Dateline : 28th November 2011


Time for some top sports action from the good old US of A. It might look like rugby for nancies, what with all that padding and stuff, but by gum does Madden play a damn good game of football….


About as close as you can get to being the great man himself without the need to buy a large mobile home

I got back into American Football in the early 1980’s when my dad insisted on making us sit around the black-and-white portable and watch the snowy reception on Channel 4. There are many things wrong with that statement, most notably the fact we had a B&W portable TV (and I believe we still had it until around 10 years ago), but also the issue being when Channel 4 first started we couldn’t actually get a signal. We sat watching a snowy picture and listening to the commentary. I think my dad preferred it this way because in those days you could still pick up the Armed Forces radio carrying live NFL matches on Sunday evenings.


(Please pause for a moment, RetroBear is going to wipe his eyes and take a moment whilst fondly remembering those more innocent days…..)


Right I am back from the trip, I hope you enjoyed it as much as me. So anyway I was, and am, still fascinated with the NFL. That is why I usually have to make sure there is at least one NFL game in my collection per machine. The last I actually purchased was Madden 07 for the PS3, but I do remember playing a copy of the first Madden game on the Amiga. For those of you not in the know, the Madden series (named after the former coach and TV commentator John Madden) is the most successful and long running sports-game franchise ever.


A very decent representation of the real game - all team colours are correct and the whole thing moves very nicely indeed


I am not going to go into the ins-and-outs of how to play the game, because each game comes with so many choices of plays, tactics and things to select I’d be here all day typing. Quite frankly if you are not an NFL fan then you won’t be buying this game on the off chance. My happiest memories of the Madden series came when I purchased a copy of the 94 version for the Mega Drive, which I had newly acquired from a mate at college.


In those days graphically Madden didn’t have a lot to get excited about. Although all the teams colours and helmet images were nicely done and the players were well animated, it didn’t really push the boundaries of the Mega Drive. The 94 version had the great man himself popping up with bits of speech before games, and during the games quipping a few lines here and there as well with his trademark “bang” and “pow” if you made a rather good hit on your opponent. There have always been tonnes of options, such as playing a full season, exhibition modes and the chance to play as classic teams.


It's another 49er 1st down.......


For anyone into the NFL, such as myself, this sort of game was a delight. You had stats coming out of your ears, you could select from hundreds of plays on offence, defence and special teams. You had fumbles, interceptions and even penalties. Crowning the whole impressive package was the facility to save everything via battery back-up, meaning you could play full length seasons over a time period and win the Superbowl again and again. Picking the right time of course was most helpful and having just given it a whirl again a good pick would be Dallas (although as a 49er fan I must now go and thrash myself thoroughly)


Non-NFL fans won’t get much from this, as it simply isn’t the sort of game you can pick up and play. For that you need to look at either the NFL Quarerback Club series or NFL Blitz which simplifies the games and isn’t as heavy on the stats or playbooks. If though you love your NFL this is an essential pick for your collection.


VERDICT : Pro-Bowl bound, Madden NFL94 is one of the best NFL games I have ever played. It still goes pretty well today, if you can cope with the obvious out of date teams.


NOTES : You can own this game for 97p on Amazon and 99p on eBay.


UP NEXT : Educational genius or just a way to brainwash kids into thinking computer games can also help you learn ? Either way it’s a double entry (oooo matron) with Granny’s Garden and Mallory Manor on the BBC Micro…