Hello ladies and gentlemen, or whoever reads this madness! Welcome to the 4,980,724,890th edition of…oh wait, I think I came up with a name for this last time! What was it? Hmmmmm…no clue. Welcome to No Clue! Today’s episode will involve something I talked about in the past, but will be kinda different. Two of my favorite things on earth are sports and video games. When combined,they can be a thing of beauty. Over the years, the combinations have gotten better and better, even though there are a few classics that will always be fun (e.g. Super Tecmo Bowl, Base Wars, Winning 11 Soccer). But here is my question (followed by analysis from myself): which sport makes for the best video game?
Good question, me! Ok let’s break this down by what’s available. When you consider modern video games in America, you’ve got the big 4 sports: football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. I’ll also throw in the world’s most popular sport, soccer (or futbol for those speaking literally). When you think American football, you think Madden, because there are no other true football simulation games out there. It’s lame that there’s a gaming monopoly on America’s favorite (or at least most-watched) sport, but at least it’s usually a good game. With basketball, you have both the NBA 2K series and NBA Live. Both are surprisingly different, but both are good, once you get used to the different styles of play. Baseball is a little tougher to nail down, since there are different games on different systems. Personally, I’ve been an Xbox guy since the first one came out (admittedly I was also really big into PlayStations 1 and 2). There has never been a true baseball simulation game released for the Xbox One, which f*cking KILLS me, ‘cause I LOVE BASEBALL! As for PlayStation, their big hardball game has been The Show, an absolutely beautiful game with extremely hard controls. I have a love/hate relationship with this game because the controls make it almost impossible to play while batting. Xbox used to have a really good baseball game with the 2K series, but again, Xbox One has yet to release an actual simulator game. (We’re dying here, Microsoft!) When it comes to hockey games, the monopoly goes to the EA NHL series of games, which are good. As for soccer, EA’s FIFA series has been pretty dominant for many years, but also has some competition from Pro Evolution Soccer, formerly known as Winning Eleven.
First things first. I hate to do it, but in terms of what sport makes the best video game, I think we can safely knock out hockey right away. I LOVE me some live hockey, but the average hockey video game, at least to me, just has pretty simple gameplay and lacks a high replay value. I also find that, when it comes to choosing a game for some local multiplayer action, most would rather play something else. Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy hockey video games. There’s something really great about the passing and play-making during a power play, and the glory of a goal and throwing a hot dog at your friend’s face afterwards. Oh! And the fights are great! It’s like a whole other fighting game right in the middle of a sports game! Alas, as good as hockey games can be (all hail NHL Hitz!), other games are better.
Next up, how about some baseball? In terms of the real world, baseball is my second favorite sport, and it’s a really close second. Baseball has a lot more strategy than most give it credit for, and more recent baseball video games really let you incorporate that strategy into their gameplay. The 2K games for Xbox 360 were really amazing; good graphics, smooth controls, easy to learn but challenging to get really good at! Unfortunately, Xbox has really dropped the ball (pun intended) on keeping up their baseball franchises and has turned a lot of people off to them now. As I mentioned before, with The Show for PlayStation, the controls are just…I don’t know. Not good. Batting is SO HARD! It’s possible I just didn’t have enough time to learn how to play well, since I don’t own a PlayStation. (Sponsor me, Sony?) That being said, I think baseball games need to be 86’d until we start getting a plethora of games for PlayStation AND Xbox, like it used to be! Also, get off my lawn, DAMN WHIPPERSNAPPERS!
Ok, let’s get worldwide on your arse. Soccer video games have been amazing almost forever. I can’t think of a time that they were really “bad.” (I’m sure they were, I just can’t think of those times.) In today’s world of soccer games (wait, do we call them matches? Whatever…), it’s pretty much either Pro Evolution Soccer or FIFA(insert year here). FIFA is the big one that you hear far more about, for the very good reason that it’s a really good game. It’s got beautiful graphics and smooth animations. The controls can be a little choppy sometimes, but mostly they’re fine. Pro Evolution will always hold a special place in my heart because it brings me back to my college days when my friends and I would rage out and have huge Winning Eleven tournaments. They were some of the most fun I’ve ever had. Even back then, over 10 years ago, the Winning Eleven franchise was solid. I don’t have much bad to say about soccer games at all, however, I think there’s only so much you can do with them. For no huge reason other than opinion, I am going to have to throw out soccer video games. They’re good, not the best, but really high up there.
Ok, now it comes down to the final two: basketball and football. Let’s combine them, shall we? Man, I’d love that actually. Have Lebron just line up as a tight end and leap 9,248,924 feet in the end zone for the score? Too easy. But I digress, let us combine analysis here. When it comes to options, games for both sports are comparable. Madden has a billion different modes that let you create a superstar or a franchise or a new team or a regular season for a pre-existing team or a practice or…well, you can do everything. Roughly the same is true for basketball video games. (I love the option of creating players in basketball games because you can get some good laughs in replay mode when they make a doofy face.) Madden has great graphics and animation, really good controls, and great physics, as do basketball games. Now, what I love the most about games for these two sports is that their realism; the plays, how things develop…it’s so realistic, it’s just amazing. There’s nothing better than looking at a defense in Madden and being able to call an audible to counteract a defense. The same goes for basketball. Opponent not good under pressure? Call a full court press with one click of the D-pad. Overall, games for both sports are so much more advanced than everything else, it makes it almost impossible to decide which of the two sports produces the best game, so we’re going with a tie. FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL WIN!
What are your thoughts on the best sport in video games? Go ahead and tell me on Twitter . I’ll be waiting to probably never hear from you. And with that I’m off to rock some heads in Madden.