My earliest memories of video games began in the arcade of the neighborhood Pietro’s Pizza or in our family room watching my father and sister endlessly jostle back-and-forth for the high score on an Atari 2600 game like Pole Position, Frogger, or Ms. Pac-man.
However, Christmas of my fourth grade year, I received my very own NES (complete with a copy of Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros.). Now it was about beating the game itself. Though my brother and I would later move on to Sega Genesis and Sonic the Hedgehog, I would never really be caught up in the gaming culture (first-person shooters and the like). My fondest experience, in fact, was when I received my very own Nintendo Game Boy (featuring the original green-screen) and discovered the brilliance of Tecmo Super Bowl. From that day forward, sports video games would forever hold a special place in my heart.
Though I did not own a home gaming system for well over two decades, one of my first acts after trading in a few of my books for an Xbox (for my four children, of course – wink, wink), was to pick up the latest edition of Madden. Though the gameplay is nearly always the same and the graphics are only mildly improved, there are very few things as promising as beginning a new season with a new roster. For a moment, I’m in the game.