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Why Madden ads are more creative than Madden games

Why Madden ads are more creative than Madden games

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I am sympathetic to the pressure of making Madden games. The creators of the football franchise are dually burdened by reality and expectations. Fans demand an increasingly lifelike simulation of professional football, while also wanting each entry to be garnished with uniqueness, though no one game should be so new and interesting that its changes devalue the players’ skills, honed over decades of gradual updates.

The results: each Madden features a handful of improvements, with the occasional dipping of a toe into a bigger theory of design, testing the waters of fandom to see if it’s worth gradually stepping all the way in. And each Madden nets criticism for not doing enough, or sometimes for doing too much. For these reasons, the people who promote Madden must constantly find ways to decorate the rigid, iterative series so that it appears new and fresh and also like more of the familiar, comforting stuff fans love.

The marketers are, to say the very least, excellent at their job.

"Start Me" is a parody of "Sorry" by Justin Bieber, though it also reminds me of underrated Michael Keaton comedy Multiplicity. Multiple clones of Super Bowl 50 MVP, Dancing with the Stars contestant, and Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller enumerates the number of reasons you should start him on your fictional Madden team. "Stop all players just using my body," sings Miller, "Just start me, just start me."

Last year, we saw Madden: The Movie, starring everyone from Dave Franco, Rex Ryan, Antonio Brown, and plenty of other actors, athletes, and hybrid football weapons:

In 2014, we got the rivalry of Dave Franco and Kevin Heart.

Madden 25 was promoted with this nugget of promotional gold:

The commercials don’t make many big promises about the games themselves. If anything, they focus on real-world celebrities having a good time with the latest and greatest entry. That’s really what the ads are selling.

"This is Madden," they say. "You love buying this game every year, and hey, that opportunity has come again."

Madden ads: the video game equivalent of a Google Calendar reminder — just far flashier.

And here’s a reminder that our sister-site Polygon is the best place to read about each new entry. They have, in Samit Sarkar and Owen Good, two of my favorite reporters in the sports games beat. Both also appear in the sports games podcast, Press Row.

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The Simpsons pays tribute to Chrome’s dino game.

Season 34 of The Simpsons kicked off on Sunday night with an opening credits “couch gag” based on the offline dino game from Google’s Chrome browser. Cactus, cactus, couch, d’oh! Perfect.


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Table breaks before Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire glass.

”It’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Apple at the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra (read The Verge review here). YouTuber TechRax put that claim to the test with a series of drop, scratch, and hammer tests. Takeaways: the titanium case will scratch with enough abuse, and that flat sapphire front crystal is tough — tougher than the table which cracks before the Ultra fails — but not indestructible.


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Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


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Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


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We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


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Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


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Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.