More specifically, is Madden NFL the right way to experience mediated, participatory gridiron game-play? According to this Yahoo article, there’s more than one way to make a touchdown, tackle, interception or sack with circuitry, software, and a controller. Its name is Backbreaker. The Jonas Brothers and Madden NFL are roughly the same age (using an average of their birth years–late 80s through early 90s). By the time Backbreaker reaches ten years of age, two of the J. Bros will be old enough to run for the US Senate.
Detour: Nick Jonas as part of the USC Trojans.
Joe Dodson, the article’s author, discusses how BackBreaker differs from Madden in the aesthetic, functional, and game-play areas. What I found particularly intriguing was that, “Backbreaker football is that it uses an up close and personal camera perspective to put you right in the middle of a given play. Instead of following the action from a bird’s eye view a la Madden, you’ll look right over your player’s shoulder” and “Instead of relying on motion capture, the Euphoria engine uses physics to figure out how every collision would actually happen.”
I’ve never played Madden but have seen other people do it. Whenever I go to Best Buy and walk towards the video game section, I always linger around the large screens that have on Madden. Be it demo or an actual person at the controller, I can’t help but pause and momentarily lose myself in the images. Yes, the Skycam perspective can grow pedestrian as we become accustomed to its gliding, swooping movements. Yes, being above the plays and not in them can dilute the sense of interactivity, nonetheless, that above is a privileged position.
And now for an IGN review of Madden NFL 10:
Whether or not being in the herd and on the field make for a better playing experience is entirely up to the individual. You can watch a Backbreaker trailer on the Yahoo page. Do you enjoy feeling as though you and your player are two collaborative but separate entities, that you are controlling his every decision and every movement? or do you prefer a point-of-view that simulates becoming one with your player? I never thought I’d make a reference to that James Cameron picture in a blog post, but I find it a fitting analogy, so here goes: In other words, would you want to be fully awake and outside of the avatar you are moving? or, would you elect to go into a sleep-state so that you could be puppeteer and puppet in the same body?
Actually, that’s not an ideal comparison. If Backbreaker were a virtual reality football video-game, then I could apply the avatar concept. Well, same question. As a matter of fact, let’s pretend that virtual reality football vide0-game exists. Would it enhance or distract from fantasy football? I think it would be kind of cool; role-playing sports video game that isn’t “standing” around thinking about strategy. You could tackle someone a time zone away and not worry about turf toe or horse collaring.
J. Bros and U Troj pix creds: google image search