My name is Marlon Scott and I was addicted to the Madden video game series.

It started for me with the launch of the PlayStation 2 video game system in March, 2000.

I had played video games at home and in arcades since I was in elementary school, innocently dabbling in my free time.

I had also watched and admired the evolution of video game consoles from the simplicity of Pong all the way to the PlayStation, but its impact on my life was minimal.

I was happy to play games on my PlayStation, plus the cost of the PlayStation 2 initially made it a serious commitment I was unwilling to make. Then a friend showed me Madden 2001.

It was the most beautiful, realistic sports game I had ever seen. I remember seeing lights reflecting off the helmets of players and the limited vision in a snow storm.

I admit to shedding manly tears.

From that moment, I was hooked. Like millions of my peers, I stayed up nights building franchises, playing through seasons and challenging friends. For 10 years relationships and jobs came and went, but my Madden loyalty never faltered.

Every year Madden addicts are convinced the game can’t improve. However, they are first in line to pre-order for the new version.

Before, at least there was the excuse of control improvements or wanting the updated roster. Now, however, we get updates online and the controls can be customized to any version of Madden ever made.

The creators of Madden laugh at the notion of someone trying to give up the game. Last year Madden 10 was released in August and eventually became the second highest selling game of the year.

I was hopelessly lost in the sea of my Madden playing zombie brothers until fate finally provided a chance to break free. My freedom came because of the NFL lockout.

Normally, Madden bridges the gap from the Super Bowl to the start of the new season for football lovers. But the lockout extended that period and actually threatened the start of a new season.

For the first time in 10 years, Madden players could not anticipate playing their favorite players or teams because the teams and game were in flux.

In July, the makers of Madden released a statement admitting they would not be able to include the new rules implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in Madden 12, and the true rosters of the teams will need to be downloaded. The heart of the Madden game, its realism, had been wounded.

I had a moment of clarity. Since then, I have been clean for 35 days.

I have been able to resist the desire to purchase and play the new Madden by trying to keep up and understand all the changes in the real game.

I have found freedom and am enjoying the feeling.

Granted, I am in a lot more fantasy football leagues now.

I am sure that is just a coincidence. I don’t have a problem.

I can quit fantasy football whenever I want to. TAS