You can thank Strat-O-Matic Baseball for Battlefield, Madden, and Mass Effect

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Trip Hawkins is a fan of Strat-O-Matic Baseball. To him, the dice and cards simulation of baseball that’s been published since 1961, is pure genius and he’s been a fan for five decades. As a young man, he was also a fan of football, so he tried the Start-O-Matic version of that but found it wanting. Thinking he could do better, Hawkins borrowed money from his family and created Accu-Stat Football, his take on the formula. It was a financial failure, but the experience taught him that he liked making games and being an entrepreneur. Once personal computing started to take off, Hawkins figured machines could remove some of the barriers between sports fans and gaming, so he spent most of his college education learning as much as he could about the nascent industry. After a stint at Apple, Hawkins would go on to found Electronic Arts in 1982 and helped design John Madden Football in 1988. That’s how we go from throwing dice onto a table to throwing our controllers at our TVs.

Funnily enough, Strat-O-Matic Baseball’s business model still thrives on annual version updates to the game.

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