Sports games have always been popular amongst gamers. However, technology has always held creators back from producing quality and realistic sports sims. Madden ’92 is an example of an early attempt to produce a playable American football game…and to be fair, they didn’t do a bad job.
Madden ’92 is an American football sports game developed and published by Electronic Arts for the Sega Mega Drive, beginning a franchise of yearly instalments for the video game market. I reviewed was Sega Mega Drive version.
Naturally I had heard of American football as a youngster through American films but had never actually played it. The first John Madden game gave me the opportunity to learn how the sport was played. When we picked up Madden ’92, I was pleased to see there had been some improvements. There were more plays for the teams to perform, and when a player was injured, an ambulance would drive onto the pitch, which proceeded to plough through the huddled mass of players, splaying them across the field. There was the introduction of the two-player co-operative mode, which was a novelty for sports games at the time. New play modes inlcuding pre-season, regular season, play-offs and sudden death. You were now also able to adjust game time to either 5, 10 or 15 minutes per quarter. However, there was still no license for authentic teams, stadium and player names.
I would always play as Chicago (because for some reason I liked the Chicago Bears), and my older brother preferred Cincinnati (Bengals). Like most sports games, Madden ‘92 is better in two-player mode. The negative aspects of this game include the fact that the players are so slow when running that trying to gain rushing yards is pointless. You may as well stick to throwing plays.
Did I complete the game?
In many modern sports games you don’t necessarily complete them, as much as win the league and cup titles and then move on to the next season. Completing early sports games simply means winning a tournament or league once before restarting with a different team. I have won the play-offs many times with several different teams including Chicago, Cincinnati, Buffalo and Philadelphia.
What the critics said:
Mean Machines: “Better than the original John Madden’s football in every department. What more can be said?”. Overall 95%.”
Mean Machines Index: “Featuring new teams, higher difficulty level and plenty of gameplay tweaks, this sequel does the impossible and improves upon the original to become the best Megadrive game yet seen! An essential purchase. Overall 96%“
Sega Power: “Better than the original, but at first sight it seems very similar. Don’t be fooled! (If you’ve got the original though – think before buying. It’s not radically different.) Overall 5/5“.
GamePro: “John Madden Football ’92 features the most talented computer opponent – ‘nuff said. Add to this the additional plays, two-player cooperative play, and improved graphics, and JMF ‘92 gives you great bang for your buck. Overall 5/5”.
Sega Force: “Madden is one of those rare things, a complex game easy and fun to play, but with the detail to allow constant improvement by practice. Even rarer it merges detailed tactics with arcade gameplay so well, few people will be able to resist it. Overall 94%”.
My verdict: “An improvement on the first game. Definitely more enjoyable in two-player mode but sadly, the game hasn’t aged well.”
What are your memories of Madden ’92? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Facebook.
 ‘Review: Mega Drive – John Madden Football ’92’. Mean Machines. (December 1991). Issue 15:20-24. (https://archive.org/details/mean-machines-magazine-15/page/n25/mode/2up Accessed 10th December 2019).
 ‘Review Index: Mega Drive – John Madden Football ‘92’. Mean Machines. (October 1992). Issue 1:139. (https://archive.org/details/mean-machines-sega-magazine-01/page/n137/mode/2up Accessed 16th February 2020).
 ‘The Hard Line – Review: Mega Drive – John Madden ‘92’. Sega Power. (September 1993). Issue 46:97. (https://retrocdn.net/images/b/b9/SegaPower_UK_46.pdf Accessed 17th February 2020).
 Fanatic Fan. ‘GamePro’s Video Football Playoff – John Madden ‘92’ GamePro. (December 1991). Issue 29:55-56. (https://findyourinnergeek.ca/2013/10/magazine-monday-46-gamepro-issue-29-december-1991/#gallery/5a5d0712b6d4562dc1b1bb0f692dfbf5/8181 Accessed on 10th May 2020).
 ‘Reviewed – John Madden’s Football ’92’. Sega Force. (January 1992). Issue 1:36-7 (https://retrocdn.net/images/2/27/SegaForce_UK_01.pdf Accessed 14th June 2020).