The rush of a 99-yard drive. The thrill of a last-second comeback. The agony when you're on the receiving end of that comeback. These are the types of moments that have been ingrained in our memories throughout the past 25 years of Madden video games. From the original John Madden Football in '88, to the upcoming Madden NFL 25, the series has always been synonymous with sports games.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, we thought it’d be fun to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about our favorite Madden memories. We’ve gathered stories from IGN editors, as well as a bunch of community members who devour the game each and every year. After you’ve finished reading our stories, hop down to the comments and share your own favorite Madden moments.
The Sega Genesis Madden Games
I have no idea what years of Madden were on the Sega Genesis -- and I feel like looking them up would be faking it because those aren't my memory. In no uncertain terms, the Sega Genesis Maddens are the foundation on which my best friendship from home is built. Pat and I had been acquaintances for years, but when we discovered we both enjoyed the video game gridiron, that's when his mom started bringing him over after school.
And that's when I began breaking him.
See, Pat was a real football fan, and I was not. He knew formations, plays, and positions. I liked playing the video games -- rules and proper play styles meant nothing to me. This meant that Pat would try to build a running game to make the passing game matter, and I'd scramble back 30 years, throw across my body to a receiver I couldn't see, and get the touchdown.
The curse words this little boy bellowed in front of my tube TV haunt me to this day. He'd stand up shouting and then punch the bed. He was a white-hot ball of gamer rage -- and I thrived on it.
Pat spiraled into madness quickly. He' drew plays in class and poured over my idiot savant strategy. As the beatdowns continued, Pat's dedication to one day beating me grew. He came over decked out in head to toe Miami Dolphins gear telling me that this was the game he was going to dominate. He promised his digital players steak dinners if they'd injure my QB or finish a redzone drive. We were two boys lost in a man's game. Pat infuriated by my nonsensical plays and me wheezing from laughing too much.
I'm not saying I never lost to Pat -- he got me plenty of times -- but the ratio was so out of whack that his mom once dropped us off at my house, grabbed me by the arm, and asked me to let him win. That was a good moment.
The Time Brett Favre Died
So, having no allegiance to real football and being a dumb kid, I'm ashamed to admit I played as the Packers quite a few times during the Genesis era. Yes, eventually the city of Chicago showed me the way and I embraced being born into the Bears hometown, but for a few rounds of Madden, I'd take snaps as Green Bay -- because, let's face it, the Bears sucked back then.
However, there'd come a point in each merciless beatdown I was handing out to my best friend Pat where he'd stop trying to come back and just try to grief me. The most memorable one came on a simple third quarter passing play. However, while everyone came to the line, Pat brought a linebacker around the O-line and stationed the defender in my backfield. When Favre hiked the ball, the defended pounced on the Packer.
He broke Favre's ribs. Pat laughed a lot.
Madden NFL 2001
I waited nine hours in line for my PlayStation 2. It was the first video game console I had ever purchased with my own money. So when I got the system home popped in Silent Scope in for the first time, I realized I had made a huge mistake. I ejected it, ran to EB, and traded it in for Madden 2001.
Now, kids today, they take great graphics for granted. Madden 2001 blew away everyone who saw it. The leap from PlayStation Madden to this -- it was unbelievable. The Madden rap, Eddie George on the cover, the way it all moved -- it was phenomenal When people came over and wanted to see what this PS2 could do, I played my DVD copy of The Matrix and let them enjoy a game of Madden.
HOW COULD GAMES EVER LOOK BETTER?!
Madden NFL 25
Last year, Madden NFL 2013 won me back with some awesome presentation stuff and physics (I had pledged allegiance to NCAA Football years earlier). This led to me having a bunch of people over to play for some winner stays/controller-swapping fun. I loved it and wanted to do it every week, but then I caught cancer and just wanted to sleep.
This year, I don't have cancer anymore and had friends over to play Madden NFL 25 Saturday night. I went 3-1, which I'm pretty proud of, but the real shining moment was when I broke my roommate -- @themikemitchell -- mentally and spiritually.
See, Mike wanted to continue our Bears/49ers series, in which he is up 1-0. However, the rules of the night were that each player randomly selected three times and then picked one of those three teams. Mike bitched about this but eventually buckled and ended up with his 49ers' arch-nemesis, the Seattle Seahawks. When I random-ed three times, low and behold, I got the 49ers.
Mike was up in arms. He said I couldn't do this to him. He said he wouldn't play his team as its rival. I said these are the rules we chose, he could pass the controller to our other friend and take the loss on his record. He wasn't down with that, and I pushed him over the edge by telling him if Green Bay ever came up in the rotation, I could put aside my love of the Chicago Bears to play as them.
