What the Wii makes, the Xbox (and PlayStation 3) takes, at least in the case of some cartoon football.
The EA representatives who recently showed Kotaku Madden NFL Arcade, a five-on-five simplified version of a pro football game, said that a mode that is fun on Nintendo's platform just had to be shared with other console audiences. It comes to Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network later this year.
So if the screens and description of Madden NFL Arcade seem familiar, look at the Wii version of this year's Madden NFL 10. That's where this new game came from.
The Nintendo version featured a five-on-five football mode that depicted stretched and squished cartoon versions of football players and simplified controls. The XBLA/PSN game is the same thing, with button controls replacing motion controls and the graphics improved for the more powerful consoles. The Wii version didn't include procedural tackling animations. The Xbox/PS3 version, like its full-fledged Madden NFL 10 Xbox/PS3 big brothers, does.
In Arcade, as on the Wii, gamers have four downs to score a touchdown on a 60-yard field. How simplified does it get? A basic playbook lets players trigger short, medium or deep passing or running play and then just go. Players can swap control of the players on the field, perform context-sensitive tackles. Kicking is automatic. Just opt for the extra point after a touchdown and it's yours. Or go for a two-point conversion. Defense is just as simple, with the defensive player guessing the play of the offense.
Special power-ups can freeze opposing players or speed your offense with a turbo boost.
The game includes all of the NFL's teams and the top 10 players from each. Arcade includes a co-op mode and online play. I tried a head-to-head game, me vs. an EA developer.
I stink at Madden yet was able to control this simplified version in seconds and have a pretty good time of it. Gamers sometimes question the influence simplified game designs targets to the Wii audience might have. But my first impressions of Madden NFL Arcade suggest that this transition is a worthwhile one.
Pricing details for the new game, which was included in the base product of Madden NFL 10 but will obviously cost extra for Xbox 360 and PS3 owners who do or don't have Madden NFL 10 for those systems, has yet to be announced. The XBLA and PSN versions are slated for release this holiday season.