Madden 19 goes for emotion again, but what it needs most is to be portable

I'm sitting on my sofa, Xbox One controller in hand, playing Madden 19. I'm playing Longshot mode -- it's the second storyline mode that EA Sports has added to its annual NFL game.

I didn't play Longshot when it was introduced last year. It didn't interest me at all. I play Madden as a way to learn about the NFL season, and model future games that my favorite troubled team, the New York Jets, might play. I play it as penance for a weird childhood going to Jets games I only half liked, and an adulthood where I've become addicted to following the team my dad used to love before he died.

Madden and I are old friends.

I'm playing Madden even though the NFL has become a bizarre landscape. And I no longer have season tickets to Jets games. And I find it harder to care about any of it in the real world.

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Longshot: Homecoming ended up sucking me in. I think it's because I didn't expect it to be so much like a movie. It's more storyline than gameplay, and it's heavy on the cliches. But I ended up finding it unexpectedly dramatic and emotional.

It stars Ron Cephas Jones as the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Friday Night Lights' Scott Porter as a player who feels a lot like his character on Friday Night Lights and even, weirdly, Rob Schneider as the Cowboys' general manager. The cast is generally great. The music is well done. It worked for me -- even though the simple storyline paralleling the NFL preseason and two players trying to make a roster seems pretty basic.

Somewhere in the middle of Ron Cephas Jones' heartfelt soliloquy on aging and parenthood, I shed a tear.

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