Madden 2009: The New Season Begins
The latest Madden goes on sale today. And, as always for the die-hards, a few stores opened their doors just past midnight last night to sell the first pile of copies of the massively popular football video game.
At the Rockville GameStop, a dozen or so guys were hanging around the store last night waiting to get their hands on the first copies of the game. One of the store's workers passed around some snacks and kept the group entertained with some trivia questions.
True or false -- the first version of Madden could only fit a total of six players on the screen. (True.)
What was the first version of Madden to be "Xbox Live" enabled? (2004.)
What was the name of John Madden's first book? (What? That's not a question, the crowd groans. Who reads?)
The cover of the new version of the football game franchise, which is now 20 years old, seems a little odd in light of recent events, as it features Brett Favre in a Packers uniform. Word going round the crowd is that the game's publisher, Electronic Arts, will soon post a downloadable version of the cover with Favre in a Jets uniform.
Rockville resident Fredy Crabajales said he has bought the game within the first day or so of its release every year since 2001. He's a veteran of these midnight events, having also come out to midnight openings to buy the games Halo 3 last year and Grand Theft Auto IV earlier this year.
Video game publisher Electronic Arts boasts that the new game has 85 new features, though Crabajales, like most of the crowd, doesn't know what they are. He's heard that the graphics are better than ever in this year's version, but even without new features, "I'd buy it anyway," he said.
Over at the Best Buy on Rockville Pike, high school senior Mike Allen waited near the back of the line with a couple of his friends. He and his buddies are on the football team at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School; when they aren't on the field, they're usually playing Madden, they said. They prefer to play online against each other than crowd into somebody's living room.
Allen doesn't know if there have been any changes in the new version of the game, but he hopes that EA has simplified it some from last year's version.
"Last year's version, they tried to do too much stuff, they made it too hard," said Allen.
He'll find out soon enough. A minute later, the store's doors opened. The Madden 2009 season has begun.
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