Timeline: Madden Video Game Franchise History

Madden NFL (known as John Madden Football until 1993) is an American football video game series developed by EA Tiburon for EA Sports. It is named after Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and commentator John Madden, and has sold more than 130 million copies. It also currently is the only officially licensed National Football League (NFL) video game, and has influenced many players and coaches of the physical sport. Among the game’s features are detailed playbooks and player statistics, and voice commentary in the style of a real NFL television broadcast. As of 2013 the franchise has generated over $4 billion in sales.

Electronic Arts (EA) founder Trip Hawkins conceived the series and approached Madden in 1984 for his endorsement and expertise. Because of Madden’s insistence that the game be as realistic as possible, the first version of John Madden Football did not appear until 1988. EA has released annual versions since 1990, and the series’ name changed to Madden NFL in 1993 after EA acquired the rights to use NFL teams and players. Madden retired as a broadcaster in 2009, but continues to lend his name and to provide expertise for the game franchise.

First Madden game (John Madden Football)  is released by Electronic Arts, with an energetic John Madden on the cover.
Features: Customizable gameplay and conditions like weather (hot, rain, snow, or cold and windy), time length of quarters, player fatigue and injuries, and penalties. Can create teams from scratch, which was important because no actual NFL teams could be included for lack of an NFL or NFLPA license. Only Madden game released for Commodore and the Apple II.


1989: Released for both PC and Commodore 64.


This Madden version, released also for the SNES and Amiga, adds audibles, and password-saved games. For the first time ever in a football video game, the camera or perspective is played from above and behind the quarterback rather than from the side right to left, and vice versa.
It only had 16 teams, loosely based on real NFL teams as well as an All-Madden team was included as a bonus.

Released for PC and consoles, added new features larger playbooks and commentary and coaching from John Madden on classic football tactics like the Play action pass.   VGA graphics were upgraded, as well as the use of Adlib audio.

1992: featured the ambulance which would run over any players in its path
1997: EA hired Tiburon Entertainment for Madden NFL ’97 and later acquired by EA, centralizing development in-house.[3] It planned to release John Madden Football as its first sports-based arcade game, but the game was cancelled due to unenthusiastic reactions from play testers.

2021: Metacritic: Madden NFL 21 has one of the lowest user scores… ever

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