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#pounditSaturday, January 16, 2021

Video Games

Keenan Allen doesn’t play ‘trash’ Madden anymore

Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen was openly furious with his ratings in last year’s installment of the “Madden” video game series, and apparently the Los Angeles Chargers star has stuck to his promise to boycott the game.

Allen was asked by a reporter on Monday if he is any happier with his ratings in “Madden NFL 21” than he was with those in “Madden NFL 20.” The Pro Bowl wide receiver claimed he doesn’t know what his ratings are this year because he doesn’t play the game anymore.

“I don’t even know what (my ratings) are. I don’t play Madden,” Allen said. “I played it last year. I don’t play it this year. I really don’t play that game, not because I was mad. That game’s trash, actually.”

Most people will find that hard to believe. Allen obviously played “Madden” last year. It would be a heck of a coincidence if he just decided the game is now “trash” after ranting about his ratings.

Allen said last year that he will no longer be playing Madden because his ratings were disrespectful. He broke down his specific issues with the ratings in a video you can see here.

For what it’s worth, the creators of “Madden” showed Allen more respect this year. He was angry that his overall rating was an 89 last year, but he is a 92 in the new game. Allen also mentioned that his medium route-running rating was an 88, but it is a 94 now. Apparently the boosts weren’t enough to get him interested in playing again.

Damian Lillard, NBA 2K21 cover athlete, has complaint about game

Damian Lillard

Even the man gracing the cover of “NBA 2K21” cannot seem to get the hang of the game’s new shot meter.

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard tweeted his initial thoughts on the newly-released game this week. Lillard said that he was struggling with the new shot meter and had not even made a free throw yet.

Previous editions of “NBA 2K” had a vertical shot meter that a user had to fill up. This year, the shot meter is now horizontal and requires a user to release the shoot button closer to the middle, which is less intuitive. The margin for error also appears to be significantly less.

The “NBA 2K” series is now so big that the league recently hosted a highly-viewed players’ tournament. But Lillard, as the cover athlete, is shedding some light on a serious flaw in this year’s edition.

Alex Ovechkin offers hilarious comment about making NHL 21 cover

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin received the honor of being the cover athlete for EA Sports’ “NHL 21” video game, and he had a great comment about it.

The 34-year-old Washington Capitals star was also on the cover for the “NHL 07” game that was released in 2006 and referenced it.

“It’s a huge honor to be on the cover of NHL 21 for the second cover in my career. More importantly, I’m glad I’m looking just as good on the cover this year as I did in 2007!!!” Ovechkin said, via NBC Sports’ Sammi Silber.

Yes, Ovi, you’re still every bit as handsome now as you were then. And that’s especially impressive given your Mamma Lucia order.

Ovi has accomplished a ton since his first appearance on the game’s cover. He’s led the league in goals nine times and won a Stanley Cup. Ovechkin is also one of only eight players in NHL history to score over 700 goals in his career.

Jose Altuve, George Springer lose top status on video game amid season struggles

Jose Altuve

Some Houston Astros star players are struggling this season, and that has been reflected in reduced player ratings in a popular video game.

“MLB The Show 20” assigns players overall ratings for the game. Anyone who has an 85-or-higher rating receives a diamond; 80-84 is gold; 75-79 is silver; and bronze is 65-74.

Due to their poor starts to the 2020 season, both Jose Altuve and George Springer have dropped from diamond ratings to gold ones.

Altuve was the No. 1-ranked second baseman prior to the start of the season, and his 85 rating made him the only diamond-quality player at the position. With an 85 ranking, Springer also had diamond status. For context, Mike Trout received the highest overall rating at 95, and the next highest players were Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer at 92.

Springer has dropped to an 82 as of the most recent game update, while Altuve is an 81.

The ratings drops make sense given how the players have performed this year.

Springer is batting .189/.338/.377 this season. Altuve is batting .171/.244/.305 and has been dropped to the seventh spot in the team’s lineup. Some fans have a very good idea about the reason for the players’ struggles, though the solid play from Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley runs contrary to the popular theory.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

NCAA Football video game not likely to return soon

The NCAA is finally taking significant steps toward allowing athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, and many fans have taken that to mean the return of a college football video game is on the horizon. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The NCAA had a working group meet on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of allowing student-athletes to make money. The Board of Governors announced on Wednesday that the plan is to give student-athletes the green light to profit from marketing opportunities, social media, personal appearances, businesses they have started and the like, but group licensing will not be included. Bringing back a video game like EA Sports’ “NCAA Football” would require group licensing.

The working group left open the possibility of having some sort of group licensing in the future.

