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03.13.04 :: Sports Games: T3H 3B!L?

The opinions in this letters column aren't necessarily those of Jeanne Rubbo, owner of videogamerecaps.com. Even so, Jeanne owns *us* and has locked us in a dark closet with Tidus and Rinoa until we think of something funny. HELP! In the meantime, send in your comments, queries, whining, flames, spam, opinions, facts, opinions that you think are facts, and general idiocy to mailbag@videogamerecaps.com

Welcome, sports fans for this extra-special mailbag! This time we're focusing on the games some VGR regulars love to hate - the ever-present sports game in all its incarnations. The flag is down, the refs are in place and if you're quick, you might be able to lay a wager with our bookie on whether or not LC's head is going to explode before the end of this thing. Current odds are 2-5 for, so let's play ball!

Amazon.com is your friend
To be brutally honest, I haven't played a sports game since I had the Bowling game and Baseball game on the old Fairchild console. It was interesting. To make the bowling ball curve or the baseball spin, you twisted the top of the controller, which is about all the manual dexterity I can handle, being a klutz of the first water.

I guess racing games might also qualify as sports games, but I hate every one of those with a passion because, in spite of the fact that I have 35 years of driving experience in real cars, I can't get one of those pixelated race cars to go around a corner at 20 mph without skidding out of control. Except, of course, for Simpson Hit and Run, where the game rewards you for driving out of control and crashing into things!

As for all those Madden games, etc., I like to tease our VGR ladies by pretending I loathe them. Actually, the only grudge I have against them is that when I visit Sam Goodys they have 90 copies of the latest sports game remakes taking up room on the shelf, yet the latest RPG or adventure game I want cannot be found. I'm still waiting for Fatal Frame II to show up there. Rot in hell, Madden Pro Jerk-Off 2009!!!!

What I want to know is what all you sports game nuts out there find to like about the things...

Okay, CS. You're jerking my chain. That's fine. But your complaint still seems genuine, and I still don't get it. At all. Your problem is that you have to flip through the racks of games that you don't like, in order to get to the ones that you do? Isn't that, er, part of shopping? When I go buy clothes, I have to wade through stacks and racks and generally the entire store to find the color and size I want. So what's the big freaking deal? Also: it's called "supply and demand." More people are going to buy, as you so "cleverly" called it, Madden Pro Jerk-Off 2009 than are going to buy Fatal Frame II. The sooner you accept that and move on, the happier you'll be.

As for driving games...I suck at them, too. Horribly.

-LC

Oh, god, racing games, the bane of my young gaming life. Hell, I couldn't even play "Night Driver" worth a damn half the time. Now that's just freakin' sad and sorry. Go ahead, laugh at my pain.

As for the whole "they don't have my game at the store" thing, CS, there's all kinds of ways to get what you want without getting yourself into a lather at the local Sam Goody's. Dear lord man, have you never heard of Amazon? They'll deliver it right to your door, honest!

-AG

Sports games will kill you
You are looking at not only a first- time mailbag entrant but also a die-hard fan of RPGs...Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo I think that sports games are a waste of a console. I mean Look at the N64. IT had about 3 good games on it (2 of which were Zelda and I LOATH mario with a Passion....) and the rest of it was all crappy Basketball and Golf! Why the hell do people make sports games? DO they think that it's going to encourgae people to play? Fat Fucking Chance. All it's gonna do is make losers play the damn game and THINK they are really playing it, which will lead to an increase in Obesity levels and young deaths.

To sum it all up: Madden Sucks, Golf sucks, sport games suck. RPG's r teh r0xx0rz. END. OF. STORY!

~Kuriboh.

Let's address your points one at a time, shall we?

1) You like RPGs. Congratulations. Would you like a medal, or just a certificate?

2) The N64 had a handful of VERY good games. Not all of them were Mario and Zelda. Most of them were, to be fair, Nintendo first- or second-party titles.

3) Your rant about people getting fat playing sports games, or whatever the hell that was about, makes me want to kill all humans. Seriously. Are you on crack or something? For one thing, sports games are not meant to "encourage" people to play the real sport, no more than The Sims is intended to make people want to fuck their next-door neighbor. Second, IF videogames are going to cause "obesity and young deaths" (CHRIST, are you kidding?) then sports games are no more responsible for it than RPGs. I mean, look at what you're saying: you realize that this rant is pretty dangerously close to an ANTI-VIDEOGAME rant, right?

