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Madden Commodore 64 1989

It’s that time of year again! Time to go out, be a good little drone, and pick up a copy or three of this year’s Madden iteration. This year you’ll be able to pick up the ubiquitous franchise on PC (Windows), Playstation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Gamecube, DS, PSP, GBA, and yes, even your mobile phone (hey, where’s my BeOS version??!?). And of course, when the Wii and PS3 launch in a few months, you can get your Madden on with them too.

The good news is the console versions at least seem to be garnering fairly respectable reviews across the board - IGN.com, Gamespot, and 1up.com all give the franchise fairly high marks (7.7 - 8.5) for its notably improved graphics, online play and added features like Create-A-Player. The bad news, of course, is that you probably won’t be able to play the game online for more than about a year and will have to fork out another $60-$70 next year to keep playing.

Still, the popularity of Madden is absolutely staggering - analysts predict that the title could become a million-seller within as little as 5 days, and could earn EA about $210 million in revenue for the year (about 7% of its total annual revenue of $3 billion). Click below for the Reuters news brief.

Read More | Reuters

Gallery: Madden ‘07 Out Now for Every Platform Imaginable


Madden 07 Xbox 360As the official release of Madden 2007 nears, a couple of online sites have been able to get their hands on the final code for their perusal. Two sites, Operation Sports and Madden Nation, uncovered what they felt were a couple of glitches in the gameplay. The first involved the presence of “Hall of Fame” players on the rosters of teams in franchise mode. The second involved a problem with the fatigue in game. Players noticed that the fatigue bars for players never seemed to go down while playing, regardless of whether or not the feature was toggled. 1up followed up with David Ortiz, who led the team for the Xbox 360 version to investigate the problem.

Ortiz’s response seemed to downplay the concerns of the hardcore fans of the game. For the first problem EA was able to offer a workaround, so that players could eliminate spurious “Hall of Fame” players from their roster. That this behavior seemed to contradict the feature as outlined during EA’s Community Day was not addressed.

The response to the second issue was less inspiring. Ortiz believed that the issue was with the UI, and not the actual fatigue algorithms, which he said was set “at a lower pace than in the past… we’re addressing and fixing [it] right now.” Any fix would be addressed via online patch.

This isn’t the first time that a Madden game has had problems with fatigue. Gamers were able to abuse the fatigue function in Madden NFL 2005 so badly in online play that EA’s only suggestion was to turn off the feature entirely. Now, a new type of fatigue bug is present and EA’s response is that there will be a patch provided online. Bugs of this nature should be caught before release, but basically EA can slack off for their releases.

Because the Xbox 360 has access to live updates, games can be patched after release; Many Xbox 360 games have already been patched, and EA is not proving to be any different. EA also has no competition in the football realm, so either gamers buy EA’s offering or they don’t play. This basically allows EA to be arrogant and minimize the concerns of what could be EA’s strongest boosters. Last year, EA was able to release an Xbox 360 version that looked good, but was missing a number of features. As the only game in town, there’s not a lot of incentive to treat their fans right.

Read More | 1up

Gallery: Madden 360: Issues Surface, EA Downplays Concerns

Donkey Kong DunkingWhile Mario Hoops has recently shipped in Japan, US gamers won’t see a localized version until September. For those anxious to see the game in motion, Nintendo has launched the “Dunk of the Week” on their official web site for the game. The release of preview videos echoes the marketing leading up to the release of New Super Mario Bros., where new power-ups where shown from week to week. This week’s dunk features Donkey Kong hitting the basket for 59 points – this isn’t a basic basketball game.

Read More | Mario Hoops

Gallery: Mario Hoops “Dunk of the Week” Video Online

Rockstar's Table Tennis LogoRockstar’s surprise foray on the Xbox 360, officially titled Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis, is now available as a demo download from the Xbox Live Marketplace. For those of you that are on the fence as to whether Rockstar’s non-GTA product is worth your while, this should help you decide. As noted on Microsoft guru Major Nelson’s blog, the demo is available for download now but is a limited time trial. At the end of August, the title will expire - turning into a useless lump of 526 MB on your 360’s hard drive. If you’re hooked by then it’s time to shell out $39.99 for the full version.

Read More | MajorNelson.com

Gallery: Rockstar’s “Table Tennis” Demo Available for Download from Xbox Live

Ape Escape BoxWe earlier speculated that Sony would be releasing a list of “Greatest Hits” bargain-priced titles for the PSP. Well, it turns out the rumors were true—Sony has just released a list of titles that will now be available for $20, though it’s somewhat underwhelming (no Lumines!). The list includes lots of PSP games with colons in their title (i.e. remakes / ports)

  • Ape Escape: On the Loose
  • Offroad Fury: Blazin’ Trails
  • Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee
  • Twisted Metal: Head On
  • Wipeout Pure.

