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NBA 2K10 Draft Combine -- Derrick Rose.jpgIt may be an understatement to say it's been a busy summer for Bulls guard Derrick Rose. In the midst of controversy, the 2009 NBA Rookie of the Year is looking to avoid a sophomore slump by waking up early every morning to hit the gym.

The negative press surrounding Rose didn't stop 2K Sports from making him the face of their new lead-up demo to the NBA 2K10 video game -- "NBA 2K10 Draft Combine."

With "Draft Combine" you experience the same thing the players do as they get ready to make the transition from college to the pros -- from the scrimmages to the drills, workouts and game situations.  

And while it's not the cover of the main game (that honor went to Kobe Bryant) it still has to be encouraging for Rose to see companies looking to him to represent their product.

We caught up with Rose recently to ask him a few questions about "Draft Combine" and what he's been up to:
brett-favre-madden-10.jpgUn-retirement enthusiast Brett Favre will join Michael Vick as the marquee additions to the August 19 roster update for the Madden 10 video game.

Madden spokesman Rob Semsey said in an e-mail today that Favre will have an overall rating of 82.

Wednesday's update will add Favre to the Vikings' roster after it was announced he signed with the team today. Vick, meanwhile, will have a 73 rating -- significantly reduced from his overall Madden 08 rating of 90.

Based on EA's "If it's in the game, it's in the game" slogan, one can only assume that if you're using the Vikings in franchise mode, you can fully expect Favre to retire at the end of your first season, be trailed relentlessly by Rachel Nichols, be featured in a series of recurring B-roll footage of him tossing lob passes to Hattiesburg high schoolers only to return just as you were thinking to yourself, "Wow. He's really doing it this time."
Thumbnail image for madden_nfl_10_cover_larry_troy.jpgHappy Madden Day, folks. Madden 10 hit the shelves today, meaning wives and girlfriends will see a little less of their significant others in the days and weeks to come.

The Madden franchise has become the yearbook by which many gamers recall seasons past, and this year's version takes the experience to another level.

In honor of this sacred gamer holiday, we've compiled five reasons why Madden 10 is oh-so-worth the price: 

1. The Eagles may not know yet how they'll utilize Michael Vick, but you can rest assured that Madden developers are hard at work deciding how you'll use him in the game. With the introduction of the wildcat offense in this year's game, expect to see plenty of it in online play. Luckily, it's relatively easy to stop from a defensive standpoint -- especially if you're facing any team that's not the Miami Dolphins.

2. Online franchise mode is new this season. Despite a few glitches in the initial run of the game (including some copies that don't have the correct coding), it's going to take some gamers a while to fully grasp the potential here. Once they do, this is going to be one of the more popular features in the game.

3. EA Sports has taken its slogan -- "If it's in the game, it's in the game" -- to another level this season. Shots of tailgaters, defensive players keeping loose on stationary bikes, kickers getting ready on the sidelines for a last-second chance -- these are just a few of the additions EA has added to the game presentation. What's more, the stadiums seem crisper and the presentation smoother. The tagline for the 21st edition of the game is "Fight for every yard" and when you play the game, you see why. Ball carriers aren't automatically down on contact, forcing defenses to be more diligent. The fight-for-the fumble feature is cool at first, but could get annoying after a while if every single fumble -- no matter how clean or one-sided a recovery -- becomes a scrum.

4. There's a greater disparity between the average players and the elite players in this year's game. In other words, good luck passing for 4,000 yards in a season with Sage Rosenfels. However, 2,000 rushing yards with the untouchable Adrian Peterson is quite possible.

5. The mini games -- only afterthought in the past -- are actually fun this season and totally worth the time. Perhaps it's because your performance in them affects your player rating. And you can also play them online this season.   

NBA 2K10 Draft Combine -- Derrick Rose.jpgPatrick Kane's not the only Chicago athlete worthy of gracing a video game cover. Derrick Rose has been tapped as the frontman for NBA 2K10: Draft Combine. Sure, it's not prestigious as the Kobe Bryant-helmed official title, but Rose seems the perfect fit for the super demo.

You may be asking yourself at this point, What is Draft Combine and why should I drop $4.99 to download it on my Xbox or Playstation 3?

A 2K Sports press release explains it all:

In NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, fans will begin their career at the ATTACK Athletics gym in Chicago by building their own custom player and working with a mentor, the 2K Insider, to step up their game through a variety of challenging basketball drills and 5-on-5 games to increase their NBA draft stock.  The greater a player excels at a particular drill, or in completing specific game objectives, the more valuable skill points they will receive which can be used to improve one of over 30 key player attributes.  Fans can then take their custom built players in NBA 2K10: Draft Combine and use them in the all-new My Player career mode in NBA 2K10 launching this fall, allowing them to continue their journey toward becoming an NBA legend.  

