1988: Electronic Arts releases John Madden Football
Did you know that the ever-popular Madden series of football games got its start as a computer game? I had no idea until history informed me that yes! The original John Madden Football was released 25 years ago for DOS, the Apple II, and the Commodore 64. (Cross “platform” nonetheless!) The game was co-designed by sportscaster John Madden and players could choose to either coach a team they created or play as the football players.
Advertised as the “complete football game for the real fan,” John Madden Football was a fairly sophisticated sports game for its time. Play revolved around a “season” of 16 games, and there was a heavy reliance on stats. The top-down and across the field views helped give the game a sense of expansiveness. But slow controls sometimes hampered those playing as a team. If you chose to create and coach a team, the computer would take over the games, while you managed the plays and kept track of the stats.
As we remember Madden’s 25th anniversary, let us know your favorite Madden game in the comments!