Like every man with a genuine penis between their legs, aged 18 – 35, I’ve spent many of my years playing the SHIT out of Madden football. I had a pretty solid run where I picked up every game from like 2001 until 2007 or 2008 maybe, and a buddy and I would get together every fall and play that fucker dead. We would do two things. Together we would play one season. We would start by simulating a season and then draft for two of the worst teams in the two conferences and then play the next season as those teams. We would draft our stars and build the franchise up, playing two, three, four seasons until the next Madden came out. I have surprisingly great memories of me playing as the Bengals, Raiders, and Giants before … well, before the Giants were any good. I actually had Tim Hasselbeck (yes, TIM) take over for them one season at QB when Eli went down and my buddy and I played an overtime Super Bowl that was pants shittingly awesome. The other thing I would do is always play the season through as the Vikings. I’d play the game week to week with the real regular season and see how much better I would do. The Vikings always won the Super Bowl (obviously), and the next seasons were always repeats. My favorite part of it all though was frequently the offseason. Whether it was actually Madden of NFL 2K series (which were plenty awesome), I would put together the most bitching Vikings teams ever. I remember one time I compiled a defensive backfield of Antoine Winfield, Samari Rolle (when he was good), and Phillip Buchanon when he was younger. This was on top of keeping Moss, Culpepper, and kicking Matt Birk’s ass to the curb because he was demanding too much money. I always loved the training camp parts of Madden as well. I always ended up sucking at the quarterback part where you had to pass to receivers through hoops like a damn zoo seal, but I would CRUSH at the pocket presence one. I’M LIKE A JEDI!! That was also beneficial because Culpepper was a retard and needed all the help I could provide him. My buddy and I would also kill at the running back contests and eventually we became ridiculously awesome at the cornerback drills. The easiest money saver was to sign a free agent cornerback on the cheap who was young and fast and then build him up through training camp exercises. He was fucking amazing by the time the fist progressions came out during the regular season. The one camp game that always got me though was the defensive end rushing one. I could never get better than a silver on it. Pissed me off. Like many people though who grow older and get real jobs that suck your soul dry, I’ve pretty much stopped playing Madden. Part of it is the time it takes to invest in it, part of it is that the next gen Maddens just don’t have the same simplicity and kitch to it. Honest to god I have some of my best memories with my friend from when we played some Madden seasons together or some NCAA seasons. The double overtime game he played as Penn State. Me chasing down Donovan McNabb for a winning touchdown as the Bengals. Our epic Super Bowl match. That shit was fun. Now? … I don’t know. It feels kind of trite, and I don’t like that. Instead, I’m all about stealth kills during the Renaissance.