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Madden is the longest running American Football franchise. In 2007 it was one of the first games to make use of gesture control in a traditional video game. Both the controls and the game were well received, and with the additions of Family Play in 2008 and All Play in 2009, it has become a choice sports game for Wii gamers.
Sports games recreate a wide variety of real life competitive games. Depending on the sport, these will either have an action or strategy focus. Popular sports games are often released on an annual basis, each year the game receives new player rosters and game improvements.
Madden on Wii adds gesture controlled throws, catches, strong arms. jinks and tackles into the general mix of play-making and action the game has become famous for. American Football being very much a contact sport, these exuberantly physical controls make a lot of sense.
Madden 09 extends the Family Play features of the previous year to become the rounded All Play feature. Here, novice or younger players can use just the Wii-mote to join in the action. As in Wii-Sports Tennis the computer looks after movement and tactics whilst you can just worry about swinging the Wii-mote to throw and tackle.
While these additions are welcome, Madden on Wii also includes other innovations from the 360 and PS3 versions of the game. Pressing C to identify star players, and controlling audibles (late adjustments to the select play) both add to the authentic feel achieved here.
The sheer physicality of the Wii controls (particularly when played with a group of friends) gives Madden unique appeal amongst American Football games. Players are attracted to motion controlling deft lobs (or sharply snapped rockets) to receivers, who themselves have to extend their controllers at just the right to make the catch.
This may seem like a minor point, but as with Tiger Woods it means you walk away feeling (to some extend) you have actually been involved with a sport. Being connected to the action with no more than five or six simple motions can make this a magical experience.
Whilst the All Play (and five a side) modes can be picked up almost instantly, most players will want to invest time learning the play sheet and the various special motions and button presses. Full games are the best way to do this and can last a good hour. Accordingly it is worth setting aside a whole evening to get the most out of Madden 09.
The motion controls mean that this really is a game to be played standing up, and one that demands a fair amount to free space in which to play. This shouldn't be a problem in most houses family/lounge rooms, although take note of lampshades and other overhead objects.
Very young and novice players of almost any age can pick up a Wii-mote and join in the fun. Our three year old was a bit concerned when one of his players limped off with an injury, but these are kept to strained wrists and ankles - and are only reflecting the nature of this contact sport.
Intermediate gamers who have a little more ability will quickly be able to play more of a part with the game. Prior knowledge of America Football certainly adds to the enjoyment, but John Madden (in all his Mii modeled glory) is always on hand to provide some advice.
Those with more experience may balk at the low resolution graphics (in comparison to the 360 and PS3). They will also have more work to do learning a different set of controls. That said, there is plenty here to enjoy and in a way that enables them to play with friends and family.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: