Live from the Rose Bowl ... it's Maddenpalooza!

Posted: 9:00 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

It's midnight on the East Coast which means Madden NFL 09 is officially here. And the lucky few here at Maddenpalooza get a three hour jump on the rest of the West Coast. Call in sick tomorrw, stock up on supplies and dive right in. In fact, why not do what ESPN The Magazine's Jon Robinson did and play for 24 hours straight.

Be sure to look for the August edition of Game Up coming to ESPNVideoGames.com on August 19. Host Aaron Boulding hit Maddenpalooza and hit it hard. He'll have full coverage of the day, including interviews players and musicians who took part in the days festivities.

Also, with the start of the season, ESPNVideoGames.com will once again be simulating EVERY regular season game -- from opening day to the Super Bowl -- with Madden NFL 09.

Posted: 8:52 p.m. PST by Aaron Boulding

I've been to many game launch events and that includes a healthy handful of launch parties for Madden NFL games. I've never seen any game publisher or console maker attempt anything on the scale of Maddenpalooza. Taking over the Rose Bowl, floating the Goodyear blimp, lining up Airbourn, Rev Theory, Young Dre the Truth, Good Charlotte and Busta Rhymes easily puts this launch party at the top of the All-Ambitious-Product-Launch list.

My favorite part is of course the limited edition pair of Madden 20th anniversary kicks I "acquired" for the event. I've never had so many strangers taking pictures of my feet. I'm not sure how I feel about it but I think I may develop a sneaker habit and become a full-blown connossieur of kicks just so I can have strangers taking pictures of my feet.

Other than that, listening to Busta Rhymes run through hit after hit with one ear, while listening to interviewees answer my questions about Favre and Madden with the other was a tremendous thrill. The guy has a couple handfuls of bonafide burners; many of which you forget about he jumps into it with the intensity he brought from his days in Leaders of the New School.

Rounding out the list of things I liked about Maddenpalooza is the chance to meet some of my favorite NFL players of all time. We talk to a lot of athletes for Game Up and I rarely geek out or get starstruck but as a lifelong, die-hard Oakland Raiders fan I had to tip my hat the overwhelming awesomeness of Tim Brown, Marcus Allen, Willie Gault and even Ronnie Lott. All of those guys were in the building today and made me feel like a kid again. Oh and Warren Sapp is still one of my favorite Raiders too even though he's upset with me right now. But that's another story...

Posted: 8:12 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

Finally, the evening's headliners, Goode Charlotte, take the stage to bring the Maddenpalooza show to a close, at least the musical portion of the show. Good Charlotte's relationship with Madden goes all the way back to Madden NFL 03, when their song "The Anthem" appeared on the game's soundtrack.

Posted: 7:09 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

Two words: Busta Rhymes!

Posted: 6:14 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

Young Dre the Truth is on stage now and has drawn the biggest crowd so far. Less than three hours now until the first Madden 09 is sold.

Posted: 6:14 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

Madden 09 is officially released on the west coast at midnight and that is the earliest you can get a copy in California ... unless of course you happen to be at Maddenpalooza. There is actually a mini Walmart store set up on the Rose Bowl field and those fans who have pre-purchased their copies there will be able to pick up their copies at 9 p.m. tonight ... a full three hours before the rest of the state. No doubt those lucky gamers will put those three hours to good use to get a jump on the competition.

Posted: 5:55 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

Those lucky enough to get their hands on tickets to Maddenpalooza have an opportunity to get their first taste of Madden 09.

EA brought in 300 consoles and flatscreens and set them up on a big tent on one of the Rose Bowl end zones. The tent is one of the most popular features at Maddenpalooza and judging by the fact that people seem to be camping out once they get on a console, the game seems to be a hit.

Posted: 5:37 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

And the show continues...Airbourne has taken to the stage for a loud and raucous set. All the performers today appear on the Madden 09 soundtrack or have appeared on past Madden soundtracks. Next up will be Young Dre the Truth.

Posted: 5:08 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

So, I was just out wandering around Maddenpalooza and noticed that I was somewhere that I NEVER thought I'd be...the 50-yard line of ROSE BOWL! Pretty cool, huh?

Posted: 4:38 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

I just ran into ESPN's Aaron Boulding and man, you should see this guys kicks! He tells me that these are a VERY limited edition...they only made 100 pairs of these bad boys, and leave it to Boulding to get his hands on a pair.

Posted: 4:25 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

BTW...Even though Brett Favre is wearing a Packers uniform on the cover of Madden 09, EA will be making available a downloadable update so you can have Favre as a Jet. I even hear that you can download new cover art if you really need an accurate cover.

Posted: 4:19 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

The show is officially under way as Rev Theory takes the stage to rock the Rose Bowl. The rest of the music line up includes Young Dre the Truth, From First to Last, Airbourne, Good Charlotte and the one I'm most excited about...Busta Rhymes!

Posted: 2:10 p.m. PST by John Dorsey

Well, it's one day before the release of Madden NFL 09, and we're live at the Rose Bowl at EA Sports' Maddenpalooza celebration, counting down the final hours till the game hits the shelves.

Throughout the day, well be bringing you the sights and sounds of this big event celebrating the 20th anniversary of Madden. This event is more than your standard game launch ... it's being billed as a music, sports and gaming fan festival.

ESPN's video game analyst Aaron Boulding is here and will be posting throughout the day as he makes the rounds shooting the latest episode of Game Up.

So, if you couldn't be here in person, don't worry. We'll keep you posted on everything that's happening. Stayed tuned!