Summation: Please be clean of any mind-altering substances next time you write in. Thanks!

Jesus.

-LC

...the fucking Hell? This letter makes my brain hurt in a bad, bad way. I think I need a lie-down.

-AG

Only sports gamers are lazy?
Yo! In response to the last mailbag, yes, I was extremely ignorant before I had gotten X-2 and DMC2. Why must all sequels just suck so badly? It makes me sad.

Sports games, eh? Well, I must say... I never quite understood the big attraction to games like that. I mean, couldn't you just get up off your fat wankery ass and play the sport yourself? Nope. Because we're too lazy of a society nowadays to actually think, "Hey, maybe I could actually do this in my spare time and not sit around with a controller in my hands as the little character guy does it for me." (of course, I'm the same way... shut up, SHUT UP.)

But what kind of sports are we talking here? The ones you can actually play? Like the virtual soccer or football or whatever the hell you want? Or, ones that make no sense, but would actually be very painful had you tried it in real life? (Tony Hawk, what?) Or, sports that actually require training so you don't... I dunno.. DIE? Like Jet Moto and stuff?

If all three categories apply, then favorites would be:

Actual sports: (... moving on.)
Painful crap: the first Tony Hawk game. I mean, the games just got progessively worse and just extremely repetitive over time...
Others: Jet Moto. ...or maybe Formula 1 Racing. Both were good.

As for Madden, I watched my two guy friends play it once. It was quite an experience, I must say. In the end, it just resulted in one of them renaming the players after the Apostles just to be an ass, and then ending his score with a 69, and the other one not knowing what the hell he was doing at all. After that, I just kind of got scarred for life, and vowed from that moment on never to play another sports video game for as long as I may live.

Hope to hear from you again,
Sirea

SIGH.

Sirea, you are far, FAR from the only person writing in that uses this particular argument. So. I'm going to get my rebuttal of it out of the way in this response, and then every time another person brings it up, I'll just skip it and silently let another piece of my soul wither away and DIE.

So. Sports videogames = Excuse to play sports without exercising?

NO. NO NO NO a thousand times NOOOOOO.

Consider this. I have a copy of ESPN NFL (Sega's NFL 2K4) for the XBox. I play an exhibition game, which maybe takes an hour out of my day. Now, say I am using this as a substitute for actually playing football. So, in that hour, to get the equivalent experience that ESPN NFL provides me, I would have to go outside, find, say, TWENTY-TWO of my nearest and dearest friends (I'm not even counting special teams), find a field large enough to play, and play a full four quarters. Wait. What's that? I could just play five-on-five flag football in the park for an hour? Well, that's not what I'm doing when I'm playing ESPN NFL, now is it? Sports games like Madden or the ESPN series (we'll talk about other varieties a bit later) are--listen carefully--detailed simulations. They offer the strategy, micromanagement and game know-how involved in playing as, running and coaching a professional team. That is NOT THE SAME as going out to the backyard and tossing the pigskin, OKAY?! If you think people playing Madden should just go play outside, because OMG OUR SOCIETY IS SO LAZY AND FAT!!!!, then tell the guys playing Dead or Alive to take off their clothes, put on some bikinis and start kickboxing.

-LC

This again? Lord and a quarter, we are running short of reasons to hate the much-maligned sports game, aren't we? Saying that sports games suck because those who play them should just play the real thing is just idiotic, folks. Next time you feel the need to fire up the console and play a little RPG action, ask yourself when's the last time you saw a group of six or more running down your street in fucked up costumes carrying swords, tonfas, chainwhips or a gunblade in search of a tentecled monster to destroy in a rain of purple blood. If you said "last week", move out of town.

-AG

Not a hat0rz
Hmm...what to say about Madden?

1.) It's the perfect game to bring non-gamers in to play videogames. Everyone has a favorite football team, and it's great to be able to play as players you know.

2.) The abliity to trade/manage salary is a neat challenge instead of just playing football. There's actually a lot of micromanagement available to the anal-retentive players.

3.) You can turn off John Madden's commentary. (NOTE: In NHL 2002, there are the best announcers EVER..."That was his third goal of the game! Or, like they say in Canada, 'That was his third goal of the game!'")

And as for non-Madden sports games...

1.) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater [2/3/4/Underground]
--I've been a THPSphile since '97 (on N64 baby!)...I've been loving busting out huge combos and backflipping across bridges/rooftops.

