It’s becoming harder and harder to enjoy football, and not just because the Jets are abysmal this season. No, between the game-delaying rule changes and mindless officiating, there’s the simple truth that my consumption of this near-blood sport is contributing to the early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s, and countless other foggy brain syndromes arrived at from year upon year of sickening collisions. Maybe it’s the HDTV’s higher resolution, maybe it’s all the recent reporting, perhaps it’s that new surround-sound system that makes you snap your head around to see where that bone-breaking crunch just came from, but it’s really hard to distance yourself from the raw damage of the game itself.
Advantage: Madden NFL ’15. Video games aren’t quite at that uncanny valley of simulation yet where I have to feel sorry for artificial injuries, too. But they are at the fidelity where a simulated game can come pretty close to the real thing. Better yet, if you’ve watched Breaking Madden, they can come pretty far away from the real thing, too. Yes, yes, the basic rules of the game still apply, in that you transport the ball from one end of the field to the other while staying within bounds, either passing or running to do so. But you can alter settings to make a God-like player on the field without the mess of steroids and the fear of some horrible domestic incident just waiting to happen that one time that his wife forgets to have dinner ready. You can make the entire opposing team into clumsy midgets. And then you can watch them collide time and time and time again, a fantasy highlight reel of bloopers that never were and never will be, because, let’s be honest, the police would’ve showed up a long time ago to arrest just about everybody involved in the computerized atrocities you’re about to witness.
Breaking Madden isn’t interested in showing you how to play the game properly, or to teach you something about the finer points of Madden. It’s about breaking the game in hilarious ways, with hours of agonizing, repetitive gameplay edited down into that one perfect reel for your entertainment. This week, it’s about watching Tom Brady, good old Touchdown Tom, attempt to perform a QB sneak from his team’s one-yard line, and not stopping until he finally gets there. No matter how long it takes. Previous weeks have included quests to get 201 sacks in a single game, or the aforementioned match-ups in which the Davids of this world not only lose to the Goliaths, but do so in spectacular slow motion.
I advise you to check out the series here, at Breaking Madden. Don’t do it at work. You’ve been warned.