I’ve been hearing some hype about a few newfangled products about to hit the market and thought that I might share my two cents on two of them.
1. Madden 09 (available August 12)
It looks like Madden has outdone itself once again, getting some great reviews from gaming nerds everywhere.
Among the most interesting video game developments in recent years, this year’s featured cover guy is the one and only Brett Favre. Now that Favre was traded to the Jets last week, no doubt that EA, the game’s manufacturer, has been going ape to try to fix everything by tomorrow’s release. One just-announced feature includes a new downloadable cover featuring Favre in a Jets jersey.
In another new development, John Madden and Al Michaels will be replaced by Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond of NBC. Although I think that Cris Collinsworth stands head and shoulders above any other NFL commentator (more on that during football season) and that John Madden has the chronic habit of saying things in a way that make him come off as a bumbling idiot, how can you have a Madden game without John Madden telling you what a great play you’ve just made or how if you throw the ball in the end zone and your receiver catches it that’s probably gonna be a touchdown?!
Madden does apparently have a new role in welcoming players and determining their “Madden IQ” based on several specific skills tests. This is one of the truly cool innovations. The computer customizes the difficulty level based on the player’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Let’s say the player is great at passing but a poor runner. The Madden IQ system will make pass defense a tenacious beast, but run defense softer. The computer then remembers your IQ and changes it based on your results, meaning that you can win a game, but if you play poorly in any part of the game (i.e. passing, special teams, run defense, etc.) the computer remembers it and makes that part easier for you next time. It also gives you feedback Pretty cool.
Here’s a video review from a guy who will probably never know the touch of a woman:
Another such guy played a 24 hour Madden 09 marathon last week and documented it in this article featured on ESPN.com. (Fine, maybe I’m a little jealous.)
2. Elmo Live (available October 14)
Remember the Tickle-Me Elmo craze of December 1996? It was bad. I mean mommies everywhere beating the crap out of other mommies and terrorizing Toys R’ Us stores (remember when those weren’t obsolete yet?) to get these little boxed Elmo dolls. The things went for hundreds on the black market.
Well it looks like Elmo has evolved from a plush toy that talks to a full blown robot. Check out this video in which a robot Elmo works the crowd, dances hip-hop style, tells stories, and even does stand up:
Elmo Live hits store this October 14.
With Elmo Live, I think kids officially have no reason for actual human friends. Think about it:
- Real kids smell; Elmo only smells if a real kid gets too close.
- Real kids are moody; Elmo is always ready for hugs and tickles.
- Real kids are needy; Elmo is happy sitting in a closet when you don’t want him around.
Hmm, now that I think about it, I want an Elmo Live. You think they make one that pays rent?