2.) SSX [2/3]/1080/Twisted Edge: Extreme Snowboarding
-- Tony Hawk on snow. I guess in reality, TE:ES (also for N64) was my first Extreme Sports game...Misty Flips and 720 Mctwists have since given way unto Rodeo 900s and Mindless 900 Filet 'o Stalefishes...

3.) World Cup Soccer, Superspike V'ball, Lunar Pool (All NES)
--Best non-extreme sports games ever. Why has everything gotten less fun while becoming more realistic? Nothing like bicycle kicking for a goal from the other end of the field/spiking a ball hard enough to knock out the defender/playing pool on a table with one pocket in the middle...

4.) Mario Golf/Tennis/Super Monkey Ball 2
--The most fun sports games of the last 5 years...more proof that a fun game is better than a realistic game anyday...

((((I can honestly vouch for WOrld SOccer: WInning Eleven 7 (JPN). If I was a soccer fan AT ALL, I'd completely love this game. It is the best soccer game ever created. My roommates are both really big soccer fans, and they play the game all the time...it looks nice and they really get into it...but soccer is too boring for my tastes...))))

Ah. Someone who gets it. Football games--especially creating your own team and playing season mode--are perfect for the anal-retentive gamer. For the casual folk, just sitting down and playing as your favorite team (or a fictional team, if you don't have a favorite) is good fun. Hell, I'm a huge football fan and I admit I don't know the plays really well. But I just wing it and do the same couple plays over and over, and even I can win half the time. It's not just for insane gamers, nor is it just for sports fans.

Turning off John Madden's commentary should always be an option. I wish I could do that with my TV during the real games.

-LC

Hey, someone else who likes golf games! I hate to play the real thing, though, since when it comes to actually hitting the ball I M TEH SUK. Yes, even on the putt-putt courses. (which I also love) My dearly beloved just laughs at me as I calculate how much leverage I'd need to wrap my putter around his neck for getting it through the windmill, out the clown's nose and over the babbling brook in one exquisitely done putt.

Big props to you for coming out to support your favorite sports games my dear.

-AG

Same game, another $50
Hello there, snarky mailbag goddesses! First time writer, hopefully not the last ;)

Anyways, on to this week's subject.

Sport Games. Ah, sport games.

I generally like sport games from time to time, or when games like FFIX claims ownership to my SOUL. They're fun, until you get bored with them. Or when you become a 1337-MASTAH with the controls and are teh pwnag3 against the AI. Damn those people. Damn them all to hell.

*cough*

Only thing I don't really like with sport games is that they're basically the same recycled game from last year ( i.e. NFL Madden '03, '02, whatever. ) with some slightly better graphics, some new features and tunes, and other shtuff. Really, I don't understand what's the big deal to video game playing jocks who go balistic whenever these games come out.

An example, if you will:

Friend: Hey, dude! Have you gotten NFL Madden '04?
Me: No.
Friend: Oh, ya should man! You can make defensive plays AND offensive plays at the same time!!!
Me: ...couldn't you do that in '03?
Friend: No! Its BETTER in this game!

With that out of the way, you can probably see that I don't give two shits about the new features, or that I just don't play football video games.

Favorite Sport games? NBA Street. PERIOD.

That's all I gotta say; enjoy the letter mailbag queens.

~Saturos

I do agree with you to an extent that these "pro" games like Madden basically are the same from year to year. Little in the way of mechanics is updated, and graphics don't change that much. I've personally never been one to buy the new version every year. BUT, the one big selling point for a new version every year is updated rosters. Think about it. You're a football fan and you decide you'd like to buy Madden and play as your favorite team (let's say, the Giants). But you find out they last made a Madden game four years ago, and so you can't have Kerry Collins hook up (not like THAT) with your favorite player, Jeremy Shockey, 'cause he was still in college back then! Bummer! If only they had made a new version THIS year!

Of course, with the new surge in online gaming, we can always hope that they make roster changes available for download. If we can reach the point where that's the norm, then I'm 100 percent with you.

