Gaming greats – John Madden Football (1990)

With the Superbowl over, you might be looking to expand your American football knowledge.It may appear to the untrained eye like a bunch of helmet-cla

With the Superbowl over, you might be looking to expand your American football knowledge.It may appear to the untrained eye like a bunch of helmet-cladded warriors who don't know how to play rugby and like to make an hour stretch into a whole day, but it's more like a science.Actually, it's more like an excuse to create reams of stats in order to sell trading cards. But that doesn't mean it can't be fun, and the Madden series - named after legendary US commentator John Madden - achieved that right from the first game.Available for the Mega Drive, SNES and Amiga, it had the same 'skatey' feel that the FIFA series adopted later. Players skidded around the pitch as they battled up or down towards the opposition endzone.Okay, I'll be honest - I never really understood the play sheets and words like 'blitz', but by trial and error you could get the idea.What made the game so awesome, though, was the passing system with its multiple cameras. Your quarterback would pull away, you'd set up for a throw and be given zoomed screens of your receiver options. You'd have to be quick to choose who was in some clear air and send the ball spinning away before the opposition sacked you, and it was a real rush when you gained 20 or 30 yards.Due to a lack of licensing, official team and player names couldn't be used, but that was just a thin veil - if you knew who was who in the world of American football, you could work out who they were in the game by their position and skill level.As a 49ers fan, I was always using San Francisco. Joe Montana long to Jerry Rice and boom! Touchdown!I could go on about the different weather conditions, the touchdown celebrations, the injuries... But it would be better if you went and downloaded an emulator. Or better still, buy an old Mega Drive off eBay.