John Madden Football
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|John Madden Football|
|Publisher: Electronic Arts|
|Developer: Park Place Productions|
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive|
|Number of players: 1-2|
John Madden Football, known as John Madden American Football in Europe, is an American football game developed by Park Place Productions and published by Electronic Arts. It is the second in the long line of Madden titles, which have been released annually since the creation of this game. The previous game, also called John Madden Football, was released in 1988 and is largely unrelated to this one, aside from the similar themes; that game received a sequel of its own after this one, in 1991 (John Madden Football II)
John Madden Football for the Mega Drive can be seen as "Madden '91", being followed by John Madden Football '92, '93, '94 and so on. Every game has been named after John Madden, American football player, coach and commentator.
Having seen success and rapid growth in supporting the home computer market, Electronic Arts chose in 1989 to make the move into video games, and more specifically, the Sega Mega Drive. However EA were not keen on paying royalties to Sega (roughly $8-$10 USD per cartridge), and so invested time and money in reverse engineering the console in an attempt to circumvent these policies.
However, unlike Nintendo's efforts with the NES, bypassing the security system of a Mega Drive required the use of the word "SEGA", the thinking being that unauthorised use of this trademark would give grounds for Sega to sue companies which attempted to reverse engineer its console (something that was famously challenged when Accolade attempted a similar feat). To avoid this, EA made a proposal to Sega that the fee be reduced to $2, with the overall fee not exceeding $2 million USD. Sega agreed due to fears EA would sell the information to other companies, and the process would reportedly save EA $35 million in the next three years.
While EA released several computer-to-Mega Drive conversions during 1990, this new John Madden Football was seen as its first major contribution to the video game market. However, Sega were also keen to exploit the 1990 holiday season (and newly acquired license with NFL quarterback Joe Montana) with an American football game, using Activision's Hard Yardage as a base. The project however was struggling and was set to miss its deadline, so Sega approached EA to sell John Madden Football as Joe Montana Football.
EA refused, but gave Sega a watered down engine for Joe Montana Football (which still proved successful).
John Madden Football was an enormous success for EA, and is seen as an industry game changer - one of the first steps to take back market share from Nintendo in North America.
Elsewhere in the world, John Madden Football and its sequels have been less successful as the sport does not tend to resonate outside of the US, however EA has applied the annual release system to other sports titles, namely NHL, FIFA, PGA Tour Golf and NBA Live.
- Main article: John Madden Football/Magazine articles.
also published in:
- Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #27: "October 1991" (1991-xx-xx)
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