. In the peak of my childhood gaming, I was a Top 1000 player in the NCAA Football series, but didn’t find the same success in Madden.
After a hiatus from hardcore gaming during my high school years, in which I was focused on making the NBA, I hopped back on the sticks in college. I guess My NBA playing career fell short; I was an undrafted high school benchwarmer on the big board.
But this time, as I stepped back onto the virtual gridiron, I had more tools at hand. I understood football better, studied YouTube videos, and had the endless time that only a college student seemingly has. I literally would wake up and play the game from sun up to sun down.
I wasn’t sure why I was playing so much, but I couldn’t stop. This probably wasn’t the healthiest habit but it did prove to be fun.
And I started to achieve childhood dreams in the process. I rose to the elite tier, the Top 100, and eventually climbed my way to the No. 4 Draft Champions player in the world. (PS4). I even beat the No. 1 player in a tightly contested matchup.
But for some reason I suddenly stopped playing.
Upon graduating college, I may have fallen into the trap of “I’m an adult now I shouldn’t be playing “games.” The past two years I purchased Madden, played it briefly, and set it aside.
And it’s not because I wasn’t winning, in last year’s version I quickly rose to the elite tier before unplugging the cord.
I think it had to do with my perception of what is socially acceptable or unacceptable. I viewed a 30-year-old gamer as a loser, instead of a person doing what they love. As long as the basic necessities of income, food, and shelter are met, it should be of utmost importance for one to pursue their passions.
If you’re having fun, isn’t that enough?
All I know is, I have a heck of a time playing Madden and it makes me feel like a kid again. Granted, I don’t play all day every day anymore because I like having this thing called a job. But it makes all the time on the gridiron more special.
This year I bought Madden NFL 21 and I’ve been playing whenever I get a chance guilt free.
I don’t know if I’ve ever felt better.