“Visual Concepts’ original plans for Madden ’96 included full TV-like production, using the added CD space to bolster Madden’s audiovisual components. Many of the video sequences starred John Madden and co-anchor Pat Summerall, performing pre- and postgame routines. According to Rubinelli, Madden remained deeply involved with the franchise, dissecting rule changes and pointing out mistakes in both offense and defense as the team went on. Madden and Summerall’s professionalism continued into the video interstitial scenes, directed and scripted by Rubinelli.
“I wrote scripts for them by watching probably 100 hours of them broadcasting. … John took one look at the scripts that I wrote and said, ‘This is terrible. I would never say these things. Who wrote this shit?’ … He said, ‘You give me an unlimited number of scenarios, and Pat and I will just freestyle. We’ll ad lib.’ I gave them every possible scenario and they didn’t miss a beat. It was color as only Madden can do.”
Read my full feature on Madden ’96 at Polygon
“Scripting problems were first in a number of communication and approval problems with Warner. Problems arose with, of all things, Superman’s groin size. “We sent them the box art for the game and [they came back and said], ‘you need to make Superman’s package smaller. That’s a little too big. Superman wouldn’t look like that,'” says Nystrom.”
Read my full story on Superman Returns at Polygon
“Beginning with FIFA 2009, the Ultimate Team feature quickly escalated into a mainstay, the result of that dream-like, pretend billionaire culture. It’s a distinctly American thing in terms of pro football, if seemingly stronger post-recession when this all took off. Built on the idea of artificial scarcity and tantalizing reward screens, Madden 17’s Ultimate Team reaches a crescendo. Pyrotechnics flare when menu surfing. There are flashing lights, tempting countdown clocks and shimmering gold borders, all reaching maximum gaudiness in Madden 17.”
Read my full thoughts on Madden 17 via Paste Games
“Garden Warfare’s sequel is $60, runs on the technical background of EA’s multi-million dollar Battlefield series, needs a $300 console or super charged gaming PC, and has no tutorial. After five hours of play, it’s still unclear what Garden Warfare 2’s stars are for. Being connected online for a thin solo campaign, you cannot pause – you play when EA says you can. You can’t play on your bathroom break because you’re not allowed a bathroom break.
This is PopCap’s output now.”
Read my full Garden Warfare 2 review at Review ‘Em All
“Every driver is trying to stand out. They’re drifting through events, breaking time challenges; whatever is needed to be noticed. The culture feels crowded, racers bumping into one another for a chance to be seen or skim even a small fragment of fame. Races are less about who wins than they are about whose showmanship would rank higher in views. Need for Speed is a clean metaphor for internet content (and probably by total accident).”
Read my full thoughts on Need for Speed at Playboy
“Video games are an industry of visuals, where frame rates are counted and resolutions reach the peak of modern televisions. Those numbers, 60fps/1080p, are a sales pitch. They’re rated and reviewed. Audio is difficult to parse in ads, more so in text. There is a stadium intimacy to the NHL franchise, different from Madden’s 90,000 seat virtual domes or the reflective wooden floors of NBA Live. As NHL the series grew, so did the focus on audio.”
Read my look at NHL 16’s audio at Playboy
“EA’s bungling of NBA Live is even more remarkable, a stop-and-restart, cross-generational saga of stumbling releases leading to the late cancellation of a hyped rebranding—NBA Elite 11 was recalled days before fully shipping to stores. The full NBA fiasco, finally sorted by 2014, eventually led to an apology from the developers. “We fell short,” wrote Executive Producer Sean O’Brien—this after promotional teasers sold the next-gen basketball rebirth as “ultimate” because “science.” Falling short—and realizing it only in preparation to sell the following year’s iteration—has become EA Sports’ most enduring tradition, and Rory’s debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is just upholding it.”
Read my full piece on Rory McIlroy’s PGA Tour on Playboy.com