More titles will join the Greatest Hits library later in the year, including Lumines, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, Star Wars Battlefront(TM) II, Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix, and Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade.

Read More | Yahoo.com

Gallery: Sony Unveils Initial PSP “Greatest Hits” Offerings

Half-Life 2EA recently hosted the Summer Showcase to highlight some of their upcoming products, and Gamespot blogged a live report from the presentation.

Mythic was there, and showed off the E3 Warhammer Online trailer, but there was no information on their work on Ultima Online.

Valve’s Gabe Newell was also there. He first talked about the latest upgrades to the Source engine for Episode 2. Then, he showed off the prototype for a new game with a working title of Portal. Team Fortress 2 was shown and features a new look and feel; the game has been remade to have more of a 60’s era spy movie sensibility. Half-Life: Episode 2 will apparently hit the PC, Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3 on the same day. Console gamers will also get all previous Half-Life 2 content, so it looks like the Xbox 360 Half-Life 2 rumors were true.

Other game titles discussed include the recently announced Lord of the Rings: The White Council, and the six Wii games that EA announced earlier. Need for Speed: Carbon was shown for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and apparently looked very similar. There was other mystery content announced that could not be talked about, so hopefully more information about those titles will leak out in the near future.

Read More | Gamespot

Gallery: Half-Life 2 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 Announced

NCAA 07 Xbox 360 BoxA demo for NCAA 07 is now available on the Xbox Live Marketplace.  NCAA 07 hits store shelves on July 18th.  The demo allows you to play as Florida or Florida State and weighs in at 1.05 GB.  Unfortunately in their desire to lock down the demo EA has limited the quarter length to 1 minute.  This setting limits you to roughly 1 set of downs per quarter with a large disruption in play at halftime.  I was excited for NCAA 07 but if the final product looks and feels like the demo, it will be a long wait for a decent football game on the Xbox 360.

Read More | Major Nelson

Gallery: NCAA 07 Demo Available

Tiger Woods 07 Xbox 360 ScreenshotNintendo may still be the console underdog in the next-gen race, but Electronic Arts has dropped some more good news for those folks rooting for the Wii. In a recent statement, EA announced that they will be developing 4 newly-announced titles, bringing their commitment up to 6 titles once you include the already-announced Madden and Need for Speed: Carbon. The new games are from the Harry Potter, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, SSX, and Godfather franchises. Straight from the release:

“Once we started to experiment with Madden on Wii, there was an explosion of innovation. Everyone in the studio is energized by the creative opportunity afforded by both the hardware and controller. By reaching into our catalogue, we are able to bring a fresh and distinctive experience to some of EA’s most popular franchises. Creatively, the game play possibilities are staggering and endless,” said John Schappert, Senior Vice President and General Manager, EA.

So for those worried about graphically toned-down ports of PS3 titles that use the “classic” controller, it sounds like your fears have been allayed. EA most likely will find innovative ways to use the Wiimote and nunchuk attachment to bring these games to life.

Though I’m usually none too excited about sports titles, the addition of Tiger Woods is huge - ever since the Wiimote was announced folks have been talking about how it could be used creatively for sports games like golf and tennis, and it’s great to see the first real golf game (read: not Wii Sports: Golf) that will take advantage of the control system.

Read More | EA Press Release via Gamespot.com

Gallery: EA Support for Wii Grows to Six Titles

Tony Hawk's Project 8

Team Xbox was able to grab some screen-shots from the latest Tony Hawk incarnation, known as Tony Hawk’s Project 8.  The game was rebuilt specifically for the next-gen consoles and from this early look the time spent was well worth it.  Tony and friends will be hitting the Xbox 360 and the PS1, PS2, and PS3.  Absent from the lineup is an original Xbox version and any showing on a Nintendo console.  Project 8 is due out this fall when the drought of Xbox 360 games comes to an end.

Read More | Team Xbox

Gallery: Tony Hawk’s Project 8 Screenshots

NHL 07When EA announced their cover athlete for NHL 07 last week, Nintendo fanboys noticed that there was no mention of a Gamecube or Nintendo DS version.  Nintendo followed up with an EA publicist to find out if the list was a final console rundown.  EA did confirm that NHL 07 will not be making an appearance on the Gamecube or the DS, however they confirmed support for the DS with other titles and hope to work with the Wii in the future.  Let’s hope that EA will kick it up when the Wii is released this fall.

Read More | Nintendojo

Gallery: EA Confirms No NHL 07 For Gamecube or DS