Ready your button-pushers
Electronic Arts should be pretty stoked about this past Tuesday's release of the mega-hyped XBox 360 gaming system. Obviously, their EA Sports division sold a crapload of its biggest games for the new, superpowered machine, but there's another perk here--the new XBox has finally taken attention away from EA's recent bad press. Only months ago, game magazines were abuzz about lawsuits that alleged sweatshop-style working conditions, 80-hour work weeks and unpaid overtime for EA programmers. Around the same time, EA signed a deal with the NFL to get exclusive rights to their license, which meant nobody else could make NFL games. But in spite of cries of monopoly and abuse, the game publisher rolled on, and if you think they're hurting from that recent press, then get ready to be proven wrong at the 2005 Madden Challenge. On Sunday, gamers will converge on Valley View Center, 13331 Preston Road, at 10 a.m. to compete in a Madden NFL 2006 tournament, which is split into rounds for "pros" and "rookies" to keep the competition relatively fair. Don't expect an all-out nerd parade--Madden, above all games, is the one that reaches across age groups and stereotypes, which means awkward anti-social teens will probably compete alongside jocks and bangers on Sunday. Should make for interesting people-watching, at least. Register for $10 at www.maddenchallenge.com. --Sam Machkovech
2005 Madden Challenge
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Just about every city hosts a road race on Thanksgiving morning, but nothing quite compares to the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot, which features an 8-mile race and a 3-mile fun run for some 23,000 participants. Both courses start at City Hall, 1500 Marilla Drive, and whip through and around downtown. The 8-miler typically features some of the best runners in Texas and beyond. Past winners include Weldon Johnson, co-founder of the wildly popular running site Letsrun.com, who has run for the U.S. National team and qualified for the Olympic Trials. But whether you're a national class runner or someone who just wants to launch a preemptive strike against that afternoon's turkey, gravy and biscuits, the Turkey Trot has become something of a Dallas tradition. The 8-mile race begins at 9 a.m.; the 3-mile fun run begins at 9:15 a.m. Course maps and registration information are available at www.thetrot.com --Matt Pulle