Super Bowl crisis: The game's coming up and I don't have enough money for beer. (I don't even have enough for Bud.) And since watching the four-hour pregame sober counts as attempted suicide in my book, I developed a four-step financial plan.
In order to successfully predict the Super Bowl, I decided to watch several simulated showdowns, forcing consoles to play with themselves for my amusement (something I'm almost certain counts as a fetish) and rating their performance on three factors:
How valid I think the game's prediction is. For example, it's helpful to play a few warm up rounds. If a console predicts that the Rams will win anything ever, it loses all credibility.
Each game will result in a prediction on the Super Bowl. If you actually needed that sentence, I would like to bet everything against everything you do.
The Super Bowl is about the score in the same way James Bond is about the civil services. This section will rate each game on how exciting it was, instead: Did it come down to the wire? Did the best team win? Did I stay awake past the coin toss? In this case, I've redefined "excitement" on a scale where "the doorbell ringing" counts as one-million choirs of angels.
5Madden 10 - XBox 360
I reassured my wife that I was planning our financial future as I inserted the Madden 10 disc, and decided she was probably packing her bags for the holiday. The holiday I'd buy with my winnings!
My financial advisor.
Powering up the game, I was treated to an inspirational video so self-affirming I thought I'd accidentally loaded Tina Turner 10. To reassure me that I was really living the life of a simulated NFL player, I was asked to accept a contract... and deal with advertising offers. And fill out a survey. And provide an e-mail home address, password and account information. I was half expecting to be asked to represent the player's union in a prolonged labor dispute by the time the game started.
I chose the teams, setting the game to "Spectator" and sat down to watch the synthetic Super Bowl. EA immediately assured me that SNICKERS was CHOMPTASTIC before running a ticker-ad for an ad for a trailer for EA's Mass Effect 2--it was rapidly becoming clear that I had paid money for the privelage of watching advertising. But the negative feelings were quickly washed away by nostalgia as the computerized commentators started off their telecast referring to "THIS TEAM versus THAT TEAM" as though their nuts are slammed in a desk every time they say a proper noun.
Madden 10 seems determined to add a frightening level of realism to the game, but when the feature list includes "animated hand towels," I begin to wonder if they're really focusing on the important stuff. When it adds "up to nine-men gang tackles," I wonder if the game was outsourced to a Japanese company that got the wrong impression from all the sweaty grappling.
The Japanese Madden '95
Plus, EA had Madden 10 predict the Super Bowl at the start of the season and gave it to the Patriots. And I just can't trust a Patriots fan.
The Colts win 35-27. Computer-Madden adds that Addai and Bush put forth powerful running games.
It's a solid attempt, but it can't quite simulate the feel of a real Super Bowl. I mean, the screen is an authentically choked gaggle of random ads and irrelevant bullshit, it's just that all the ads are for the same three things. And none of those ads feature offensively obvious pandering by way of boobies, so this is clearly not the Super Bowl.
4Madden 09, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03 - Xbox 360
I repeated the experiment on every iteration of Madden released from 2003-2009, and obtained exactly the same results with minor graphical changes.