The Madden NFL series is considered the hallmark of all pigskin titles, but its influences and competition have shaped it in more ways than you expect or know. Here are five games that have either helped make Madden what it is- or have forced it to evolve.

Tecmo Bowl: Tecmo Bowl proved football could be fun and viable with real players. Without it, there’s a huge chance Madden (which wasn’t even a Madden game when originally conceived by EA, read more about that in my book, The Minds Behind Sports Games) doesn’t exist the way it does when originally released on the Sega Genesis.

Cyberball: The play-calling system and camera view of the original Madden games on consoles was absolutely influenced by this Atari classic.

NFL Gameday: This series decimated Madden on the PlayStation and forced EA to step up their game.

NFL Quarterback Club: Without the series of mini-games in here, it’s hard to imagine all the extra modes Madden has today.

NFL 2K: Just like GameDay before it, the 2K series elevated the genre. More attention to the run game and smoother animations forced EA again to innovate.

Patrick Hickey Jr. (252 Posts)

Patrick Hickey, Jr., is the founder and editor-in-chief of ReviewFix.com and a lecturer of English and journalism at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, his video game coverage has been featured in national ad campaigns by top publishers the likes of Nintendo, Deep Silver, Disney and EA Sports. His book series, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Game Developers," from McFarland and Company, has earned praise from Forbes, Huffington Post, The New York Daily News and MSG Networks. He is also a former editor at NBC and National Video Games Writer at the late-Examiner.com