This worked, and he hit start. As the game began, I turned to him and said -- with some curse words inserted here and there -- "By the way, I'd never play as the Packers; I don't care if the two other random teams were rated 50. You sicken me."
He did not laugh and only grew more upset and I led the 49ers to victory over his Seahawks. In fact, he's probably even more upset that this story is published now. MIKE MITCHELL DOESN'T LOVE THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS ENOUGH TO NOT MEET THEM IN BATTLE. I'm glad Google will link his name and the 49ers forever now.
One More Thing…
John Madden football began life as a computer game, first on the Apple II and later on the C64 and DOS. Madden's first incarnation barely resembled the action-oriented games we know today. The game had no NFL or Players Association license, but its play calling options and simulation features were unprecedented. Madden allowed for injuries, weather, player fatigue, stadium types and field conditions, variable coaching AIs, teams with differing strengths, editable playbooks and one hundred and sixty plays.
I picked up a PC copy on 3 1/2" floppy sometime around 1990. The game came with a ridiculous cardboard wheel which you rotated to match onscreen copy protection prompts. I lost the wheel a few weeks after I purchased Madden, which locked me out of the program forever. But in the brief time I had access to Madden, I came to understand the nuances of football far better than I ever had before. The keyboard and joystick interfaces were awkward and I almost always lost, but I began to comprehend some of the strategic depth of America's favorite sport. The very first Madden paved the way for a lifetime of armchair quarterbacking.
I was playing my best friend in Madden and was losing by six with about a minute to go. All he was doing was running the clock out but for some reason, he tried to trick me, and threw the ball with about 10 seconds left. I intercepted the ball and took it about 65 yards for the touchdown and won by one point. My friend raged out and actually broke the controller…but I think it's most likely because I took my shirt off and threw it in his face when I won.
I think it was Madden ‘92, when the ambulance would come out and hit everybody in its way to pick you up.
When I was 9 or 10 years old, I had just finished watching the movie Remember the Titans for the first time. Inspired by the movie, I went and played my dad's copy Madden 2001 PSX. While looking for a team to play, I saw the Tennessee Titans. Being 9 or 10 and not knowing anything about sports, I thought, "Wow! Remember the Titans was about a real NFL team!" So I played as the Titans and I loved Eddie George and Steve McNair in that game. I think I figured out pretty quick that the Tennessee Titans and the movie I just watched were unrelated, but I still had fun playing as the Titans on madden and continued to do so. I started to watch the Titans games on TV just to see George and McNair. And from that point on I became a Tennessee Titans fan. Next month I am actually going to Nashville to see them play for the first time!
I was playing with the Raiders against the Eagles, and they were up by less than seven points. The clock was running out. I could not stop it. They decided to kick a 56 or 58 yard field goal for the last play of the game. They kick it was short and Miller ran it back from the back of the end zone for a touchdown. This was on Madden ‘10. I used to have it saved in highlights. I think that PS3 died on me. It had a rating of 6000 something.
Playing my cousin and I’m up by three with 10 seconds left. He has the ball and only needs six yards for a touchdown. He decides to throw and makes a touchdown with one second left in the game. He does a squib kick and I return it for a touchdown to win the game.
My friend and I started a 20-minute-quarter match and it was getting intense. 4th quarter and there was about one minute on the clock. I was the Ravens and was 80 yards away from the end zone. 1st down I missed the pass, but I still had 2 more chances. 2nd down I ran about 2 yards before I was tackled. When it came to 3rd down I was scared. There were 40 seconds till the end of the game and my friend was up 51-49. It was my last chance to step up and win this long game. I managed to pull a shotgun pass; I then had to run about 70 yards to the end zone. Bernard Pierce has the ball and he is running like mad, the first line back tries to stop me and I jump. On the edge of the yard line, Pierce back on his feet has another 40 yards to cover. The last defense from my friend’s team tries to tackle me and I manage to swerve around him. 10 yards left and 7 seconds on the clock and my heart pumping I jump to the end zone and score the winning touchdown. Never have I wanted to cry of joy after scoring the winning touchdown for one of the longest games i had played!
It was Madden '09, the one that had Bret Favre on the cover. I was the Jets against the Bucs in an online ranked match, and it was a back and forth game the whole way. I had the ball at the end, down on the scoreboard but with the chance to win with a TD. I drove into the redzone and with 0:00 on the clock, I fired a ball into the back of the endzone with Favre that Chansi Stuckey came up with. Probably my most exciting Madden moment!
Madden ‘04, my brother was playing with the Falcons, and heavily favored Michael Vick. On a QB sneak, I broke his leg and he was out for the game. The very next play, he does a run, and as the guy starts running, my brother shouts "THIS IS FOR YOU MICHAEL VICK!" I don't remember who the runner was, but I did injure him in the ensuing tackle. My brother shut off the PS2.
Source : ign[dot]com