‘Madden 2004’ scores spot in great gaming

Editor’s Note: This is an article in our ongoing “Great Video Game” series in which readers and staffers alike are asked to submit a few hundred words about a video game that they consider to be great. To celebrate Robert Griffin III’s appearance on the cover of “NCAA Football 13,” previous submitter Daniel Pope is taking a victory lap in our “Great Video Game” series and has taken the time to reflect on a classic EA Sports-made football game, “Madden NFL 2004.”

By Daniel Pope

“Great job, teammate! We just won the big game! We are now the winners of the National Football League’s championship!”

If you’re anything like me, you’ve dreamed of hearing these exact words spoken to you, but have sadly never had the opportunity. To ease the pain, EA Sports created the “Madden NFL” videogame series. The series gives gamers the chance to make a big time scoring drive and will your team to victory. In my opinion, “Madden NFL 2004” is the best of the series.

In “Madden NFL 2004” you start out with all of the NFL teams being unlocked. This is a really savvy strategy by EA Games, because players like having the freedom of choosing whichever squad they like.

That being said, it’s too bad you can’t play as college teams. I know I’m not the only one who’d like to see the 2003 Seattle Seahawks battle it out against the 2003 Minnesota Golden Gophers. Man, what a thrill. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

The biggest surprise for me about this game is that you can even play in the Super Bowl. I fully expected the game to end and the credits to roll after winning the conference championship game. But no, lo and behold the developers threw in the Super Bowl as icing on the cake. Living in the age of expansion packs and downloadable content, it is nice to know that there are some video game companies willing to go the extra mile for their consumers.

It is interesting looking at “Madden NFL 2004” eight years later. For instance, did you know that the Cleveland Browns used to struggle mightily to score touchdowns? Bizarre, I know. Also, the Baltimore Ravens used to be known as potential Super Bowl contenders in the need of a franchise quarterback. It’s funny how things change.

Have you ever wanted to make a blockbuster NFL trade but just lacked the resources to seal the deal? Well, in “Madden NFL 2004” you can make any sort of trade you desire: from the blatantly unfair (Ricky Proehl for Marvin Harrison) to the irrelevant (Tim Rattay for Josh McCown) to the Dan Snyder-esque (a first, second and third round draft pick Jeff George.)

Eight years later the “Madden” series is still going strong. Games released these days for the next-generation consoles have better graphics and more in-depth customization than their PS2/Xbox counterparts once did. But for my money, the 2004 entry is still the pinnacle.

We may never make it to the National Football League, but thanks to John Madden and his video games, we can all take part in the gridiron fun.

Does reading this article make you think of a video game that you consider great? Please send us an email at lariat@baylor.edu with a suggestion for a “Great Video Game.” Please include a few hundred words on why you consider your game to be great and you just might find your opinion here.