-LC

*head explodes*
I bet you're probably sick of us video gamers trying to take on your arguements in trying to defend "tidus isnt a wanker dang it he's hot"(note i dont think that since i think tidus might of been more tolerable if he had a different voice actor)which brings up a good question....what did tidus sound like in the japanese version anyway???? and "squall's not gay he's teh straightest guy in the world" i dont really have an opinion on it actually i didnt care that he ended up with rinoa. Just let the game designers write the script in their fantasy drug land and shut up and play it cause we got nothin better to do(which was sadly true in my case). sorry for degressing quite a bit. i'll try not to be stupid in this from this point forward. Since that first part was kinda pointless you could cut it out if you want. and give me the worse comments ya got i can take em after all its my first time writing.
Anyway i got to ask:sports??? that was the last thing i was expecting to be a topic. after all this is a rpg site is it not???well its mostly rpg anyway, but as much as i like rpgs i do have an opinion on sports games.(note:im not really into pro football i like the good simple kind i played with people in elementry school)
But i gotta say those football games really keep ya going. Fun yet i have no clue what the heck im picking for a play. I just pick whatever looks like im gunna pwnz with. The first one i ever played was NFL blitz for the n64 i believe(yes i was a big nintendo fan for a lot of my life, but i see how crappy their goin now. even though mario sunshine rocked too short and easy last boss) and i thought it was pretty fun i didnt buy it though. I didnt know what was the best team either i just went with what my bro told me. Thats basically all i got to say bout it and right now i think football's kinda pointless. ALRIGHT TACKLE THAT MOFO WOOO TAKE THAT!!!!!*breaks out beer and jumps around with big beer belly* Sorry this got so long i hope i didnt lose your attention too much,

~Full_blue_ff_fan

...What?

-LC

There's a coherent letter in there, I know it.

-AG

Hardcore losers
As soon as I read that nonsense, it just gets me irked. In case you don't know, a lot of morons keep on saying that only casual gamers can enjoy the brainless features of sports games. Most of them come from the cesspool of stupidity known as GameFAQs forums, where majority of the folks on that board makes Tightass seems like the smartest person in the entire world.

God forbids that someone might want to lead their favorite team to the championship of their respective teams. Let's also not forget making your own player to go and get the MVP, or enjoying multiplayer games with friends and potential rivals. Those are some of the reasons why I enjoy sports games like Madden or NBA Live.

But no siree, those "hardcore gamers" think that those who enjoy those type of games are either 1. Fat nitwits that should be exercising or 2. Dumb jocks. Those same morons who ogle over some obscure games in trying to look 733t and blabs on and on about how sports games are "ruining the gaming industry" and then blabs on and on how those sports games lovers should just play the real game (although some do that already). I like to see them get into a dogpile of Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp, Jevon Kearse, and that guy from Packers who's name is so long that no one can pronounce it without looking at a cue card and see how those "hardcore gamers" would enjoy that. Actually, I think that would. So, ignore that previous statement.

Anyway, If enjoying sports games make me a dumb jock who likes to smash beer cans on my head, then as God as my witness, I'm going to be the most idiotic sport jock, who beats up the resident "hardcore gamer" geek.

A slightly irked,
Cgrascal

Bully for you, dear. I've always held that the sports game genre is just like any other--some people like it and some people don't, and that's fine. But the dislike of sports games can be so downright irrational. I hate to overgeneralize here, and I'm probably going to get shit for this, but it seems like a lot of folks who hate sports games are whiny, skinny nerds who always hated sports and those who played them back in high school because the jocks always got the girls and WHY CAN'T I HAVE A DATE TO THE PROM, MY MOM SAYS I'M COOL!!! And so on. Just seems like there are a lot of people who harbor extreme hate for Madden without ever having put the game in the PS2. I'm with you. It's annoying.

-LC

No arguments here, son. Just be careful with those beer cans. I know for a fact that those frickin' Foster's cans can leave a mighty big bruise when you crunch 'em against the ole' cranium.

Okay...stop looking at me like that. It wasn't me that did it. Honest.

-AG

Someone should name a law after this
Ah, the sacred video game designed for people too lazy to actually play the sport. How I love thee. ^_^;

I mainly played the SUPER HAPPY FUN sports games on the Super Nintendo (in between Super Mario World and *ugh* Power Rangers), and that was limited to hockey games. NHL '95, NHL '96...it was all good. I tried the soccer games and starting crying uncontrolably. I can't believe they made a Mega Man Soccer game...

I also played Wayne Gretzky's Hockey (for the N64)...it currently resides underneath the back leg of my bed, holding it up.

...and, uh, does Super Mario Kart count as a sports game?

Okay, I promised I wouldn't respond to that argument again. So I'll just tear some hair out. Ow.

