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On the online message board Casual Adult Gamers - a hangout for “NFL 2K” players - the sentiment is less scholarly than raw.

“I hate [Electronic Arts] with a passion,” wrote a gamer with the online nickname “X2kfootballg0dX.” “I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I knew I gave them a penny.”

“There are some guys in the community who see [Electronic Arts] as the evil empire of gaming,” said Phil Porter, a 24-year-old Baltimore resident and avid “All-Pro Football 2K8” gamer. “I don’t have that level of resentment.

“The NFL is football to everyone, so taking it away [from competitors] makes sense as a business model. But without competition, it hurts 'Madden.' It makes the game stale. I just want a quality game.”

Electronic Arts spokesman Anthony Stevenson said “MaddenNFL‘s” designers and programmers at EA Tiburon in Orlando, Fla., are aware of the pockets of resistance to the franchise’s march to dominance.

“Our number one priority every year is to make sure that our die-hard fans have a reason to buy the game,” Mr. Stevenson said. “They’re our bread and butter. But we want to capture those other guys, too. We know we can’t win them all over. We’re trying.”

For his part, Mr. Porter said that maintaining his “MaddenNFL” holdout isn’t always easy. Not when playing the game is practically a cultural rite of passage for anyone who enjoys football and video games.

“I’ve had weak moments,” he said. “Where I was like, ‘Maybe I can get [a copy] of “Madden” used. Maybe I can borrow the game from a friend. ‘Those of us not playing, we know we’re the black sheep.”