This Just In!

John Madden Football 1988

It is important to recognize that with the ever-changing nature of technology, what you own today could be history tomorrow. The focus of this month’s “This Just In!” is the John Madden Football 1988. We received a donation of many old computer items but this one stood out for a few reasons.

John Madden Football 1988 with all accessories including: 3.5 inch floppy disk, instruction manual, offensive and defensive playbooks, command summary card, and season ticket wheel

John Madden Football 1988 with all accessories including 3.5 inch floppy disk

The John Madden Football series is still in existence today. It now goes by simply Madden but the premise of the game is still the same as it was when it was released in 1988: to simulate a football game. This first version of the game featured user customization including weather conditions, time of quarters, player fatigue and injuries, and penalties; it did not feature season play, as in later versions, but rather single games only. Although changes have been made such as improved graphics and a stronger association with the NFL teams, younger generations will still be able to relate the name with what they know today. The preservation of this game allows generations to connect and have discussions around what has and has not changed.

John Madden Football 1988 back of the box

John Madden Football 1988 back of the box

While the name of the game might be recognizable to the younger generations, one change in particular might be unrecognizable. That is the format of the game; this version of the game is on a 3.5 inch floppy disk, a form of computer data storage and exchange used from the mid-1970s into the mid-2000s. By the late 2000s, floppy disks were almost completely obsolete. Computers were no longer manufactured with drives that could read them and an external reader using USB is was, and still is, needed. If you were to buy a copy the Madden game today, it would not even be available for the computer and it would either come on a DVD (Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) or be a “digital download” with no physical form. Preserving the floppy disk format of a game shows how quickly technology has changed in just 28 years.

John Madden Football 3.5 inch floppy disk

John Madden Football 3.5 inch floppy disk

Call for Technology Objects!

For these reasons, it is important to consider what you have sitting in your attic, garage, or storage unit. Do you have a box of floppy disks? An old Gateway Computer? A Walkman disc player? A VCR? All of these and more could be a part of our collection! We are putting a call out to build the technology objects in our collection. If you are upgrading your old technology or just want to get rid of that box collecting dust, we would love to have it!

If you have technology objects that you wish to donate to the Museum, please fill out the Artifact Donation form, For further information, please contact us at