In short, we are not getting “NCAA Football” back in the immediate future — if at all. The game was extremely popular, and it has even been used by some schools as a recruiting tool. EA Sports would certainly love to bring it back, but the latest developments do not pave the way for that just yet.

Florida State using ‘NCAA Football’ video game to hold virtual spring game

Florida State logo

College football spring games have been wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the Florida State Seminoles are improvising in a bid to entertain fans.

The Seminoles have scheduled a virtual spring game at the time their actual one was supposed to start, using EA Sports “NCAA Football 14.” Offensive line coach Alex Atkins will handle one Seminoles team, while former defensive end Wally Aime will take the other.

The game is six years old, as no new ones have been made due to licensing issues. Judging by the appearance of James Blackman in the preview video, it looks like someone updated the rosters to set up the current team for this particular event.

Points for creativity here. They’re not the first school to use the game in a fun way, but this is pretty cool all the same.

NBA planning players-only ‘NBA 2K’ tournament featuring Kevin Durant, others

Kevin Durant

The NBA may not be able to resume its season in as timely a fashion as it originally hoped, but the league is planning an event that will hopefully give basketball fans something to look forward to.

The NBA is organizing a players-only tournament for the video game “NBA 2K20” that will feature some of the league’s best gamers, including Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. Sources told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that the 16-player tournament will be broadcast on ESPN and span over 10 days. The goal is for the event to launch on Friday.

Other players taking part in the tournament include DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond. The league is still finalizing the details.

The White House recently extended its social distancing guidelines through April 30, and many states have issued “shelter-in-place” orders as the coronavirus continues to spread. It seems unlikely that the NBA or any other sports league will resume play before June, which is why we have seen leagues exploring other ways to keep fans entertained. A video game tournament is certainly better than nothing.

NFL2K as we know it not making comeback despite new deal

Football and video game fans received some exciting news on Tuesday when 2K Games announced a multi-year partnership with the NFL, but that does not mean “NFL2K” is making a comeback.

The press release stated that the renewed partnership between NFL and 2K Games will encompass multiple future video games, but the part of the announcement that many have overlooked is that the games will be “non-simulation football game experiences.”

“We’re thrilled to be back in business with the NFL in a partnership that will span multiple video games centered on fun, approachable and social experiences,” 2K president David Ismailer said. “It’s exciting to bring together 2K’s expertise in creating award-winning sports games with the NFL’s renowned status as a world-class entertainment and sports organization.”

The last simulation football game 2K Games released was the popular “ESPN NFL 2K5” back in 2004. While many fans were quick to conclude that Tuesday’s announcement meant a similar game will be hitting the shelves again at some point in 2021, that is not the case. EA Sports, which produces “Madden,” issued a press release of its own reminding fans and gamers that it remains the “only exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games.”

“Our agreements have always allowed for non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms,” the release said. “Our commitment to NFL fans, which spans almost 30 years, has never been stronger, and we’re having our biggest year yet.”

That doesn’t mean there won’t be some quality NFL-related games coming out. The new deal between the NFL and 2K Games could result in the comeback of arcade-style games similar to “NFL Blitz,” which was widely popular but has not produced a new title since 2012. But if you only like games that are as close as possible to the real thing, “Madden” will still be your jam.

Watch: Raptors get zero love in latest NBA 2K trailer

The Toronto Raptors have been, unfortunately, one of the losers of arguably the most wild offseason in NBA history, and the creators of the latest installment of the NBA 2K video game series seem to think the defending champions aren’t even worth mentioning.

Unless, of course, they’re being tooled on by the player who broke their hearts in free agency.

The latest trailer for NBA 2K20 was released on Thursday, and the overall theme was showing superstar players with their new teams. The only time the Raptors were featured was when Kawhi Leonard was depicted scoring on them, which you can see below at the 20-second mark:

A lot of people are saying the trailer showed Kawhi dunking on the Raptors, but if you watch closely he’s actually going up for a layup. Still, that has to sting for fans in Toronto.

Even if the Raptors stand little chance of repeating as champs with Leonard gone, you could argue that they deserve better treatment than that from NBA 2K. They probably should have at least had Leonard scoring on the team whose offseason he sabotaged, not the one he carried to a title.

Chargers WR Keenan Allen complains about his Madden rating

Keenan Allen

The player ratings for the video game “Madden NFL 20” were released on Monday, and let’s just say several athletes were not pleased with their markings.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen was among those protesting his rating. Take a look at this video where he cites everything wrong with the numbers he received:

All that is leading Allen to boycott the video game.

Allen has put up two pretty excellent seasons for the Chargers in a row. He had 97 catches for 1,196 yards and six touchdowns last season. The year before he had 102 catches for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns. Maybe he’s not getting the Madden respect he feels he deserves, but fans know how good he is.