Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Back, Now With 100% More Broken

I think my back is finally broken. Metaphorically speaking.

Madden this year already featured the Old Spice Swagger Award, the Doritos Crunch of the Game, and every scoring drive included a drive summary sponsored by Verizon Wireless. That usually worked out to a dozen or more advertisements a game.

Yes, I am apparently no longer a gamer. I paid $60 to become an advertising receptacle.

With the last Madden patch, though, they broke my back. Now, additional ads occasionally pop up in-between plays, docked to the scoreboard.  See an example here.

I've easily spent 75+ hours working on sliders for this game. And this is a process I feel confident in saying that I have a high degree of skill.

The default ratings result in a complete abomination, statistically. After weeks of testing and tweaking, here is the statistical variance (based on 25 games) between CPU vs. CPU games in Madden (with my settings) and real NFL averages:
Total Points: -4.4%
Total Yardage: -8.4%
Passing Yardage: +1.8%
Rushing Yardage: -13.2%
Lost Fumbles: +10.4
Interceptions: -11.3%
Sacks: +12.7%

If you're used to the accuracy of baseball text-sims, those numbers might not look that good. Achieving that level of statistical accuracy with a graphics-based game, though, is far more difficult. That's the highest level of statistical fidelity I've ever seen in a game where the graphics come first.
As I'm testing, though, watching these CPU vs. CPU games, I see these ads pop up, and when I do, I ask myself how I can justify putting all this free time into a game that has so little respect for the customer?  

The answer: I can't.

That's why I'm finishing off the Coach sliders this week and making a cursory attempt at Play sliders for another few days.

Then, I'm done.

I'll play Backbreaker or NHL, both of which are far more fun to play. NHL, even though it's an EA title, doesn't spend the entire game jamming ads up my ass.

Madden's two-minute A.I. is fantastic, and I can tolerate everything that doesn't work quite right. What I can't tolerate is being perceived as an unlimited revenue stream by a company inserting additional ads via patches.

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