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Have you ever wanted to work in video games? Well that's what the guys at GameBizCo Inc. do. Literally.

Join the cast of Another Videogame Webcomic as we peek behind the curtain to see what exactly goes into bringing your favorite video games to the small screen. It may be a job in video games, but it's still a job.

My road to the Superbowl

Distraught after the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game, I decided to take matters into my own hands the only way I knew how... by playing video games. I decided to play through a complete season of Madden NFL 09 to see if I could lead the Eagles to victory where their real world counterparts had fallen short. My only problem? I suck at football video games.

Luckily, rather than sliding the difficulty all the way down to easy, this year's edition of Madden has a custom tailored difficulty level based on the "Madden IQ" which would change as I progressed through the season. When I booted up the game for the first time, the game ran me through a number of drills: pass offense, rush offense, pass defense and rush defense. From there it determined my Madden IQ, which presumably was how good I was at the game. I'm not sure the offensive tests were an accurate test of my ability but instead a test to see if I could read the screen correctly and press the corresponding button. The results of my defensive tests told me something I already knew... I sucked at defense. After all was said and done, my Madden IQ started at 430.

Running through the Madden IQ tests left me wholly unprepared for the preseason games. In my first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, my Madden IQ actually dropped to 425, which I guess is the game's way of saying "Whoops! I guess you weren't as smart as I thought you were!" I was winning games but it seemed I was winning out of dumb luck. Against the New England Patriots, the first quarter ended with the score 7-0 in my favor but the statistics showed that I had just 9 seconds of offense the entire quarter. (For you non-football fans out there, that's near impossibility in a real game.) As the preseason progressed, I felt like I started to get a handle on the game and getting better at it... at least that's what my Madden IQ (470) was telling me.

During the regular season games, I started to gain some confidence in my abilities. While my individual stats may have fluctuated up and down from game to game, my Madden IQ steadily rose. In fact, I started to learn more about the actual game of football... things that I had never picked up on all these years of watching the game on TV. I figured out when to use a zone coverage vs man-to-man, when to throw a screen pass and why it's not a good idea to go for it on 4th and 32. (I also learned more about the history of some of the other NFL teams... did you know that the Cincinnati Bengals only had one tie game in 1969? Oh wait, make that two tie games... one in 1969 and one in 2008 against the Eagles.)

But not all my wins during the regular season were due to my ever increasing Madden IQ. One of the other reasons most of my games stayed competitive was the "rewind" feature. Basically, it's what every sports fan wishes would actually exist every time they see their team make a huge boneheaded mistake... if you make a mistake, like having your quarterback drop back 20 or so yards only to be sacked or throwing the ball to your receiver who not only isn't open but is being covered by three players, you can rewind it and start the play over again. I'm not proud of the fact that I used it, but who wouldn't use the rewind feature after seeing the ball being intercepted by the opposing team and taken back 60 yards for a touchdown?

For the most part, the games I played were close. In my second meeting with the NY Giants, it looked like I was going to lose the game with the score being 7-9 and only 3 seconds left on the clock. But a miraculous last second 99 yard kick return for a touchdown secured the victory. (Curiously, Madden suggested I go for the 2 point conversion... even though a field goal would have been enough to win the game.)

Other games were... less close. In my meeting with the San Francisco 49ers, the game remained scoreless in the first quarter with a safety occurring in the second quarter being the only points in the first half. The turning point came when Asante Samuel intercepted a pass and had a clear path to the endzone. As I ran him down the length of the field, I had considered not taking it in to the endzone just to see if I could finish the game with the score being 2-0. But I thought better of it and eventually shut out San Francisco, 15-0.

After the finish of the regular season (Madden IQ: 552), my record was 13-3... enough to secure the number one seed in the playoffs and much better than the actual Eagles' record of 9-6-1. My virtual playoff picture shaped up differently than the actual NFL playoffs. Of the 12 teams that made the virtual playoffs, only five (Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Charges & Indianapolis Colts from the AFC and Minnesota Vikings &, of course, Philadelphia Eagles from the NFC) made it into the actual playoffs. (The remaining virtual playoff teams were the New England Patiots, Jacksonville Jaguars & NY Jets from the AFC and the Dallas Cowboys, St Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers & New Orleans Saints from the NFC.)