Rose, last year's rookie of the year and the first pick in the 2008 draft, knows what it takes to prep for the draft -- which is perhaps why he was picked for this.  

"Derrick is the perfect fit to be our spokesman for NBA 2K10: Draft Combine," said Greg Thomas, senior vice president of sports development for 2K.  "Not only is he one of the most dynamic young playmakers in the NBA today, he's the pride of Chicago, where the real NBA Draft Combine is located.  We look forward to working closely with Derrick this season, and are thrilled to offer our fans a brand new pre-season basketball experience with NBA 2K10: Draft Combine."

So -- if you've always wanted to know what it's like to train in Chicago's famed ATTACK Center but always lacked the athletic prowess, this may be as close as you'll get. Which is exactly why we here at Sports Pros(e) will be downloading this one.
In a move that has the potential to plant himself firmly on Dana White's bad side, Fedor Emelianenko will headline EA Sports MMA fighter roster.

White, the enigmatic president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, said recently that anyone who signed on to EA's MMA game would find themselves banned from fighting in UFC. But a release from EA Sports today said Emelianenko, arguably the world's top heavyweight, will be joined by Gegard Mousasi and Renato Sobral as the first to sign on to the MMA franchise.

Speculation swirled throughout the mixed martial arts blogosphere this morning about whether Emelianenko would announce today that he had signed with UFC. But the Los Angeles Times reported that there were "intense" talks between the 231-pound Russian heavyweight and UFC, but a deal would be unlikely until later this week.

As I sat and watched this year's ESPYs at the Wrigleyville Rockit, through the litany of mindless commercials, this Under Armor offering featuring Devin Hester caught my eye:

dana-white-peter-moore-ufc-ea-sports.jpgChronically outspoken UFC president Dana White says he's at war with EA Sports, developers of some of the most successful sports video games in history. But the video game behemoth is apparently taking the high road by avoiding any verbal sparring.

It all started about a year and a half ago when UFC allegedly approached EA Sports about the possibility of developing a game. It didn't happen. Then, EA rival THQ recently released "UFC Undisputed 2009," which White told the media has shipped more than 2 million copies since may.

EA Sports announced in a press release June 1 that "EA Sports MMA" -- ostensibly lined up to compete with "Undisputed" -- is in development, eyed for a 2010 release.

That didn't sit well with White, who recently quoted as saying, "EA Sports told us, 'You're not a real sport.'" EA Sports wanted "nothing to do with" a mixed martial arts video game. "I'm at war with them right now," White said. "That's how I look at it."
NCAA_Football_10_cover.jpgI was 12 years old when Bill Walsh College Football came out for the Sega Genesis. I was pretty certain then that the ability to run the option with an electronic facsimile of Garrison Hearst was the single greatest technological advancement of the 20th century.

As a teenager, EA Sports' NCAA Football became a late-summer tradition. Before you were able to snag team rosters online, I took great pleasure in learning about that year's crop of college talent by manually changing all the players' names in the game -- even the guys from Buffalo and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Now I'm staring down the barrel of 30 and I have no shame in telling you that I'm just as excited now about video game college football as I was when I was 12. I'm continually impressed year after year with how far the franchise has come, and how incredibly realistic it is. I think to myself, I deserve this. I've put in my time. I've suffered through choppy gameplay, so-so graphics (in retrospect, of course) and some entirely lame playbooks. Today, the playbooks are almost identical to those the real college teams run.
NCAA_Football_10_cover.jpgOne of the most anticipated titles in the Electronic Arts canon is their college football franchise, and this year's installment -- NCAA Football 10 -- is no exception.

With the addition of the TeamBuilder feature, Road to Glory and the first video game appearance of the ever-alluring Erin Andrews, this year's title promises to give Kyle and me plenty of opportunities to challenge our friendship.

We'll be bringing you plenty of news and reviews of NCAA Football 10 in the next couple of weeks leading up to the July 14 release -- including the following interview with the game's designer, Ben Haumiller.

Haumiller was kind enough to take time during the lead up to the game's launch to answer a few questions about the game's new features and, of course, the difficult task of having to stare at Erin Andrews all day.
blake-griffin-ncaa-10.jpgA day after EA Sports announced that Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane would be its NHL 10 cover boy, the video game juggernaut named projected first overall draft pick Blake Griffin the cover athlete for NCAA Basketball 10.

The move should come as no surprise, as Griffin was everyone's Mr. Everything last season for the Oklahoma Sooners. Griffin was the consensus national Player of the Year, winning the Big 12, Associated Press, Naismith, Sporting News, and John Wooden Player of the Year awards.

In a statement released today by EA Sports, Griffin said, "Seeing myself on the cover of NCAA Basketball 10 is such a great tribute to my time at Oklahoma. I loved playing in front of passionate fans and competing against some of the best schools in the country. Now I am looking forward to competing at the next level against the best players in the world."

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