Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Surviving the Game

The bane of all Madden Nation members is the "No F-in Way Game". This is a phenomenon where a player has won so many games in a row that the computer makes it impossible for the player to beat the computer. The computer will run the gamut of tricks with kickoffs, punts, and interceptions returned for touchdowns, and have all player drives end in turnovers. These games happen often at the tail end of undefeated season runs, and encourage a player to yell at a machine. This is a game; it is meant to be fun and entertaining. The "No F-in Way Game" can be beaten. This depends on strict adherence to strategy and relaxation of the player. There are a variety of ways to defeat the "No F-in Way Game", and they rank in order of honor.

1. Relax, play your game, and be conservative with special teams
"No F-in Way Games" (NFWG) can be identified early when you suddenly lose the ability to move the ball, throw two quick INTs with a 99 rated QB, or cannot tackle the opposing running back. If the computer jumps to a one or two touchdown lead, relax. The game is long. Do not panic. DO not rush things, which only leads to bad reads and mistakes. There are plays the CPU cannot defend. Find them; memorize them. Using HB Counter in the I-form after bringing your wide out over from the strong side nets 5 yards on average. If you catch the CPU in a blitz, it will be 6 points. Do not forget that 1 minute in Madden is like 4 minutes of real playing time. Touchdown drives can be 5 plays and still only take 45 seconds in madden. Relax. Do not start gunning the ball, because you will inevitably throw an interception to the linebacker with the worst hands on their team. Avoid passes that cover long horizontal distances and short vertical distances (example: Brady to Bailey). Do not throw the ball at the goalline just so your QB rating increases or you want to break the single season record for TDs. This is about winning. The CPU will pick off goaline passes because 11 guys are stuffed in a 10 yard range. If you do come back and take a lead with time left, do not just kick the ball downfield. How often does someone say that they took the lead at the end of the game to see a kickoff or punt returned for a touchdown? Too often. They put squib kicks into Madden for a reason. Use them. Ever seen a squib kick returned for a touchdown in Madden? Me neither. For that matter, if you know it is a NFWG in the 1st quarter only squib kick for the rest of the game and punt intentionally out of bounds. Sounds stupid? It is, but you eliminate the special teams advantage the CPU has. If you do have the lead and have the ball, protect a lead in the final few minutes in Steeler football fashion (up the middle, up the middle, up the middle, punt). Milk the clock, and give the ball to the runner with the highest CAR rating. If you do not trust the computer, kneel three times and punt.

2. Identify a NFWG early and avoid it
Most NFWGs can be identified in the first two or three drives. If this is the case, save your game in the franchise and then quit the game. Get out of your franchise, pour yourself a drink and then load it again. The AI will be completely different when you reload the franchise and go right back to the spot you saved. It works every time. The computer gets tricked out of pulling a NFWG on you.

3. Anger, fear, aggression: the dark path
You've stuck it out. You're fighting toe to toe. It's the 4th quarter, and Trent Dilfer is 20-25 for 3 TDs and threading the needle. The Browns are up on you by 10. Don't just throw your controller and hit reset. Go to gameplay settings and turn all of the CPU AI down to zero. Destroy the computer with the knowledge that you did not chicken out and slam the reset button. Take delight at the sight of a total meltdown by the opposing team. Be sure to adjust your CPU AI settings after the game.

4. Desperate Times
Maybe you just hate the NFWG and can't accept the loss. Maybe you battled back, took the lead, and saw a FB dive go 50 yards for a TD. Maybe you were setting up the game winning field goal, and your running back fumbled for the first time in 2 seasons. Maybe you just don't have what it takes to be a great Madden player. Take a deep breath, lie to yourself about being a man, and hit the reset button.

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