It's just about the only toy that can make a grown man giggle like a school girl. It doesn't have a convertible top, and you don't need to tie it down to a dock.
Or, in this case, Madden 13. There is a time-honored tradition of lining up at 12:01 am to be among the first to buy the newest installment of the iconic video game franchise. By and large, the people giggling with excitement while in line aren't adolescent boys… but middle-aged men acting like adolescent boys. I should know, because I'm one of those guys.
I first got into Madden when the coach himself, John Madden, was on the cover of the video game. Back then, you could hit an opposing player so hard that an ambulance would drive onto the turf and whisk the poor guy off the field. Even better, the ambulance would run over other players while driving onto the field. How cool is that? (Don't believe me? One guy posted an entire montage of ambulances on the field in Madden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_138p6uzhUk )
Times have changed, of course. The game has gotten so realistic, your wife will come into the room and ask who's winning the game, thinking you're watching a real NFL broadcast (trust me, it's happened in my house). But as "real" as the game is now, it still takes you back to when you were a kid.
When I got my copy of Madden this morning, I was practically jumping up and down in excitement, right in the middle of the newsroom. I already have a "playdate" scheduled with one of my co-workers, so we can play Madden when we both get off work late tonight. I do other "adult" things like golf and ski, but I swear nothing gets me giddier than Madden when it comes out every year.
So what is it about Madden that makes it so fun?
Maybe it's the anticipation of finding out how your team will look this season. I, for one, can't wait to see how my 49ers are rated as a team after they nearly went to the Super Bowl last season. Maybe Alex Smith will finally have decent ratings in the game, so I don't have to keep on trading for a new quarterback.
Maybe it's the new rookies that come into the league every year. How many people are going to play as the 1-and-15 Indianapolis Colts, just to see how Andrew Luck looks with that shiny horseshoe on the side of his helmet? I know I will.
Maybe it's the Madden Cover Jinx. This year, Calvin Johnson gets the honor (and misfortune) of being on the cover of Madden 13. I know of a few fantasy football owners who are already steering clear of the Detroit Lions wide receiver in the draft for fear of the dreaded curse.
Maybe it's a sure sign that football season is finally here. We wait from March all the way through August for the return of the NFL season. Without fail, Madden always comes out right before the start of the season, just to remind you that they're baaaaaack.
Or maybe it's the fact that grown men get to feel like a kid again, if only for a few hours, as they rip off the shrink rap like it's wrapping paper on Christmas Day.
And to all the wives out there – mine included – who roll their eyes when we plop down on the sofa and start our yearly Madden Marathon, I say this: Bring. It. On. It's all part of the Madden experience. Just like neighbors annoyingly turning on their lights at 5 am as you were practicing your free throws on the hoop above your garage, it comes with the territory. It's a rite of passage that every American Boy should experience… no matter how old you are.
Madden 13 will be released on August 28th, available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, and PC.
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