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So What Is Wrong With Sports Games?

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So What Is Wrong With Sports Games?

Unread postby icycalm » 14 Dec 2011 16:50

http://culture.vg/reviews/videogame-art/kick-off.html

Would anyone like to try and summarize the answer for us, bullet-point style? (trying to keep the length of each bullet point down to a single sentence, if possible).

I long debated whether to make that essay into a theory article, and put it in the VGCULTURE books, or whether to make it a Kick Off review and put it in the VGART ones, and finally decided on the latter because I would otherwise have had almost nothing to say in the Kick Off review that I would have to write. And the same can be said also for quite a few other subjects (e.g. reversibility in the SimCity review, immersion & control in the Diablo review, highly competitive play in the Quake, StarCraft and Counter-Strike reviews, etc. etc.) So what this means essentially is that the VGART books will be just as necessary as the VGCULTURE ones, in the long run, if you want to have a complete understanding of my videogame theory -- and that's just how I like it. These are simply subjects which are more easily tackled by going in depth in specific examples instead of abstract theorizing (as in, e.g., Basic Instincts or The Simulacrum Is True), or bringing in great numbers of examples that are only touched upon fleetingly (as in, e.g., Arcade Culture or On Role-Playing Games). And while, as I've already explained, I could certainly have presented these essays as pure theory, I think it's better if they double as reviews, with the understanding that the theory they contain needs to be taken as seriously as all the other theory I've written. And though I probably will not be expanding on any of these subjects in their own theory essays, I WILL be taking the points I made in them as given for the purpose of future theory essays (and more specifically, the ones contained in VGCULTURE II).
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Unread postby Some guy » 14 Dec 2011 19:19

- Sports games lack interesting, engaging themes and good aesthetics due to the fact that they simulate a boring reality (a stadium, for example).

- The activities themselves e.g. kicking a ball into a goal as is the case with Soccer are, generally, unimaginative.

- In the absence of a cool, engaging theme and aesthetic a videogame should be a game first and a simulation second because, as was mentioned before, what is being simulated is very dull.

- The original sports games such as Kick Off were interesting and fun because they had to have wildly innovative mechanics to simulate the activities they were modeling themselves after.

- In order to be accurate simulations of their chosen activity, sports games retain the same boring aesthetics and mechanics for each sequel with the exception of games like Speedball.

- Sports games themes that are futuristic or fantastical are better than the realistic ones as the designers can mess around with the formula and make something really interesting whilst retaining the revolutionary mechanics.

- If a sequel is going to retain the same mechanics as its predecessor then there should at least be new, interesting aesthetics.

- Sports games simulate a simulation, as sports are a degenerate form of warfare and so sports games are even more degenerate which is why, with the exception of the original innovative sports games, they are boring as fuck.

- Sports games have such a tiny amount of illusion within themselves that they are quite simply bad art as art is the craft of illusion. The better the illusion, the better the work of art.

- The people that enjoy sports games (or at least the realistic ones) are wretched and lowly people who would rather play a simulated sports game instead of a real one.
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Unread postby icycalm » 14 Dec 2011 19:27

Some guy wrote:- The original sports games such as Kick Off were interesting and fun because they had to have wildly innovative mechanics to simulate the activities they were modeling themselves after.


So what is wrong with sports games is that the original sports games had to have wildly innovative mechanics. Great. I have already unbanned you once, I won't be making the same mistake twice.

I didn't bother skimming past that post, so the next person to attempt this should start basically from scratch. The sheer duplication and retardation in what I DID read was unbearable.
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Unread postby icycalm » 29 Mar 2015 05:03

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1019404

amnesiac wrote:The current state of sports games is depressing

Hard to believe that during the PS2 era you could go to a store and choose between multiple titles within a sport. NFL Gameday? Madden? NFL Street? NFL Blitz? ESPN? Your choice. Now the only option is Madden.

Like baseball? Better not get an Xbox One! Every company has given up on making baseball games except for Sony.

Oh did you say you wanted a hockey game to play on your PS4 or Xbox One? Here, have NHL 15, we barely updated the graphics and removed a ton of features! But updated rosters are included so you'll buy it!!!

Where are the fun sports games, anyway? Simulation games are cool I guess, but I always had a lot more fun playing the more arcade-y sports games. Where are those over-the-top games like NFL Blitz and MLB Slugfest? 3 On 3 NHL Arcade was pretty fun, where's the next gen version?

We don't even get extreme sports games anymore. Yeah, there's a new Tony Hawk game coming out this year, but I'm not holding my breath. Will there ever be a snowboarding game made that's on par with SSX Tricky? How about a BMX game on par with Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2? Besides OlliOlli, I don't even think there's one good extreme sports game on the PS4, Xbox One, or Wii U.

I think it's also generally well known that WWE games have been severely lacking for years. Due to bad reviews, I personally haven't played any of the recent ones, but from footage I've seen, it's pretty funny that a 15 year old N64 game has better animations.

At the end of the day, all I want to do is load up a fun sports game on my PS4 or Wii U. It's a shame that can't be done these days.


He says that the current state of sports games is depressing. But since, as I explained in my Kick Off review, sports games themselves are depressing, their depressing state is actually a positive step in the right direction. Finally players and developers got tired of remaking the same three or four games for decades upon decades, and the only reason he regards this as a negative development is because he has shit taste.
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Unread postby icycalm » 04 Feb 2017 18:40

I decided to double-post some essays and parts of essays in the VGART and VGCULTURE books, because that is the best way to ensure I reach as many people as possible with these ideas. First up then is the Kick Off essay, which has now been renamed and republished as part of VGCULTURE2:

http://culture.vg/features/art-theory/w ... games.html

I added the following paragraph to the renamed essay (which I then went back and added also to the original version):

I wrote:Or just consider if all STGs ever looked like Gradius. We’d have grown sick of STGs too. It’s not then that sports games have bad mechanics that repulses us, it is that they have bad aesthetics: already unimaginative ones to start with, which is bad enough, but on top of that even the exact same ones for decades on end, with a complete moratorium on making even the tiniest of changes to them. No wonder we've come to hate these fucking games! No wonder we've grown utterly sick of them!


It summarizes the preceding paragraph and gives an extra example for good measure.
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