There is no feeling like the feeling I get from taking the latest edition of Madden out and putting it into the disc tray of my Xbox 360. It's a certain euphoria that can't be explained.
People don't realize the effect of sports video games on the sporting world.
When I do my fantasy football draft, I don't rely on overpriced magazines or Internet articles; I use gut instinct, and yes, the rankings for Madden.
There's a TV show on people playing Madden, and it draws in viewers for reasons that I can't explain to you.
But Madden isn't the only video game that has an impact on the average sports fan.
I remember when I played an intense game of FIFA 09 with a guy from Spain over Xbox Live. Although there was a bit of a language barrier (high school Spanish class can only teach me so much), it was intense not only because I won in extra time, but because we shared a common passion for not only soccer, but video games as well.
So don't press pause, because these video games could, are, or will end up in your collection of sports video games.
This is entirely based on opinion. Comments are welcome.
Since the departure of the EA Sports MVP Baseball series, the MLB 2K series is where people with Xboxes get their fill, because MLB: The Show is only for Playstation.
This series would be higher, but MLB 2K9 stops it from being so. I purchased it with my own hard-earned money, and it is without a doubt the worst purchase I have ever made.
Everything was absolutely horrible about it.
I played a friend of mine via Xbox Live, and the final score was 21-18.
This sounds like a final score in a game of Madden.
Hitting was so easy a caveman could do it (sorry Geico). The features were shoddy, and the game often crashed on me.
Recently, the makers at 2K Sports have opened up their eyes a little bit and have made the series somewhat respectable, but the memories of MLB 2K9 will haunt me forever.
I have to hand it to Tiger Woods for being the only current athlete to have a series named after him. He could use a few pick-me-ups in his life at the moment.
The graphics are stunning and the new addition of Augusta National blew my mind.
The only bad part is, this game is not a typical multiplayer game. I have not heard many people say, "Hey Henry, I'll play you in Tiger Woods."
It's a shame that the Tiger Woods series hasn't evolved into a staple multiplayer game. Could it be that golf is not one of the four major sports in America? Or is the game simply too difficult?
The Tiger Woods series is a great slew of video games don't get me wrong, but it's best enjoyed when it's played by one's self.
The Need for Speed series is the best racing series out there. It's secret to success is the variety of games they release. Some games are more racing oriented, and in others the player can roam around in his car.
My favorite game in this series is Need for Speed: Most Wanted because it provides a rush, such as driving away from the cops, with the classic racing setup.
I rank this better than the NASCAR series because:
A. I don't like NASCAR the sport one bit.
B. You can't drive away from the po-po in NASCAR.
C. You can't trick out a car in NASCAR.
Now, being a person who owns an Xbox, I cannot say too much about this game, for I have never played it.
But I've heard good things.
When I was a second-grader, I wasn't really interested in the structured video games like Madden.
Madden was too mature for me in the sense that I was too young to fully understand the concept of "serious football."
That's why I resorted to NHL Hitz.
It was like the cartoon of video games because it was so silly and not like an NHL hockey game at all.
For instance, I have never seen Martin Brodeur skate down the ice, beat everyone on the other team, and score a goal in a real NHL hockey game.
But in NHL Hitz, I have done it.
It's one of those games that you want to play if you've had a bad day because it can release all the stress of life.
The "hitz" are huge, and if you're skilled, you can easily run up the score. Plus, the announcers are absolutely hilarious. One of the common lines is "Hit me baby one more time!". You wouldn't find that in NHL 11.
The reason why it's so low is because they only made three games, NHL Hitz 2002, NHL Hitz 2003, and NHL Hitz Pro.
It is a crying shame that EA Sports stopped making the MVP series because it was the best baseball series out there.
The franchise's success can be attributed to its attention to detail and simplicity.
Many games these days have useless game modes, such as "Superstar Mode" in Madden. "Superstar Mode" is not set up well and is essentially dead weight, but the makers of the MVP series at EA Sports kept it simple.
Every feature of these games is quite useful and enjoyable.
As an avid baseball fan, I am still mourning the loss of the MVP series.
But life goes on, I guess.
Although soccer in America isn't as successful as baseball or football, the developers at EA Sports make a heck of a soccer game.
Personally, I think watching soccer is like watching paint primer dry, but when I first put FIFA 09 in my Xbox, I was amazed at how fun and interesting soccer became. Soon I became interested in particular teams, such as Chelsea (bandwagon, whatever), and specific players, such as Didier Drogba.
It's amazing how much influence a video game can have on a particular sport, and this is working well for soccer. The FIFA series has risen to video game prominence due to the 2010 World Cup, but even before that, I heard kids who played football (or gridiron to all of you redcoats out there) talk about soccer players such as Messi and Ronaldo and clubs such as Arsenal and Barcelona.
I attribute that to this series, which is not only fun when you're kicking it at your house by yourself, but also has the reputation of providing epic video game sessions when you are with your friends.
I hope EA Sports doesn't screw up this series like they did with MVP Baseball.
Ever since the NBA Live series from EA Sports went down the tubes, the NBA 2K series has taken over as the supreme video game for NBA fans.
In NBA Live, the game was too easy. I could hit at least two three pointers out of ten with Shaq, and that's something that he definitely could not do. I would smoke teams by 30 to 40 points every time, and I wasn't very good.
The makers of the NBA 2K series made the opponent a more challenging foe, which is a funner (it's a word) way to play.
It also has "multiplayerbility" (another word), which means that you can play it with your friends, unlike the Tiger Woods series, which gets very boring
Lastly, the NBA 2K series pays attention to detail in a spectacular way with crisp graphics.
The game play really puts the player in the game, and that's why it is so fun.
You might be saying to yourself: "Is this kid out of his mind? Madden is the king of sports games!"
That is where you're wrong, my friend.
Madden has had a great run, and it's somewhat of a dynasty.
But, much like the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's winning streak, every good thing must come to an end.
Madden is still a solid series—the second best—but it's the same thing every year.
What I mean is, there are no new features or exciting additions to the game. Madden has invented many of the features that EA Sports uses in its other games, but those games have improved what Madden has done by going into more depth.
I am currently in a "Superstar Mode" with CJ Spiller in Madden 11, and the only thing I can do is play games, practice, complain to the press, or demand a trade.
Literally. That's it.
Madden is still a great series, don't get me wrong. But until they do something monumental, they'll always be second best.
My friend and fellow writer Max Minsker (you should check out his stuff) will hate me for this because he despises the NHL and hockey all together.
Why shouldn't he? His precious little NBA is in a lockout that doesn't seem to be making any progress meaning that the winter sporting world will soon be taken over by the NHL (after Super Bowl Sunday, that is).
The NHL series is a flawless video game series because it simply listens to it's customers. In NHL 11, the "Be A Pro Mode" was disappointing, and how do they respond? By improving it in NHL 12, according to reports.
Madden hasn't done this, and neither have other games.
NHL also has multiplayerability—it can be played amongst friends not only over an internet connection, but also on a single console. There have been many great games played on my Xbox thanks to the NHL series.
All of these games result in me getting sweaty palms. But that's a different story.
All in all, NHL is "Uprising," which is the song I am currently listening to on my Macbook. (You're welcome for the marketing Muse and Apple.)
Now go blow your next paycheck on these games, because they are simply worth the money.
Except for MLB 2K9.