Madden NFL 15 Aims to Teach Football

Samit Sarkar, Polygon:

I went through a few Skills Trainer exercises during an EA press event in New York yesterday, with Doeberling explaining the setup. We started out with the Cover 2, a key scheme for defending the pass. I thought Courtney’s voice-over, augmented by on-screen visuals, did a terrific job of explaining how to identify the Cover 2 on the field: two deep safeties, with cornerbacks giving your wide receivers five yards of space.

The game then displays the gaps in the Cover 2 — the areas on the field in which you’ll be more likely to find open receivers — and finally, tells you the offensive plays that are best suited to exploiting those spots (Flood, Smash and Verticals). After the tutorial, Skills Trainer moves into drills, and awards medals based on how often you succeed.

Later…

Skills Trainer is now part of the onboarding process for Madden 15; the first time you boot up the game, it’ll encourage you to check out the mode. This is a step in the right direction. It’s not enough to include these tutorials in sports games, because hardcore players will ignore them and newcomers may not be able to find them. And unlike the start of an action title or shooter, it’s tough to make a tutorial out of a default exhibition game in a sports title. What’s even more encouraging is that with Madden 15’s Skills Trainer and Gauntlet, Tiburon may have found a way to make studying fun.

I haven’t played a sports game since NHL 10(?), but I can attest that I’d love to see more effective sports education built in. I have always wanted to join the greater sports conversation but have never found a way to engage with it. My best attempt was stat tracking my brother as he played World Series Baseball for the Sega Genesis; though, I chalked it up as an excuse to play with my dad’s new laptop…

I have a suspicious inkling that this doubles as an attempt to increase viewer and passerby engagement in NFL games. Either way, it’s a nice piggyback on yesterday’s post about alternative (e)sports commentary. File under edTech?

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