Madden Nation – Truly Reflective?
Author :        Date : 26-Feb-09

I was surfing the tube the other evening and happened across an episode of Madden Nation.   Though not particularly foreign to me, I can’t fully admit that I had ever sat through any given episode in this series for more than five consecutive minutes.  Television offerings were extremely weak that night – Clean House Comes Clean did have its appeal, but ESPN ended up winning my viewing time. In hindsight, "Trish the Yard Sale Diva" and crew would have probably been a more entertaining choice (just for the pure eye candy).  Madden Nation was more enlightening for me, and in a way I did not expect.

Being a huge Madden fan since back in the days of the Sega Genesis, I was a bit intrigued in seeing the new generation of footballers duke it out on TV in this latest rendition.  I was thoroughly impressed by the skill and complex button combinations utilized to deftly guide their respective team across the digital gridiron.  But as much as I was in awe of these adept performances, I was similarly disgusted with the amount of showboating, trash talk and other equally tasteless behavior exhibited by the majority of the participants.  I am all about poking some fun as well as personally being the punch line, but these guys just had no class whatsoever.  This was not so back in the day.  For example…

As you probably know, I am an old school gamer and began my gaming ‘career’ back in the 70′s.  My buddy Dragas would shoot over little Marriott_Guy’s house to huddle around a 13" color television to play a game of Football on my parents newly acquired Texas Instruments TI-99 4A.  Now this is as basic as you can get in a football game – a choice of 4 plays on offense and 4 for the defenders.  Once your ‘rock-paper-scissors’ selection is made, you are basically at the mercy of the CPU.  While on defense and Drago in a 3rd and 3 situation from his own 14 yard line, I locked into my "Goal Line Stand" formation.  I stole a look at him, hoping to get some sort of read on his play selection.  By the glint in his eyes I knew I was probably screwed.
There are two dreaded words that no one wants to hear while in my current defensive alignment – I was pretty sure those were about to beat on my eardrums.  My friend did not disappoint.  He sucked in some air and in his best Froggie voice impression uttered those feared words – "The Bomb".  All I could do is laugh and sit back and watch the beating unfold.  A high-five would eventually come his way 22 seconds later once his football helmet sprite finally crossed into the end zone (this system was slow!).  Gamesmanship was always a part of the equation for us and is until this day.
The players on this specific episode of Madden Nation really displayed nothing even close to sportsmanship.  Maybe being in front of the camera drove their need to posture to their crew back home.  Maybe these guys are asses in real life and slept through life’s lesson in humility.  Who knows.  The over-the-top, ratings-driven antics by these clowns are undoubtedly condoned, possibly even orchestrated, by the ESPN producers of this show.  Whatever the case, I would like to assume this is not a fair representation of today’s gamer.  Maybe I am wrong.

All I can say is this – if I didn’t know why I had never before made it through an installment in this series, now I do.  Those blowhards were not worth my time.  Yes, shame on me choosing to watch it for that 30 minute interval.  Shame on ESPN for showing the absolute worst behavior of gamers.

Trish, darlin’, I’ll see you next week.

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