Thousands of fans have been attending the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California since it was first built in 1922. It's the home of college football's most famous bowl game, hosting many rivalries such as the famous USC vs. UCLA match-up. The Tournament of Roses parade, which annually attracts crowds of up to 90,000 and is watched by millions on television, is held around The Rose Bowl's vicinity.
Now, in commemoration of EA Sports's 20th anniversary of the Madden NFL video game franchise, the Rose Bowl became the home of "Madden-Palooza" on August 11, 2008. On the eve of Madden NFL 2009's launch, NFL legends and top music artists have gathered to celebrate two decades of virtual pigskin goodness. And just as we stepped in the stadium, all we heard amongst the crowd was, "It's Madden, baby!".
The event, mainly sponsored by Microsoft and Wal-Mart, was like a Madden carnival dropped in the middle of a football stadium. There were pigskin throwing contests, a glorious stage set-up, courtesy Slurpees from 7/11, and yes, the almighty bar. As soon as we snapped out of our day dream, standing in the middle of the historic stadium, we decided to check out the Madden demo tent laid out across the end zone.
After we did our touchdown dance, we stepped inside the tent to witness dozens of Madden fans salivating in front of several Madden NFL 2009 kiosks that were spread out. All ages were present, from kids, adults and the bewildered grannies wondering if their grandchildren would ever outgrow these video games and stop listening to "hippity hop." Speaking of which, we just heard one of "hippity hop's" finest outside, Busta Rhymes.
One of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks, Warren Moon (accompanied by a linebacker-sized bodyguard), was checking out Busta's performance as we stepped outside. Performing several of his head-boppin', hand-raisin' hits such as "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" and "Gimme Some More", the rap artist drew in the most crowd during the festival. But, Mr. Rhymes was very considerate of the youngsters attending, as he mentioned he will not be dropping any F-bombs or profanities during the show. However, he will still be saying "ass", because they say it "even in Family Guy."
After the Busta ended his set, we walked around to see if we could scope out more NFL greats. X-Play had the hook up (make sure you don't miss it)--standing on the lawn was USC alumni Marcus Allen, former St. Louis Rams player Marshall Faulk, and oh yeah, EA Sports head Peter Moore was there socializing with the legends.
Soon enough, the Maddens went on stage. No, not a huge ass display of the past Madden titles, but Good Charlotte's front men Benji and Joel Madden, who took the stage to give one more performance before the first copy of Madden NFL 2009 was sold. Although the crowd was smaller compared to Busta's, the Madden Bros. kept on pushing the exhausted crowd. The band, who appears alongside Young Dre on the Madden NFL 2009 soundtrack, thanked the game for giving them more street cred by contributing to the game's soundtrack. Alright.
After Good Charlotte's performance, the main event of the evening followed. It was time to officially sell the game to a lucky couple, who both wore the Chargers's LaDainian Tomlinson jersey. The couple was mobbed by several cameras (including ours), as it made them look like Madden's "Brangelina". Mr. Moore made his way through the mob at the Wal-Mart tent and participated in the first Microsoft-approved Madden NFL 2009 Xbox 360 sale transaction. As the couple held up the game like an Academy Award, the cameras were flashing, the crowd was cheering, and Mr. Moore was smiling.
Madden-Palooza's spectacle was quite a sight to see. Some may think it was an expensive marketing ploy and some may think it was completely unnecessary. We think that if there's any reason to celebrate video games, count us in.
Madden NFL 2009 is now available for the Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, PSP and Nintendo DS. Madden NFL 09 All Play is also now available for the Nintendo Wii.
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