Purchase photos

Are you ready for some football?





Approximately a dozen Madden gamers had their game face on, intently eyeing the clock and waiting for 12:01 a.m.

Waiting first in line for the new release of the always-hot video game Madden NFL 13 at Hastings, 3300 Vine, were roommates Nathan Shattuck, Great Bend, and Tyler Fross, Hays.

Shattuck and Fross are friends who work together at Walmart and also go to school at Fort Hays State University. But on the virtual playing field of the NFL, they couldn't be farther apart. Shattuck is a fan of defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Fross favors the New England Patriots, a three-time Super Bowl winner, but who lost Super Bowls XLII and XLVI to the Giants.

One can imagine a Super Bowl rematch between the buddies, playing their favorite sports video game.

"Just the amount of changes they put into it," Shattuck said of the reason why he's bought the game five straight years. "The new engine looks amazing."

New to Madden this year is the Infinity Engine, which makes tackles and receptions look more realistic. A receiver might stretch to catch a pass, then lose his footing while begin tripped up by a cornerback, or a quarterback might be thrown to the turf instead of just falling on contact.

"Just the graphics look a little better," said Fross, who also has bought the game the last five years.

To buy or not to buy Madden is an issue for some, who believe the game each year is just an updated roster. Not so, said Fross.

"I know the joke is you get the game because of the rosters, just the new roster updates, but it's just a new game, a new experience," he said. "That's what I look forward to."

Fross said he plays video games approximately three hours a week. When asked how much time Shattuck has a controller in his hands, Fross started laughing before his roomie could answer.

"Oh, 10 hours," Shattuck said, who paused, then added, "Probably 10 to 15 hours."

Both Madden fans planned to open up the game and play right away early this morning -- classes or no classes.

"I'll play one or two games, but I have class at nine o'clock," Fross said.

No such worries for Shattuck, who goes to school at FHSU online.

"I could stay up all night if I wanted to," he said. "I'll probably stay up pretty late. I don't know when (I will go to bed); when I get tired."

He just likely won't get tired of playing Madden.