Madden ’08 Is Released To A Feeding Frenzy

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: August 27, 2007

PHILADELPHIA — At the stroke of midnight ET on Tuesday August 14th, a feeding frenzy like no other seen occurred as people of all different ages, sexes, races, and you name it, lined up not to get food or the new “Harry Potter” book, but to seize their copy of the latest release of their prized game John Madden Football.

The game debuted for 10 different gaming systems and the mob scene showed that Madden is America’s most popular video game by far. Iincredibly, thousands worldwide passed up sleep because they needed to have their copy.

I could hardly believe my eyes as grown men were seen clutching their copy of Madden ’08 and gleefully looking for their cell phones to call out sick from work. The event now hyped as “Maddenoliday” had its biggest stage in New York City’s Times Square on Monday evening into Tuesday morning and included former players Eric Dickerson, Warren Moon and Marshall Faulk meeting with fans as they waited in line.

“Maddenoliday” was even so big that former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber instead of being in bed, was handing out the first copies of the game to rabid fans at midnight at the Toys “R” Us in Times Square.

The game, which started as a small venture by former Raiders Head Coach and Commentator Hall of Famer John Madden and a small company called Electronic Arts in 1989, has grown into a global obsession. EA sold 7.4 million copies in North America in 2006, including 2 million in the first week.

The numbers don’t lie about the overwhelming popularity of the game as overall it has sold more than 60 million copies and generatied over $2 billion in retail sales in 17 years on the market. Those numbers are staggering when you factor in that copies of Madden sell retail for $30 to $60, depending on the game system.

The game has its own money driven worldwide tournament called the “Madden Challenge” and is played every where from NFL locker rooms to church basements to college dormitories and of course people’s homes. Madden even has its own community where fans are connected by the internet via DSL lines.

The funny thing about the game John Madden Football is that it is enjoyed by a truly eclectic group of fans with many of them not being “big” NFL fans or having any idea that the NBC analyst was first a great head coach in the NFL compiling an overall record of 112-39-7, including a victory in Super Bowl XI in 1976, before becoming the face of the game.

I have to admit that I am a big fan of the game and I have owned a version pretty much every year since it has come out going back to my Sega Genesis days, but don’t think I wasn’t crazy enough to wait in a five-hour line for this year’s copy.

I can bide my time with last year’s version, because I lreally don’t have enough time to play that often even though I love the realism of the game (you are GM, Head Coach, Quarterback, etc). Growing up in Philly, Madden Football was the game of choice for my brother, our friends, and myself. We spent countless hours playing, fighting, and of course trash talking over the “best game” ever in our opinion.

We loved the chance to become our heroes Randall Cunningham, Emmitt Smith, Reggie White, Christian Okoye and others during the moments that we played the game. With the release of Madden ’08, now a new generation of fans will have the chance to emulate their players of choice and I am sure Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young will be one of the main choices.

Young was named as the on the cover player for EA Sports Madden 2008 video game this past spring and said of the honor, “It is truly an honor for me to be on the cover of Madden NFL ’08, every NFL player dreams of being on the cover”.

He added, “After being named Rookie of the Year and going to the Pro Bowl my first season — this is a perfect way to start my second season in the NFL.”

Young will now try to avoid one of his tougher opponents in 2007, the “Madden Jinx”. In recent years players such as Eddie George, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Marshall Faulk, and Shaun Alexander have endured injury prone seasons after appearing on the cover.

I am sure that Young will break the jinx, because he already has moved past appearing on the Sports Illustrated cover after his big Rose Bowl win in 2006. He put that jinx in his rearview mirror on the way to winning the Rookie of the Year award last past season.

So to all gamers worldwide I say, “Let the games and the trash talking begin”.

Happy Maddenoliday everyone!!