Sunday, June 06, 2010

The continuing story of Madden and terrible programming

So, after a season where a) Seattle punted from my 20 &ndash yes, my 20, and yes, it was a touchback – and b) on a field-goal attempt in a later game, an opponent's linemen stood like a fool two yards from the kick, looking at the kicker, and somehow managed to catch the kick in one hand (yes, I tackled him easily, but that's the dumbest "blocked" kick I've ever seen), the Lions went 9-7 and made the playoffs.

In the first round against Atlanta, this happened in the first half:

1. Jerious Norwood catches a pass on 3rd and 7 or so, heading toward the sidelines. He steps on the sideline at the 27, a yard short of the first down, and is tackled at the 45, in part because I can't believe the play is still going. Yes, I'd play to the whistle except I turn the volume down because I can't stand any of the commentary or stadium noise. So naturally I challenge the play, because it's obvious. Of course during the review, you can see he clearly steps out of bounds. Ruling: play stands. I lose a timeout and they end up scoring a touchdown on the drive.)

2. On the ensuing drive, we get to the 16 with 0:27 on the clock and no timeouts. I hit Bryant Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown, probably 4 yards deep. His entire body and the ball are clearly in the end zone. There is no question about this at all. As we line up for the PAT, they stop us. Booth review.

So I figure they're looking at the catch, but no, he's clearly got the ball and it never touches the ground. Of course, without the sound, I can't tell what they're actually challenging, which turns out to be the spot of the ball. (Cue WTF sound effect.) Aaaaaaaand ... play reversed. The ball is down at the 1, first and goal. With the clock running. And no timeouts. Fortunately, I have time to call a play and run it, and we score, but seriously, that almost broke my bullshit meter. I would almost have considered restarting the game after that, but the replay probably would have been worse.

Good thing we have "Pro-Tak" tackling. What the Madden series really needed was more people jumping on a tackle. God forbid they actually fix the obvious bugs. Next year will be more of the same: flash and glitter, a couple of possibly useful features, hopefully a fixed online franchise mode, and a pile of bugs that have been in the game for years.

Nice work if you can get it. (The irony, of course, is that it's not nice at all. Not only do most people not appreciate what the devs have to do, EA is notorious for overworking its people even moreso than the average development company.)

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