FOLLOWING AN IMPRESSIVE but not altogether unexpected rally in the fourth quarter, quarterback Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to victory in Super Bowl LI on Wednesday, beating the Atlanta Falcons 27-24. RELATED STORIES Madden 13 Super Bowl Sim Puts the Ravens on Top Madden 12 Makes Gridiron Grinding Greater Hands-On: 5 Ways Madden NFL 12 Changes the Game
Well, OK. Not the real Super Bowl. The simulated one. The Madden one. Every year since 2004, EA Sports has used their NFL-sponsored videogame franchise to predict which team will take the Vince Lombardi Trophy home. Equal parts marketing ploy and artificial intelligence experiment, the digital bowls showcase an intriguing side of sports videogames—and the Madden franchise in particular. They’re not just entertaining games to play with friends over beers in the off season. They’re rigorous, exacting recreations of real-life athleticism. Simulations that might, in fact, run better without gamers than they do with them.