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Column: My not-so-modest proposal to fix football video games

I’m not afraid to mention that I’m not a big fan video game maker EA (Electronic Arts).

My general distaste for EA began many, many years ago. I tried several iterations of Madden on the console, but I never had a good handle with the controls. To me, at the time, the button locations didn’t make sense. This was before you could actually reset the controls.

So, at the nudging of a buddy, I tried out 2K Game’s NFL product.

Wow. The controls made sense and from setting up the team’s practice schedule to game play, it was great.

I paid $20 for the game. To this day, it was the best value I had from a game.

Perhaps EA panicked. A better game, sold cheaper may start to threaten EA’s market share. So, what is an American company to do? Make a better game and drop the price?

Hahaha. No.

You set up a monopoly.

That’s what EA did. The company signed an exclusive contract with the NFL in which only EA could sell a licensed NFL video game product.

I held on to my 2K NFL game for about three more years until my PS2 gave out, and I have not purchase another football game (college or pro).

I missed out on quite a few other EA games (raved by netmates) over the years. I wouldn’t even allow my daughters to purchase “The Sims”. I relented about two Christmases ago when I got them a new computer. However, four months later the computer died. The only thing I added to the new computer was “The Sims”.

So. There’s going to be a new football game in the works, and with the pending lawsuit against the NCAA there’s no telling what it will look like.

I have a proposal.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL. The video game.

Players build football programs, based upon school size and budgets on the high school level.

The players will provide the initial input, town name, location within the state (from pre-selected areas, this is to keep some from putting a team in the middle of a river, lake or national park), and the coach’s name. Since the game manufacturer is merely providing the toys and the sandbox to play in, there’s none of that messy legal wrangling.

Downloadable content (DLC) would make it possible for players to purchase throwback uniforms or begin their football programs starting in the 1940s (or earlier).

Working off the decades theme, a player begins with a simple, basic stadium or field. As the decades progress the stadiums can get bigger and players can add features like stadium lights, press boxes, concession stands, band sections, etc.

A challenge level for the decades content would be playing by the established rules and trending offenses and defenses of that time period. Which would mean that some West Coast offensive plays may not materialize.

Other DLC would include 7-on-7 football or 8-man football.

At the end of the season “coaches” can even see if some of their players go on to play at the college level. There could even be a coach’s office. Starting with a dark room with fake wood paneling to a state-of-the-art “war room”.

Your “coach” could also be offered a job at a larger school by the end of the season. Of course the opposite could happen, you could be fired in the middle of a season if things aren’t going well.

There could even be a scouting feature, that will basically give you an idea of what plays are commonly used, standout players and injuries. That way you can stress out about which formations to use to counter them.

Players could even be subjected to a feature in which he has to allocate a coach’s time for game preparation during the week. Do we spend extra time in the film room, or do we have to mow the field?

One feature that has to be mandatory should allow players to design and execute their own plays. This would be a great boon for Henry Apple and myself as we’ll run nothing but variations of the Batman and Polecat formations.

There also has to be something to allow players to upload their own designs for the helmets. High school coaches might be inspired by a real-life college or pro logo to incorporate into their own, there’s no reason to deny players that same opportunity.

There’s no reason that this could be expanded into baseball, fastpitch softball, basketball and soccer. The only way to complete the high school experience for softball and soccer is to make sure that the teams are unappreciated, understaffed and with low budgets.

Anyone can take my ideas and go with it. I only ask that you provide me a free copy of the game and access to all the downloadable contents. I have even more ideas, so I’m also available as a consultant… for a modest fee.

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