It’s remarkable how closely hit sports video game franchises like Madden are beginning to resemble real life broadcasts. A new YouTube video from gamer Samuel Brown—who goes by RBT on the platform—drives home just how much the gaming experience has evolved in the roughly three decades since the release of the original Nintendo home entertainment system in 1983, and the Sega Genesis in 1988.
As part of a stunt, Brown decides to try and score a touchdown on every Madden game ever released, starting with a 1988 version of the game made for Apple computers. In a caption to the video, Brown notes that it’s easily the most work he’s ever put into one video, having spent more than 3 weeks tracking down all of the games, and “probably over 60ish” hours of total time playing.
On the first version of Madden, which is about as blurry and pixelated as you might expect, Brown struggles to control the game using his keyboard and mouse. “I don’t know what buttons do what,” he says, exasperated. After navigating some technical challenges, he finally manages to score, and moves into more familiar territory—1990’s John Madden Football for Super Nintendo.
In the nearly hour-long video, you can watch as the graphics steadily improve from year to year, with the most dramatic leaps happening in the early-to-mid 2000s. By the time he’s into the Playstation/Xbox era by the end of the video, you’re looking at the crisp, nearly TV-quality standard we enjoy today. Watching it, you can’t help but wonder where EA and other game manufacturers will take us in the decades to come.
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