EA Sports has teamed with VTree LLC, a company that develops software for the disabled community, to create My Football Game, a Madden-powered game for players with developmental and physical difficulties.
The game has its roots in a chance meeting between Vtree President Chuck Bergen and Rob Moore, the chief technology offficer at EA Sports, at a trade show several years ago. "Our technology group had been exploring some possibilities for taking the core EA Sports gaming engines into other environments, with two goals in mind - products that held up to our quality standards, and an application that helped people," Moore said.
"As we started talking with VTree, it was quickly clear that their experience working with disabled gamers had revealed a great opportunity for a sports game to be used for cognitive and physical rehabilitation," he continued. "It was a great fit."
VTree works extensively with disabled veterans of the U.S. military, many of whom are gamers but can no longer partake in the hobby as they once did because of their injuries. Agreeing that games designed for disabled gamers were usually "overly simple, often rough designs," Bergen and Moore went to work on creating an authentic Madden experience that could accommodate gamers with special needs.
The result was My Football Game, which was released to Veterans Administration hospitals and facilities earlier this year. Although the game uses a somewhat dated version of the Madden engine for the PC, it features numerous settings that can be adjusted based on the "skill levels, reaction time and capabilities of each player." Three levels of play are available and a Championship Ring, with diamonds added to it as players notch up achievements, keeps a record of progress through the game.
Unlike the Madden series, My Football Game doesn't feature any licensed NFL teams or players, but based on requests from the vets who played the game, EA is trying to incorporate special logos and uniforms created for each branch of the military and special forces units like Navy SEALs and Army Rangers. "If they can get us permission to use those names and logos we will make custom teams for each of them," Moore told AbleGamers. "If we can help our veterans recover a little faster, or even just have a little fun sometimes, that would be a great outcome for us."