You’re just not playing Xbox football unless they’re bringing out the chains

Hello everyone, welcome to the 2002 Game Developers Conference in beautiful San Jose, California! I hope you all had a pleasant flight and that you find the convention center food delicious. Yes? No? Right, well, with the many events going on this year I’m pleased that you decided to attend my seminar featuring a post-mortem about NFL Fever 2002 for the Xbox. As Producer for this title, I spent many hours working with the team to ensure that gameplay maintained the feel of an NFL game, but the fun of video games. That’s a tough balancing act! So let’s talk a little about the lessons I’ve learned.

Basically, ladies and gentlemen, it comes down to this. It just ain’t football unless someone’s bringin’ out the chains.

That brainstorm hit me early in the process. I decided that I’d do a little field research into the game of American Football and I discovered that football “games” are actually broadcast on television, often every week. I watched one of these events, all the way to the end. You know what I saw? Chains! Men called “referees” brought out “chains,” as you can see in this diagram. I was like, “BINGO!” That’s it. That’s what we need. That’s how you revolutionize the sport. That’s how you make it feel real. You bring out the chains.

At first there was some reluctance on the team, you know, spending the time to code in the graphics and getting the right voiceovers. But I persevered. I insisted that we need chains.

Originally, I wanted chains on every play. I wanted continuous non-stop chain action. I thrilled with delight every time I heard the announcers say, “The officials are bringing out the chains.” “THE CHAINS!” I wailed. “THE CHAINS!”

But, with any creative process, there’s some give and take. The coders insisted that it didn’t make sense for the referees to bring out the measuring chains on any play that ended behind the line of scrimmage. “I don’t want to hear any more technical 3D-processing mumbo-jumbo!” I told them. “I want to hear the clink and rattle of MORE CHAINS!”

Finally we reached a compromise. And if you play NFL Fever today, you can see the fruits of my labor. Chains, beautiful chains, twinkling in the morning sunlight, on just about every other play. You can be a yard or more away from a first down, and you’ll still get the chains. NOW you’re playing FOOTBALL!


Victim Pic Small

I will now answer questions from the audience by putting on this protective headgear and tackling anyone who raises their hand. Afterwards, you may throw “Gatorade” on me.


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