I was sitting on my sofa, Xbox One controller in hand, playing Madden 19. I was playing Longshot mode, the second year that EA Sports has included a storyline on its yearly NFL game. I never played Longshot last year. It didn’t interest me at all. I play Madden as a way to learn about the NFL season, and model future games that my favorite troubled team, the New York Jets, might play. I play it as penance for a weird childhood going to Jets games I only half liked, and an adulthood where I’ve become addicted to following the team my dad used to love before he died. Madden and I are old friends. This is happening even though the NFL has become a bizarre landscape. And I no longer have season tickets to Jets games. And I find it harder to care about any of it in the real world. Longshot: Homecoming ended up sucking me in. I think it’s because I didn’t expect it to be so much like a movie. It’s more storyline than gameplay, and it’s heavy on the cliches. But I ended up finding it unexpectedly dramatic and emotional. It stars Ron Cephas Jones as the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Friday Night Lights’ Scott Porter as a player who feels a lot like his character on Friday Night Lights and even, weirdly, Rob Schneider as the Cowboys’ general manager. The cast is generally great. The music is well done. It worked for me… [Read full story]
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