Scoff all you want that Maddenoliday is just another holiday fabricated by Proctor & Gamble in order to sell trinkets and moon pies. I know better. EA Sports and Tiburon are beneficent forces in this world and one day you, too, shall understand.

Madden has become a cultural totem in the sense that people with little knowledge of football and video games can use it as a means to belittle those who do. And we need that. Without cultural shorthand, we’d actually have to try things before dismissing them as ridiculous.

It’s also a pretty fun game.

In the days when I was dewy-eyed, filled with wonder and had disposable income, I would reserve my copy of Madden in advance, not realizing that if you just went to Toys ‘R’ Us on the release date, they had 38 copies available while all the Herbs were clamoring at gaming stores.

But I miss the connection that only comes with rampant consumerism and misplaced priorities. So, to commune with my fellow Maddenites, last night before the midnight release I went to the nearest videogamery, which is the Gamestop on Duke Street in Alexandria, Va.

When I arrived at 10 p.m. to behold the assembled dregs, there were only two guys waiting outside the store. Hardly the throng I expected. One was a short, squat black guy in a Jason Campbell jersey. I thought it might have been the Maj, but he was carrying less than an ounce of weed.

The gate barring the front door was shuttered but you could see the store employees milling around inside.

I asked if they knew whether they’d reopen at midnight to sell the game. One of them said the store would start taking money at 10:10 and people would have to come back at midnight, because the store wouldn’t want to do any of that direct money for goods shit.

A store employee peeked through the gate to tell the guy they were moving it back to 10:15.

“Okay, okay, I’m gonna wait here,” he told the clerk. “So you better open up at 15. ‘Cause if you’re not open at 10:15, I’m calling Alexandria poe-lease and report you.”

After four minutes I decided I’d had enough.

I didn’t take any pictures of the two guys but on the way back I snapped this one of a humorously named Chinese carryout near my home.

Oh, and I think this Madden has gang tackles or something. And a roster update, which is all most of us ask of it. Excelsior!