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PlayStation (Games) Games

The Asterisk on Madden's Annual Release Legacy (polygon.com) 23

Madden '96 for PlayStation never shipped, yet it changed the history of football video games -- and sports games in general -- for decades in its wake. Polygon has the behind-the-scene story. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt: The story starts back in 1992, when EA Canada (formerly Distinctive Software) began working on Super Nintendo versions of the NFL series. Over its first two entries -- John Madden Football and John Madden Football '93 -- the studio struggled to match the quality of Blue Sky Productions' Sega Genesis work. EA Canada's developers faced a coding challenge: The slower processor speed of Nintendo's 16-bit console limited what they could do. The games hovered around 15-20 frames of animation per second, making the games feel sluggish despite looking nice in stills. As the studio moved on to its third try, Madden NFL '94, it seemed like the performance issues would continue. Enter Visual Concepts, then a 6-year-old upstart known for parody fighting game ClayFighter and platformer Lester the Unlikely. The team had been working on isometric helicopter sim Desert Strike for EA, and had been getting a lot out of the SNES hardware.
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The Asterisk on Madden's Annual Release Legacy

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  • It's WAY past time to break up the "single license for the entire fricking league" licensing that's in place today.

    Madden's ultra-realistic take is one way to do it, but it turns off more casual gamers like me. (The only Madden I've bought in the last ten years was...a single copy of one of my favorite NFL years...used at a garage sale.) I'd rather have a choice of games - like in the good old days of baseball games for the NES - and let the best one rise to the top.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's WAY past time to break up the "single license for the entire fricking league" licensing that's in place today.

      Colin Kaepernick's NFL Pre-Game Positional Protesting 2016 had terrible game play. Good online chat engine though.

    • Madden was absolutely rubbish back then, I remember 989 made an NFL that used to smoke Madden. Then suddenly 989 disappeared and was Madden or nothing.
    • Mutant League Football was the greatest football game ever made. Any other opinion is invalid. No need for NFL stuff.

      That is all.

    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

      ESPN NFL 2k5 was much better than Madden for the same year. That was the last year they didn't have an exclusive license and pretty much killed that franchise.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I read this a couple days ago. It is an interesting piece of game development history, but the article really didn't back up the claim of how the PS Madden '96 "changed the history of sports games for decades to come". If anything it just resulted in the establishment of 2 game development houses: Visual Concepts (the 2K sports games) and EA Tiburon (Madden).

    • It's not even a very good article overall. The research and interviews seem good but the article meanders all over and I'm still not quite sure how Tiburon "stole" the franchise. In fact the whole story of the formation of Tiburon sounds like the more interesting story (I wonder if that was what the writer originally was trying to do but couldn't get Tiburon to interview)
  • I thought by the misleading title that it would be for the Tom Brady cover.....
  • "The team had been working on isometric helicopter sim Desert Strike for EA"

    There are several ways I'd describe that game, simulation doesn't make it on that list. That's like calling your old slot racer kit a driving simulator.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The three co-founders of EA Tiburon were Jason Andersen, John Schappert, and Ian Schmidt. Steve Chiang didn't come on-board as GM until some months after Tiburon had been established.

    Source: One of the actual original three is a good friend of mine.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann