On Wednesday, nearly the entire 5th floor of Electronic-Arts Tiburon got a request for a “Mandatory Madden Team Meeting”. Working on a Central Team is tough. You never know if you are supposed to be invited to team meetings or not. So, I went by the new Executive Producer of Madden, Phil Frazier’s office to find out if his meeting was intended for Central Gameplay as well. He said that it was and that I needed to make sure that some of the guys on the team showed up. He said that the meeting was actually going to be a nice catered lunch with a silly awards show. He said that there was going to be a band there, but who the band was a surprise and that there was going to be no way I could guess who it was. He was right.
When I got back to my desk, I already had several e-mails asking if we were included. One person in particular wasn’t looking forward to sitting through a two-hour meeting and was asking if he could skip it. It just so happened he was going to be receiving one of the awards, so I insisted that he show up.
When we showed up on Friday, the line was long to get into the big conference room on the first floor. The room was packed. About one quarter of the room was sectioned off with black paper. Phil let us eat for a bit and then he gave an introduction for our entertainment for the afternoon. He started off by saying, “How many of you remember a pizza place called Showbiz Pizza?” He then introduced The Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic band from the pizza place of all of our youth.
However, this wasn’t just some old recording, they had gone and recorded the award show so that the robots were giving away the awards. It was impressive that they spent so much time figuring out how to program the robots and set it up for the award show. It’s an event that I won’t soon forget. But, just in case, thanks to Ian Cummings for capturing video.