Cover Star: John Madden (Wearing A Tie But No Suit Jacket)
Year: 1997

The mid-to-late-'90s were a weird fucking time in America. Bill Clinton had thrust the nation into a scandal that dredged up uncomfortable questions about how our private lives should inform our public ones. Shakespeare In Love won Best Picture over a Terrence Malick film and two movies about World War II. The craziest shit of all? Two Madden games came out in 1997. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but Shakespeare In Love was directed by a guy named John Madden. Okay, so actually the thing was the EA Sports dudes wanted to make a game that harnessed the unfathomable, 64-bit power of the Nintendo 64 so they made Madden Football 64, but they couldn't use NFL team names because the Quarterback Club franchise had the exclusive rights for Nintendo systems. So they ended up putting out two games. Much like the time Nelly released two albums at once, the less ambitious one is way better.