When it comes to American football games, few command as much attention as the Madden NFL series of games. With a legacy spanning multiple consoles and formats, Madden itself has become synonymous with American style football ever since its debut in 1988.
Published and developed by Electronic Arts, Madden NFL is named after Pro Hall of Fame member and football commentator John Madden. The game has sold over 120 millions copies to date and is hugely influential in the NFL and sports gaming more broadly.
John Madden Football in 1988 for the Apple II
Initially the idea for the Madden series came from EA founder Trip Hawkins, the same man who would later launch the failed 3DO console and company. Hawkins consulted the eponymous pro for his expertise on the game. Ever since its first release in 1988 the game has come out in annual installments that feature updated and modified gameplay.
The game bears the official NFL branding and sports the full complement of teams and their respective rosters. This feature alone is a huge draw for many NFL football fans, but it also lends that sheen of realism that John Madden wanted in the very first game. For his part, Madden provides consultation and guidance on successive installments in the franchise, a service for which he now receives $2 to $3 million annually.
John Madden Football on the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive
Madden has even influenced the way the American sport is being played on the field, with commentators calling this style of game “Maddenball.” Even sports broadcasting takes minor cues from the game in terms of visual presentation and the display of information. Madden is so huge for the NFL, in fact, it provides the second largest source of licensing revenue after merchandising and apparel.
One of the peak moments for the series arrived in