By Sam Homer
EA released the official “All-25” roster for “Madden 25,” revealing the greatest players in the game’s history. Some of the choices are obvious — Marshall Faulk, Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp — while others are more obscure. But this isn’t your average all-star roster. The players were chosen because they were the best of Madden in that given year, not necessarily the best in the NFL.
These football players are often the envy of anyone who is forced to play against them. But they aren’t the only star athletes to dominate on the field and on the screen. Every now and then a player sneaks into gaming that’s so good it’s unfair.
Michael Vick (‘Madden 2004’)
“You can’t run with Vick.”
It was the golden rule between my college roommates during fierce rounds of “Madden ’04” on Xbox 360. Michael Vick was the quarterback that broke Madden — his arm was ferocious, he scrambled like a running back, sprinted like a wide receiver, and there wasn’t a spy defense in the playbook to bring him down. So many gamers played online with the Atlanta Falcons you needed a Gen4 connection just to keep up. He is, by far, the most unfair advantage in the game’s history. That’s why he easily made the All-25 cut. Vick stuck around in future versions of Madden (minus that two-year sabbatical) but never saw those ’04 stats again.
Bo Jackson (‘Tecmo Super Bowl’)
Let’s get old school for a moment here. If you thought Vick dominated “Madden,” what Bo did to “Tecmo Super Bowl” is just plain comical. Like the video shows, you could literally run circles around the defense with Bo Jackson. The only skill you needed was some good timing and zig zags from end zone to end zone. No modern game would ever let a single player get away with so much power and speed. If Bo’s real NFL career were this good, he’d have his own statue in Canton, Ohio.
David Robinson and Dennis Rodman (‘NBA Jam’)
Since Michael Jordan was absent from NBA games in the ’90s, it left the field open for sleepers to come in and dominate. If you played the original “NBA Jam” for Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis, chances are you were winning championships with the San Antonio Spurs. Back when he could still score, Rodman was a great number-two next to Robinson’s all-around superior jams and rebounding skills. There was never a reason to turn the ball over or get out-manned on defense when these two were off the bench.
Mike Tyson (‘Mike Tyson’s Punchout’)
The first three examples are fun. Why? Because you get to play as Vick, Bo and the Spurs. You got to enjoy the unfair advantage accompanied by their video game greatness. But with Mike Tyson, there’s nothing to enjoy. Mike Tyson is your enemy.
As the final boss in Mike Tyson’s “Punchout,” not only is he nearly impossible to beat, but if and when you lose, you go back to the very beginning of the game. There are no do-overs with Iron Mike. The only way to beat him is to predict his every move (like the video above) and just pray to God you knock him down three times.
Sam is a marathon runner and gamer. When he is not busy training for his next race, he reviews games and entertainment news online.