Every now and then, you read something in the news that just makes you wonder what this world is coming to. This week, a man named Peter Moore made a decision that caught some headlines which left me scratching my head.
Moore, who is the president of the gaming company EA Sports, announced that the premier football video game, Madden 2012, will be making some changes to next year’s edition. The changed settings will prevent players from re-entering games after suffering a concussion.
Yup, Madden is joining the anti-concussion regime and things are starting to get a little ridiculous.
No more picking Michael Vick in the 6th round of your fantasy draft just so you can run a five wide out QB sneak 80 times a game and bring him back in even if he gets hurt. Now, if Vick goes down with a concussion – he is done. According to ESPN.com, Moore said that it was “wrong” when the game would allow concussed players to return to the field in the following quarter.
Even the games namesake, John Madden, came out in support of Moore’s decision.
"Concussions are such a big thing, it has to be a big thing in the video game," Madden told The New York Times in a telephone interview. "It starts with young kids -- they start in video games. I think the osmosis is if you get a concussion, that's a serious thing and you shouldn't play. Or leading with the head that you want to eliminate. We want that message to be strong."
I won’t even comment on the fact that Madden can hardly articulate a coherent sentence, but who does EA Sports really think they are helping?
As another part of the effort, the game’s announcers, Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth, will discuss the dangers of concussions when a player is sent to the bench with a head injury.
What’s next EA? Are you going to take all of your Fight Night Champion games off the shelves because it teaches kids to throw a nice left hook? Are you going to disallow people from turning penalties off in NHL 2012 so I can’t send Alex Ovechkin through the glass every time he tries to clear the puck? Will there be no blood in this year’s EA Sports MMA video game?
This is about as pointless as watching Jersey Shore to see if tonight’s Sammi and Ronnie argument is really going to end things. It’s like buying tickets to a B.o.B. concert thinking it’ll actually take up more than an hour of your night.
I mean, seriously, you think kids are out there buying madden so they can see nice clean hits? If anyone in the world is playing Madden to learn good tackling form, they probably won’t be making a football team anytime soon. Newsflash: I play madden so I can decapitate all the players who I’ll never get a chance to actually inflict real physical pain upon.
I play Madden because I’m a Redskins fan, and since they won’t win another game within my lifetime I feel a little bit better when I’m destroying the Packers 72-3 and Donovan McNabb has 800 passing yards and Clinton Portis can still find the end zone. But most of all, I play Madden for that special moment when I can unleash that hit stick on my roommate right when he’s on the verge of thinking he might finally bring down the champ (that’s me).
If Madden and Moore really believe that they are making some noble movement forward to change the mindset of kids, they should take a step back and look at what sporting video games are doing for people in the first place.
Realistically, Madden 2012 will be played by three groups of people: the sport junkies that love to finish their night or have a study break with some football video games, the players who are actually in the game and love playing with themselves (pun intended), and the group of kids who won’t go outside for the first three months they own the game because playing fantasy football and being good is way more fun than getting real exercise and looking dumb.
If John Madden and Peter Moore want to teach kids about good tackling form, maybe they should take their 2012 game off the shelves completely and encourage kids to spend a year outside actually playing football or even trying out for their school’s team. With the looming NFL strike, this could be the year to do it.
This whole thing reminds me of all of the movements against violent video games which have dominated the shelves at Best Buy for the last decade. Parents say games like Grand Theft Auto are teaching kids violence is okay, that it shows them how to use a gun or encourages them to bring a gun to school.
Here’s a thought: If your kid thinks bringing Grand Theft Auto habits into real life is “okay” because he’s been playing the game so much, he’s either stupid or insane. Or both.
The saddest part about the ordeal is that this decision will receive praise and support from players unions and NFL owners alike. It’s just one more reminder of everyone’s constant self interest and the growing divide between players, ownership and fans that is reaching an all-time high.
So, if players can’t hit each other in real life, can’t get hurt in the video games, can’t even settle for a multi-million dollar contract and refuse to put a team on the field, what exactly are we paying these guys for?
If you think you can answer that question, you can find me in front of my PS2. I’ll be playing NFL Blitz.