But as well as I played in the regular season, as soon as the playoffs rolled around, my Eagles started playing like their actual counterparts. My passes were inaccurate, my running game was netting me negative yardage and my defense was tackling like they had covered themselves in baby oil. (Whoever programmed this game did too good of a job simulating the Eagles...) In spite of the increased difficulty and thanks to some strategic rewinding, I did what my actual counterparts could not... I made it through the playoffs and into the Superbowl (Madden IQ: 567).

Joining me in my virtual Superbowl were the New England Patriots, creating a rematch of Superbowl XXXIX. (Interestingly enough, the Eagles' record was also 13-3 that season...) The game started off slow, with a pair of field goals keeping the game tied 3-3 at the half. But eventually, my offense found it's stride and outscored the Patriots, 17-10. Not satisfied with the win, I wondered if the Eagles that I had brought to the Superbowl could win the game on their own? So I set the game on spectator mode and let an AI controlled Eagles play an AI controlled Patriots. But like I mentioned before, whoever programmed the game did a really good job nailing the Eagles because they lost 6-0...

In the end, although I enjoyed finally seeing the Eagles win the Superbowl in my lifetime, their virtual win was a hollow one. Nothing compares to being a witness to the rollercoaster ride that is an NFL season. The Eagles may have broken my heart and toyed with my emotions more than any girl I have ever or will ever know, I will always be a fan and hope for the best next season... and the season after that... and the season after that...

Recommendations

There really aren't any other NFL Football games out there since EA has the exclusive license. But if you're a football fan, then you're probably chomping at the bit to watch Superbowl XLIII. It should be a good game... if not, there's always the commercials to look forward to.

And speaking of commercials... if you any of you are in the New York area from February 6th to the 8th, be sure to swing by the NY Comiccon! Digital PIMP will be there in the Small Press Area, booth 2452. We'll be debuting Joe Loves Crappy Movies Volume 1 along with some exclusive merchandise for the con and offering a discount on our lovely shirts. If you're not in the area but still want to get updates from the show floor, be sure to follow us on Twitter. It's like being there... 140 characters at a time.

Player Two

After the resurgence of multiplayer co-op, GameBizCo Inc. hired Player Two to be the Goose to someone else's Maverick. His workload isn't quite as heavy as most of the other people working at GameBizCo Inc. and as a result, he spends a lot of time in the break room or playing computer solitaire.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

Player One

Player One is top dog at GameBizCo Inc. Nearly every game, from Pong to Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto, requires Player One's expertise. His cocksure and sometimes inappropriate attitude is an annoyance to his coworkers but seeing as every game needs a first player, they make due.
First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!

Damsel I. Distress

Whether it be a castle, a dungeon or mystical island, Damsel always needs to be saved... and she hates it. Damsel longs for the day when she's given the role of a strong female lead character who doesn't have huge breasts with hyper accurate physics.
First Appearance: LittleBIGPlanet

Final Boss

Underneath the huge brute that is Final Boss lies a timid creature who wouldn't hurt a fly. He puts on his "angry face" when throwing barrels down ramps or breathing fire but deep down he feels sorry for doing so. He's been known to throw a game or two in the player's favor.
First Appearance: World Record

John Minion

John Minion, or Min for short, is the hardest working employee at GameBizCo Inc. Playing everything from Goombas to no name thugs, Min gets beat up on a daily basis but loves every minute of it. He always wanted to work in the gaming industry and was originally hired as an intern. After years of getting coffee, his big break came when someone called in sick... and the rest is history.
First Appearance: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

Middle Manager

Middle Manager works in the Human Resources department. He runs staff meetings and interviews prospective employees. The other 90% of his time is spent playing Freecell on his computer.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

Joe Dunn
@joedunn721
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Irv Fabor
@irvfabor
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