Final Set of 2015 Pastapadre Community Award Winners

After a few weeks of collecting votes – the total of which exceeded 28K – it’s time to announce the final group of winners of the 2015 Pastapadre Community Choice Awards. The first five awards were handed out last week. In this set of reveals the categories being awarded are Best Online Play, Best Franchise Mode, Best New Feature, Best New/Non-Yearly Sports Game, and Best Sports Game of the Year.

Best Online Play: Madden NFL 16 (43%)

For the fifth straight year the Madden NFL franchise takes home the award for having the best online experience. A combination of reliable and consistent performance and various ways to play allowed it to stay out in front despite a strong challenger emerging. The NBA 2K series has long suffered from having a poor online experience, but stability has been achieved with 2K16 and with new innovative features having been added now it’s a real contender going forward. Voters recognized that with 38% in the polling. NHL 16 also got a good deal of credit for its EASHL revival drawing the final 19%.

Best Franchise Mode: NBA 2K16 (62%)

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Mike Tyson is the third fighter offered with EA Sports UFC 2 pre-orders

EA Sports UFC 2 Mike Tyson

When the pre-order incentive for EA Sports UFC 2 was revealed to include three fighters, but only two were being named, it was obvious that the one being held back would not be a traditional fighter and have some sort of story behind them. Today the company announced that Mike Tyson will be included with pre-orders of the game.

Two versions of Tyson will be found in UFC 2. There’s the young “Iron” Mike Tyson and the late-in-career “Legacy” Mike Tyson. The standard edition of UFC 2 gets access to the former while the Deluxe Edition receives both of them. The characters can also be unlocked free through progress in the game. Amazon Prime members can get EA Sports UFC 2 discounted with the Standard version for $ 48 and Deluxe version which includes bonus Ultimate Team content for $ 56.

Tyson of course never fought in UFC or competed in MMA. However he makes a little more sense for the game considering there is a new “KO Mode” being introduced. In that mode everything is kept on the feet and only ends in knockouts which would suit his skill set. It’ll be the closest thing to boxing since Fight Night Champion released in 2011.

EA drew some criticism with the first UFC game for heavily marketing the inclusion of Bruce Lee, which was a sign of things to come as the gameplay too was designed in a manner to appeal to a crowd who had very little to no interest in MMA. Sales ended up well below internal expectations. The post-release support for that game and offering up two legends along with Tyson is an indication that the company may have learned from their mistakes.

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Kirk Herbstreit doesn’t properly grasp why the NCAA Football series is gone


ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who appeared as a commentator in the NCAA Football series from 2001-2013, is upset that the NCAA Football series no longer exists. In an interview that has just gone out he places all the blame on Ed O’Bannon, and expresses the belief that the series should return under the same conditions from the past. Check out a summary of his comments and why he is off-base with them over at Sporting News.

O’Bannon is the face of the class action suit that led to the cancellation of NCAA Football, but he absolutely should not be singled out as the reason for it. This was going to happen sooner or later and O’Bannon initially wasn’t even the one challenging current player likenesses, but rather the inclusion of historic player likenesses without any approval or compensation.

Herbstreit’s main argument is one you’ve heard before, that the players all want to be in the game and don’t care about being paid for it. That’s easy to say for those who wouldn’t really be able to capitalize on their likeness even if allowed to do so, but clearly wouldn’t apply to the Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel type of players from years past. It’s the college athletes who move merchandise and are promoted on television broadcasts that are the ones primarily getting screwed over by the NCAA, at least as far as making money off their names, but obviously there are many others who contribute to a product that generates billions of dollars every year who are being exploited in the process.

Ultimately his opinion on the matter means nothing at this point. Just because a lot of people want something doesn’t mean it will happen or even can. A new college football video game won’t happen until the legal matters are finally exhausted and a system is devised to pay for player likenesses. Read up on the situation, how we got here and what it would take for college games to return, and also check out the latest Press Row Podcast on the subject.

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EA Sports UFC 2 and MLB The Show 16 among pre-orders discounted at Amazon


Last year many Amazon offered $ 10 promotional credits on many video game pre-orders in order to compete with the Best Buy Gamer’s Club. Now the online retailer has gone even further by discounting practically all game pre-orders by 20% for Amazon Prime members.

Upcoming sports titles EA Sports UFC 2 and MLB The Show 16, both slated to release in March, are among the deals now available. That makes each $ 48 for the standard versions or $ 56 for the versions that include extra content.

EA Sports UFC 2: Standard Edition – Deluxe Edition
MLB The Show 16: Standard Edition – MVP Edition

The discount may not be seen on the product page but rather applied at checkout. As with all pre-orders on Amazon the charges are not made until the games ship and can be cancelled at any time prior to then. The promotion will extend beyond the pre-order period with 20% off even through the two weeks that follow release.

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New video looks at the major gameplay improvements found in EA Sports UFC 2

EA Sports UFC 2 Anthony Rumble Johnson

In a new video that went out today some of the previously announced improvements to gameplay coming with EA Sports UFC 2 are further examined. The game is now just over two months away from release and those with Amazon Prime can pre-order the standard edition for $ 48 or the deluxe edition for $ 56.

With the new physics-driven hit reaction system, every knockout will feel different from the last. Fighters will fall in response to their momentum and the blow they receive, making each knockout feel responsive and rewarding.

Dominate the mat like Ronda Rousey. From chaining your moves, quick transitions, and the ability to do standing submissions, there are more ways to defeat your opponent.

Great names like Fabricio Werdum, Johny Hendricks and Demian Maia have always been incredible on the ground. In EA SPORTS UFC 2, we’re bringing the ground game to life with more variety and responsiveness, featuring freedom and control not seen in any previous MMA game.

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End of Year Community Awards Voting: Best Franchise Mode of 2015


The voting for various categories in the Pastapadre Community Awards continues with Best Franchise Mode. This category has been one of the more interesting ones over the years, with Madden coming out on top from 2011-13 and NBA 2K snapping its streak in 2014.

Now Open for Voting: Best Gameplay – Best Presentation – Best Post-Release Support –Best Career Mode – Best Team-Building Mode – Best Online Play – Best Franchise Mode

NBA 2K16 once again offers up two complete Franchise mode experiences with MyGM and MyLeague. New features within them this year included “MyLeague Online” allowing for up to 30 team owners to be connected in a single franchise, team relocation/creation, Summer League, and updated NBA Draft presentation.

Madden lost last year, due in part to the detrimental additions of Confidence and Game Plan. Those stuck around and were joined by the awful Drive Goals which won’t help its cause this time around. Still the most enriching and consistent Online Franchise found in the genre, there were several positive additions like the ability for the commissioner to assign wins, open practice, and streamlined player scouting.

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Reacting to the Press Row Podcast’s Top Three Games of 2015

The biggest Press Row Podcast of the year is out now, with the 2015 Sports Game of the Year having been named, and responses have been coming in ever since. During the show panelists went into the thinking behind their personal rankings, along with detailed strengths and weaknesses of the titles in contention this year and those that didn’t make the cut. Ultimately, in a very tight contest, NBA 2K16 prevailed over Rocket League and MLB 15: The Show.

From whether Rocket League should be considered a sports game to what the games outside of the top three would need to do to contend for the award in the future, Rich and I discuss reaction to the big SGOTY episode from last week.

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