Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Madden NFL 10

Madden NFL 10

Spring 2010 Video Games
Ages: All Ages
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Price: $49.99
Gaming System: Nintendo Wii
Madden NFL is not only one of the longest-published, most successful videogames in history, it currently is the only NFL-franchised football videogame.

If you've played Madden on XBOX or PS3, you've experienced a simulation football game with game-play physics and strategy that simulate real-life professional football. Wii's clunky graphics and animation aren't in the same league as its competitors; Wii's version of Madden NFL 10 is more of an arcade game with boxier and cartoonish players with over-exaggerated physiques.

The game-play modes are more arcade-like and better suited to younger players in search of a good time rather than football fanatics looking for authenticity. Besides the standard Franchise, Superstar and Season modes, there's a Showdown Mode that allows up to four players to play in pseudo-football games, including a great 5-on-5 game and an It's Alive version that keeps the ball in play even after incompletions! The kid-friendly Huddle-Up Mode is almost a "helper" exercise in playing Madden with little kids who want to play but don't quite grasp the complexities yet. While big brother or a more experienced player plays Madden, younger brother (or sister) gets a controller that lets him move a circle around the field that can knock down players from the other team.

There's even a Prediction Mode that, in effect, lets players "bet" on game statistics, such as who's going to get most passing yards or most total yards. It's probably harmless but something for parents to consider and maybe even use as a teachable moment. In fact, what the Wii Madden is all about is playing together with friends.

Using the Wii motion-detection controllers to play football has its own adrenaline-packed charm, too. But the Wii version is missing three popular elements that the Madden franchise has made famous--trading players, team training, and season-long stats.

Madden veterans won't find much in this version to tackle head-on, but for newcomers to the Madden franchise, and younger kids, this game scores.

Don Oldenburg   ©2010 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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