Every so often, a game comes along that is so wet with manliness that it could impregnate your girlfriend. It's the type of game that can force you to grow hair on your palms just from touching the controller. Forget electricity, these games run on gasoline, whisky, and broken dreams. These games chew up glass, mix it with blood, and spit it straight into your eyes. So--put on some goggles--it's Manly Game Monday.
Game: Madden NFL Series Platform: Anything with buttons Release: 1988 - ? Developer: EA
In 1988, development began on the first John Madden Football with a clear ultimatum from the Legend himself: "I'm not putting my name on it if it's not real." Ignoring the inherent contradiction of insisting that a simulation be "real," Madden NFL has become the closest thing to real football that a 400 lb man can play from the comfort of his couch, office or toilet. Honestly, what's manlier than that?
Sure, Madden NFL seems like a strange choice for Manly Game Mondays because it lacks the requisite substance abuse, blood geysers and/or gratuitous tit shots required for a 10/10 rating. Hell, with the jacked-up steroid fiends and late hits of the Blitz series, Madden is arguably not even the manliest football series to grace video game consoles. However, to dismiss Madden with nonchalance is to overlook it's manliest achievement: It appeals to every red-blooded man's base desire to conform with the men around him.
Men, truly manly men, have a subliminal need to be accepted by other manly men as one of "the group." Like our prehistoric ancestors, manly men move in packs, fight male "outsiders," and aren't afraid to club a bitch or two. It is no coincidence that fraternity houses--modern hotbeds of manly activity--are known for manly bonding, drunken brawls, rampant sexism, and Madden NFL. While one may argue that this relationship is merely coincidental, pseudo-scientific charts lend credibility to this assertion:
As you can clearly see, as the number of men in a group increase, the amount of Madden playing increases at a rate that outpaces manly bonding, drunken brawls, and date rape. Truly shocking results. However, if mere peer-reviewed statistical research is not enough for you, here is a personal anecdote:
As a child, my proclivity for competitive gaming was apparent. Notwithstanding the rather mundane rules of most single player games, I would constantly concoct elaborate competitive scenarios. Soon, my competitive rulesets extended beyond the mere walls of my home and became mainstays in the homes of neighbors and friends. Entire suburban blocks forwent ever conquering Dr. Wlly's castle and, instead, focused on challenging friends to obtain the highest score possible in Mega Man 2 using an elaborate scorecard of my own design.
Early competitions were heavily weighted in my favor, but the skill levels of neighboring children began to normalize and near my own. When this happened, it was not beyond me to design new rules that weighted play in my favor. As a result, I was able to establish NES dominance over my entire neighborhood.
As time went on, console games began to focus more on competitive play. My rulesets were no longer needed and we turned to games like Bomberman and Goldeneye with their built-in competitive play instead. While we never played any Madden games, Samit Sarkar did and he's a true man's man.
If that story doesn't convince you, I don't know what will. Verdict: