I am currently suing Madden.
In October of 2005, when I was 12 years old, I received a PlayStation 2 and a $100 gift card to Best Buy. I could not wait to play my Play Station, but first I had to go to Best Buy to buy games to play in it.
As a preteen boy walking down the video game aisles of Best Buy, I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop.
Every game called to me from the shelf, saying, “Play me, Bennett. I will be fun. I will be challenging. I will not tell your mom that I am rated M for Mature.”
And I wanted to call back to every single one of them, “I will play you. I will beat all of your levels and unlock all of your characters. I promise not to use cheat codes.”
The problem, however, was that even back then, $100 did not get one very far at Best Buy.
The decision of what games to buy was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.
I already been given “Guitar Hero” (and had played it enough to be able to play “More Than a Feeling,” by Boston, on expert with the guitar behind my back), so that obvious choice was ruled out.
All of the cool kids were playing “Halo” in 2005, but I was not cool nor did I own an Xbox, the only game system which supported it.
The edgier kids were playing “Call of Duty,” but as much as I appreciated the promise of the game’s calling out to me not to tell my mom that they were rated M for Mature, I knew that she was too smart for me to fool.
I could find a nice role-playing adventure game where I would run around collecting coins and discovering new worlds, but even then, I was self-aware enough to know that my promise to the video games to “beat all of your levels and unlock all of your characters” was a lie.
I did not have that kind of patience.
So that left sports games. “FIFA” was not yet hip in 2005, and besides, I was an American, not some damn European.
I loved baseball and still do, but seriously – it is boring enough to watch when it is real; I could hardly imagine spending my time playing an imaginary version of it (the exception to this rule, of course, being “MLB Slugfest,” in which you were allowed to charge the pitcher’s mound and burst into flames).
Basketball – was I a thug? Hockey – was I Canadian?
The choice was obvious. There was one game which I simply had to by – the Holy Grail, if you will, the Cadillac of video games: “Madden NFL 2006.”
Costing $50, this one game used up half my gift card, but I did what I had to do.
I grabbed a copy of Madden, a few other random skateboard and car-racing games, and headed to the check-out line.
I happily played Madden for seven years. This morning, I found out that I was cheated.
Electronic Arts, the developer of the Madden franchise, was recently sued by a pair of gamers, angry that they had to pay so much money for a video game (as far as I can tell by perusing court records, the court did not point out to them that they did not ‘have’ to pay so much money for a video game and could have instead gotten a job, gone on dates, played sports for real, done the crossword or any number of other things).
Their claim became a class-action lawsuit under the name Pecover v. Electronic Arts.
The suit charged EA of “overcharging customers and stifling competition via its exclusivity agreement with the NFL, NFL Players Association and other leagues,” according to Yahoo!
Before EA signed these exclusivity agreements, they were in a price war with 2K Sports, and prices for the game were in the $30 range. Afterwards, they ballooned into the exorbitant prices that I was forced to pay at Best Buy.
Anyone who bought a Madden game between 2003 and 2012 can file a claim.
Those who bought the game for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube or Windows PC will receive $20.37 per game, while those who bought it for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii will receive $5.85.
Until Yahoo! informed me of this lawsuit, I did not realize how angry I was at Madden.
Never mind the fact that, of all the games I bought that day at Best Buy, it was the only one that I played for more than a month.
Never mind the fact that I chose to pay $50 for it, instead of channeling my inner European and buying FIFA of my inner Canadian and buying whatever the NHL game is (I have absolutely no idea and honestly cannot even be bothered to look it up).
Never mind the fact that I received much more than $50 worth of joy playing Madden 2005 over the years.
I am angry, and I have decided to do something about it.
Thursday morning, I added my name and address to the list of claimants against EA.
I now feel much better, particularly when I think about the three burritos I can buy with my settlement.
Come to think of it, that is exactly how much I feel EA cheated me by – three chicken burritos worth (without guacamole or extra chicken).
While I was at it, I decided to add my little brother to the claim too. However, I forgot that he bought the game for Xbox 360 instead of PlayStation 2.
The difference between those two is $14.52, or a little more than two burritos.
Oops. That is two extra burritos for my little brother.
– By Bennett Ostdiek
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