Sunday, June 19, 2011

#0017: Madden NFL 2005 (DS)

Well this is terribly mildly exciting, isn’t it? INAKA now shows that it is neither sexist, racist, or toyist, as it expands its ever-reaching clutches towards the medium of video games.

Video games are a different monster for me entirely, as far as parting ways goes. I’ve been playing them for as long as I remember, and eventually, like most other people, while my interest in toys waned as I grew up, my love for video games stayed strong.

According to IGN, I have a mighty collection of 244 games all up, with an estimated value of $7,606.32. I’m none too sure exactly how this value system is calculated; are games judged separately? Do I have a Lowly Worm-like ‘HTF’ gem? Has the presence of Bubsy 3D bumped the value down by approximately $800? And does anyone care that I own the Simpsons Cartoon Studio? Anyone at all?

Partly because of this list, and partly because of a feeling that I just might want to play them again someday, I have never once parted ways with a game. Not even my busted copy of Mortal Kombat 3 on Sega Genesis.

But they take up room, just like any other toy. So with a stiff upper lip and ecstasy knowing that GAME might pay me $5 for it, I cut my ties with Madden ’05 on the Nintendo DS.

I recall the night well. There I was, tucked away in the farthest reaches of Comox, B.C. The hour was approaching midnight, and it was December 31st. Whilst almost everyone else in the country was gathering with friends, out on the town, or at least enthusiastically eying their new Hello Kitty calendar, eager to unveil January’s illustration of Keroppi playing baseball, I was at home. Alone. And that was just the way I liked it.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was ending 2004 playing video games, because that’s how I started the year. It was a little bit less lonely that time however, because I was playing Animal Crossing, so I got to hang out with my good mate Alfonso. Unfortunately, Alfonso was absent from my copy of Madden on the DS, so I had to just make due with Albert Haynesworth.

There was a rare sense of achievement as I began 2005, because while most folks got sloshed, I shut out the Miami Dolphins to begin my season. It was exciting! It was stellar! And looking back now, it was entirely insufficient.

I am an avid fan of American football, at least as much as anyone can be when they’re on the other side of the planet, and broadcasters are under the miserably false impression that everyone wants to see five Oakland Raiders games a year. In 2004, my fandom was still in its infancy. I had only started following it during the ’02 playoffs, and my first foray into Madden was with the 2003 edition on the Gamecube.

Funnily enough, I skipped a year for some unknown reason, thereby missing the game-breaking mechanics of ‘04’s Michael Vick, famous for running faster than either Sonic the Hedgehog, or Kabal from the aforementioned MK3.

So I hadn’t seen a whole lot of Madden just yet. I didn’t know that the 2005 counterpart on home consoles would prove to be immeasurably superior, and I was too high on my new DS to realise that the player models were woefully lacking, especially when compared to another launch title, Mario 64 DS.

You might think I’m being a touch too critical based solely on those images, but it gets even worse when Madden’s in motion. They move rigidly, animate jerkily, and appear to have a magical ability to kick a football seconds after their foot had already passed by it. Frankly, I am unclear how this mystical kicking power would prove useful in the game of football, but darn it, they sure have it.

Beyond just the cosmetic shortcomings, the game also controls very awkwardly. Predominantly because of the poor animation, it’s hard to track exactly what’s going on out there. Is that mess of pixels a friend? A foe? Or is it Pac-Man, lost en route to his own game? Can’t be sure, better chuck the ball there and hope for the best. On the plus side, you can use the touch screen to throw to receivers, but that still doesn’t make them much more efficient at actually bringing the pass in.

To me, Madden just shouldn’t be done portably. I haven’t yet played a ‘Madden to go’ experience that didn’t disappoint, despite reviewers giving them the thumbs up. Call me spoiled by the ‘roided up performances of today’s consoles, but I’ll leave football sims to the big boys, thank you very much.

But perhaps the thing that frustrated me most, that filled me with such confusion and bewilderment, was who they chose to select as the Tennessee Titans’ best player…

Erron fucking Kinney.

Look, I loves me some Kinney, he was a solid and dependable tight end, but he was coming off a 25 catch, 193 yard and 3 TD season. Christ, I could get those numbers if you flung the ball at me enough times. For some reason, the ratings system was stacked in this one game to favour tight ends, making Kinney statistically superior to Tom Brady, Jamal Lewis, and both co-MVPs, Peyton Manning and Steve McNair.

Methinks this DS game was coded by tight ends, or at very least, tight end fanciers. Hehehe that sounds cheeky…

One of the other things that makes this game so disposable to me is the sheer number of Madden games I currently have in my possession. They’re bigger and better now, and this underpowered offering simply can’t stack up. Basically any positive quality it holds, its PS2 parallel has trumped. This includes: statistical brilliance by some of my favourite players, the song Wait by Earshot, and Jerry Rice.

Of all the Madden games I own, this one is the worst. And when you consider that I have the cumbersome Madden ’10 on iPhone, you know that this game is really bad.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go score a touchdown using only the Titans’ best player… Erron Kinney, it’s go time!

Damn you, Kinney! You and your tricks…

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