Sunday, December 22, 2013

Remembering "Madden '92" for Christmas

Being a few days away from Christmas, one of the things that's fun about this time of year - beyond the broader meaning of the season, of course - is thinking about presents we received when we were younger.

One present that really stands out to me from my youth is something that's much older than any of the high school athletes I currently cover. But no matter how old it is, it's a great memory nonetheless.

In the early 90s, I was lucky enough as a kid to get "Madden '92" with my Sega Genesis for Christmas. While the evolution of gaming has been exponential since, that game will always carry a special place.

(Good luck trying to get that music out of your head.)

It took a little while to master the game, but once I did the most fun challenge came playing as the Bills.

I would play the Bills against the Cowboys - who weren't bad themselves, but were susceptible in Madden to running up the score. Thurman Thomas, by the game's attributes, had the best burst and spin of any running back. The right side of the Cowboys' defensive line was, at least on the game, blockable and very slow. So I would run Thomas on a halfback toss left on every single play ... and score TDs. It got to be so easy I would purposely run Thomas back to his own 1, purposely allow pursuit and score from there.

Another quirk within the game was Bruce Smith had a perfect attribute for speed. Smith is a Hall of Famer and one of the most dominant defensive linemen in NFL history, but to have the most speed of any player on the game was unfair. But it also created an advantage - easy pursuit of Troy Aikman for sacks from Smith's end spot, and then fourth down. When the Cowboys punted, I'd take control of Smith and run him back for punts. He would score every single time because the CPU opponent couldn't tackle him.

So that would allow for scores well more than 100-0 if I played my cards right, and it was fun.

And I've mentioned it before in this space while briefly mentioning "Madden '92," but we would be remiss talking about the game without bringing up the infamous ambulance:

Anyway, the point is being a kid and playing "Madden '92" - those were special days growing up.

Here's to hoping you can make someone younger feel the same way about a gift when we were that age. Merry Christmas and best wishes to you and your families during this holiday season.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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