The 20 Best Madden Innovations!

Madden Bible Presents : EA Sports 20 Best Madden Ideas

Being young enough to still count my birthdays is a nice thing, but opening a new copy of Madden always increases the fun! Each year the games release falls right within the week I celebrate my birthday (a whole week, why not?) Putting that disc in and seeing if the new features are just hype or actually game changers always adds to the excitement.

Each year the game must change and adapt from last years version. EA must add new features to keep there non rabid fans coming back and not calling the game merely a “roster update” While some years bring on large changes like the vision cone, its often the more subtle updates that make this game awesome.

Sometimes I feel EA feels forced into making big changes so that when we pick up the back of the box we will be excited! (say a halftime show like one game famously had) This might get my attention and ultimately my 60 dollars but I am not going to spend 100+ hours watching the halftime show, I am gonna spend it playing the meat and potatoes of the game, GAMEPLAY. This is where something small that gets no press like saving online depth charts matters to me, not a back of the box feature like fight for the fumble.

1 Practice Mode (Lab)- No doubt that Lab mode and online game play are the Chicken and the Egg of video games. If you want to become the best Madden player than you need to spend time in the lab. There is only so much you can do in game and sometimes need to step back to make it all work. The only negative is that it sometimes can lead to people developing glitches. We would love to see some online practice mode support in the upcoming game!

2. Taking the game online- This spawned a new generation of trash talking Madden players that got tired of beating up on the computer. Since everyone is the best Madden player they know, Online became huge. It has its share of kinks but being able to get a game anytime, anywhere is awesome!

3 Watching replays after the game- This is a new feature that allows you to look at plays after the game. You can start to look into opponent’s plays and figure out why he completed a 3rd and 26 against you. This is for the more advanced gamer but can be a great tool in working on your game.

4 Draft Classes- Importing classes from NCAA was a win-win for EA. It made the fans happy to continue there seasons of NCAA and EA sold a lot more copies of NCAA Football. If only this game could predict busts a little better. Vince Young killed me in my Madden 07 Dynasty after being imported with 93 speed.

5 Smart Defense- For anyone who hates getting the same play ran on them over and over this weapon surely helped. One place where it was great was online where kids exploit certain routes. Too bad our plays our so good that even when you know they are coming, you still can’t stop them.

6. Defensive playmakers – Being able to put individual defenders in certain areas is a huge upgrade that is often overlooked. You should be making many pre snap adjustments with your defense as you do on offense. Get in that Qb’s head? Did I just hit blitz or spy? Find out when you snap it.

7 Packaging Players- This saved a lot of time and helped you get your players in good position to make big plays. My favorite packages are 5 wide bunch TE Slot and Trips WR Rotate. This moved Moss to the outside for that deep post to paydirt.

8 Hot Routes- I remember slowly figuring out how to learn this. It changed a lot of the things you could do on offense. I was a huge fan of calling one play and adjusting each route accordingly. With Peerless Price and his 97 speed in the slot and big bad Brian Finneran on the outside, whichever way the defense thought I was going, I was going the other way with a quick press of the buttons.

9 Defensive assignments- That’s right, following the success of NFL 2k5 you could lock you best DB onto the other teams WR and lock him up. This feature would have saved me 7 points in last years game. If a WR moved to the slot and you lost him, this would solve it.

10 Formation Shifting- turn any play into 4 pre set formations.- May have had its bugs, but it also created some fun situations where you could get your playmakers into unique spots on the field. Moss at TE anyone?

11. Quick audibles – Allowed you to change your audibles on the fly. This way you didn’t have to go into the menu and change them. this was HUGE for tournaments because if you pause at tourneys to change stuff you have to CALL A TIMEOUT.

12R-stick audibles - (formation specific pre-set audibles) – This was a big feature that I never became very good with. Sgibs used this to dominate though. He could have 55 million plays ready to go at anytime.

13 Hit Stick- Ray Lewis graced the cover for this implementation. I must say this made defense fun to play. Another fun thing was running for TD’s past all the missed hit stick tackles. How can you resist?

14 Truck Stick- It was used to combat the devastation of the hit stick. You now had an answer on offense. It may have led to Jamal Lewis being overpowered but nothing feel quite as good as trucking someone. Now that the highlight stick goes in all 4 directions, it really adds to the game.

15 Madden Original Gen Training Camp- These modes really helped you hone your skill, upgrade players and kill some time. You could hop on for one round with a friend and three hours later still be playing rushing attack. My favorite was by far DB swat without a doubt! I also liked the teams reflective of there star. Champ Bailey, were boys.

16 Fantasy Draft- This mode should be higher and if there is online draft as predicted in this article, then It will be my favorite mode of all time. After figuring out all the cpu draft habits though I feel like I am cheating.

17 New Kicking Meter – It takes less skill and leads to automatic FG’s, however, I feel EA had to change it to combat online lag. This meter addressed problems and made it good to kick online. It may take no skill but atleast you don’t lose a big game because of lag.

18. Y Button to Sub at Playcall screen- This simple yet effective update saved people a lot of time and also allowed them to get there weapons in all the big spots. Yes, Limas Sweed please take your 6’4 frame to the outside in 4 WR and tell Hines Ward to learn how to rocket or go sit on the bench. Hines please get out there and run block and tell Sweed to go take a seat.

19. Playmaker Stick- Madden 05 allowed me to run around with Vick and tell a receiver which way to go. While my friends hated this feature it created a dynamic in the game and for maybe the first time in Madden history the game didn’t feel pre determined. I usually know where I am going before the play, with this I could extend plays and get guys where I needed them to be.

20. Windowless passing- We can use this to come full circle. The game would never have evolved if not for some brave developing moves. This allowed the game to look more like real football. Each year the game takes chances, some stick and others may not, but you can’t remain stagnant if you want to become the best.

These are examples of features that might not make the back of the box but do big things in making the game fun to play. This year I look forward to seeing the small innovations that the EA team has added to the game. I feel the developers are big fans of the series and know what the true Madden fans want. It isnt about having choreographed cheerleader routines, but about the subtle differences that make the game fun to play. If you would like to add any please post in the comments. Thanks

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About the Author: ZFarls is a 23 Year Old Madden Baller from Boston, MA. Along with Sgibs, he owns Madden Bible and looks to give players advanced strategies and tactics to win more madden games. He preaches confidence in what you are running and knowing the situation you are in. Everything else will come naturally!

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