If you have been following this blog since its inception in July, you know that I am not favorable towards the modern editions of Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL gaming franchise. Looking at the scores the latest iteration, Madden NFL 21, received on Metacritic, many other gamers share both similar and even more critical sentiments. But recent conversations with some friends of mine have caused me to consider the Madden franchise from a broader perspective.
In no way have my personal views on the present direction of the Madden brand changed. Yet both of my friends that I spoke with are overall happy and satisfied with what they are getting out of the latest games. Why is this significant? Because as gamers, we must understand that each of us as individuals have our own expectations of what we are looking for in a game and unique differences in how we play the game. This is very important to consider because it may help us to fathom just why a game one person despises can be the same game another fully embraces.
When I play sports simulation games such as Madden NFL, I go in with the expectation that many of the gameplay elements and mechanics will draw directly from the real game itself. So I will notice if the A.I. isn’t blocking properly, animations lead to unrealistic outcomes, the A.I. isn’t calling timeouts when it should, or the game seems like it is playing out according to a script rather than a realistic and unpredictable flow. When I play a sports sim, I want it to mimic what I would see on television in the most accurate way possible without sacrificing the fun factor. While I desire to experience virtual realism, I don’t forget that it is still a video game. As far as I’m concerned, modern versions of Madden NFL do not live up to what I prefer in a football sim. This is my opinion.
For others, what they expect from Madden NFL is very different from what I’m looking for and that is perfectly fine. While I am paying attention to all the nuts and bolts that go into a play that features a pass from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill, another player is just enjoying that there is a passing play featuring Mahomes to Hill in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with that and we in the gaming community have to accept those differences with each other. As long as people are satisfied with their purchase, then I do not feel the need to force my views and opinions on them. It is not necessary to sabotage their gratification for the sake of validating my opinion. The true sign of someone who is truly solid in their beliefs is when they can hold fast to them without the need of anyone else having to be converted to them. They do not need followers and they do not need to have a group of people with them to remain true to their own convictions. Gamers would treat each other so much better if they had these perspectives.
Many people were upset that in the midst of the highest amount of public negativity that EA has ever received toward its Madden franchise with the release of Madden NFL 21, the publisher celebrated how the current Madden outpaced Madden NFL 20 in sales. Gamers were upset and even disheartened that EA didn’t use the opportunity to admit that Madden could use a great deal of improvement. All of this did open my eyes to a profound truth. Madden, in its current state, is not being made for a gamer like me. There are loads of gamers that have a blast with Madden. EA is probably receiving more positive feedback on its current game than negative. I have no feedback because I haven’t and will not purchase Madden NFL 21. Yet it does not appear that EA is looking to win people like me back. Instead, the organization is more focused on catering to its more favorable customer base that is happily spending money each year. It’s EA’s right to do so. Just like the company has made its choice to go in a certain direction, I have made the choice to stop purchasing its product and move on.
As much as I support and agree with people who express their disapproval of the state of Madden NFL football, I equally regard the ones who do approve of the current product. I have friends who look forward to doing online franchises with their buddies. Others truly enjoy the gameplay and in no way believe that the games from over a decade ago can compare to what they are currently playing. When I’ve discussed some of the major glitches that I’ve seen from videos on YouTube, they tell me they’ve never experienced it in their copies of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have experienced bugs and glitches, but it wasn’t enough to take away from their experience with the game. Rather than hate on them or criticize them, I choose to be happy for them while focusing on the games make me equally thrilled.
In conclusion, I’m only using Madden NFL as an example to make a greater point. Let your fellow gamers enjoy the games that they like even if you can’t stand the games yourself. Nobody is forcing any of us to buy a game that we don’t care for. And if we do purchase something far less than satisfactory, let it be a learning experience and take steps to avoid making such buys in the future. There are plenty of ways for us to prevent ourselves from buying games that bring misery upon ourselves and then spreading that same discontentment to others. In the meantime, let the other gamers have their fun.
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