Each year, gamers mark their calendars for the release of Madden NFL. Ever since the days of the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, Madden has been the sports game year after year. It is so big that petitions surface annualy to make the game's release a national holiday.
Historically, Madden is one of the top selling video games on the market each year. In 2009, for example, the game sold 2.3 million copies in the first month it was released.
The latest entry in the series, Madden 2011, released Tuesday morning, and gamers packed the GameStop in Lake Grove to the max in anticipation. Some showed up an hour before midnight to wait in line. Others, like Chris Shea, came out and warmed up by throwing the pigskin around the parking lot until the clock struck 12.
"It's kind of like tailgating waiting for midnight," said Shea, 20 of Bohemia, who pre-ordered the game for the Xbox 360.
"Last year was my favorite because of the realism," said Shea, who has been playing the Madden games yearly since 2003, back on the PlayStation 2. "It was the most well-tuned game in the series."
"Each year has new things," said Brandon Whiten, 24 of Miler Place. "Last year's game really put everything together."
Whiten, a Green Back Packers fan, has been playing the Madden games since 1996, starting on the Super Nintendo. He said he hopes EA brings back the deep franchise mode from Madden 2005.
Madden has an audience like no other game. The typical teen and pre-teen demographic was obvious, but middle-aged fans were also showing their support for the game. Whether purchasing the game for themselves, or waiting in line with their kids, Madden is a generation-bridge for all members of the family to enjoy.
One mom, who didn't give her name, simply stated "I'm an ass" for being here at midnight, rather than in bed. She said it with a smile as her son walked out with a fresh copy of the game with Drew Breese on the cover.
Ah, the beauty of Madden.