I think if we're speaking in REALLY broad terms, Mario Kart does count as a sports game, or a racing game, to be more precise. But ever since Super Mario Kart came out on the SNES, there have been so many knockoffs that kart games are almost a genre unto themselves.

-LC

*headdesk headdesk headdesk* I hope you're proud of yourself, dearie. For the luvva GAWD, if I see "sports gamers are too lazy to get out there and play the real thing!" one more freakin' time, I'm going to make like the Ramones and get me a baseball bat. If that's the best argument you folks can come up with, I strongly advise you to stop making it. NOW.

-AG

How do you really feel?
Dear Mailbag:

Ah. Sports games. I hate them. Hate them, Hate them, Hate them. Hate them. I especially hate them because my cousin loves them, and he makes fun of RGPs. So I hate them. However, sports games do have their advantages:

1- They stop my little brother from bugging the hell outta me.
2- No Tidus or Tidus-like in them.
3- No wankese.
4- No Mary Sues.

More disadvantages are, however:

1- They have waaaaaaay to much exposition on the team your playing, and when you make a bad play, they're recapping the play, WHEN WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED AS WE DID THE F-ING PLAY.
2- They hog the shelves at Best Buy, the only place near my house that I can get good videogames with out my parents bitching.
3- They caused my brother's innocent little mind to become a sports-crazed freak. He's so obsessed, (he mostly plays Basketball games) that if you asked about, I'm just gonna pick a guy randomly... Tracy McGrady, he'd rattle off the guys point average, college, hometown, teams he's ever played on, what pick he was the for the first team that signed him. He knows WAY too much for an Elementary Schooler. OK, so he can't name the guy's hometown. But everything else is true. I'm dead serious.

So that is my opinion on sports games. They may burn in Hell for all I care.

Your faithful reader,

Sailor-Titain

Replay is a part of sports culture. You can skip through replays in 99 percent of the sports games on the market. Deal. And also: it's not like sports GAMES are alone in making people get obsessive about players and stats and such. Just as an example: I've never played an NBA videogame in my life, and I can tell you Tracy McGrady doesn't have a college; he went straight from high school to the NBA.

Yes, I am a sports geek and I'm unashamed of it. But I'm sure there are plenty of you who could rattle off every limit break/overdrive/trance in every recent FF game without taking a breath, and I don't see how that's so different.

-LC

The store shelf argument twice in one mailbag? Folks, you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel for your sports games hate here. This is the Age of the Internet, and that argument Does. Not. Compute. At all. This sounds like the "super 1337 gamer0rz" who like to rip on Squenix because Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior games are very popular in the genre and for no other reason. In other words, it's complete and utter horseshit.

-AG

C-RAP
Hey, mighty Mailbag peoples. Looks like I'm giving another shit and replying to the Bag.

Honestly, the best thing about sports games is being in control of the entire sports season. In Madden 2004, I always play as the Carolina Panthers. If there's a team I'm playing against that has a player I don't like, I use Julius Peppers to beat the living shit out of him (i.e., Donovan McNabb, the asshole). What else is great is that if you end up losing a game, you can reset and play the game again until you get the result you want.

Plus, the sports games soundtracks are awesome: AFI, Gob, Blink-182, Jet, etc. The only bad thing is that they play too much rap. Rap sucks.

almighty skeptic

Can't say I agree with what constitutes an "awesome" game soundtrack, but the absolute last thing I want to do is start quibbling over musical tastes in a sports game mailbag. Just not gonna go there.

Anyway, playing an entire season is a lot of fun. After a while it really starts to feel like your team--your favorite team or custom--tweaked the way you want it, with results that were at least partially under your control. Very cool. And nice on the XBox, since its hard drive removes the problem of a season save taking up a whole memory card.

-LC

*takes a drink*
Greetings, LC and AG!

Ah, sports games... Games for people who want to kid the world into thinking they're excercising, but in reality the closest they come to breaking a sweat is swerving along with the car in a driving game.

Unfortunately, I'm one of those types of people. I wonder if I could position an excercise bike in front of my X-Box...?

Err, anyway...

My first sports game was Brutal Sports: Football on the Atari Jaguar - the players were big and wore Viking-style helmets, that's all I really remember. Oh, and they carried axes and gored the hell outta each other, meaning I could tell my mum I was playing a sports game while really hacking people to pieces! For a sixYO, I was really morbid.

Ah, I miss that game. Good, clean, Scandinavian fun.

I'm actually very bitter about that console - I blew the Jaguar up after connecting it to the wrong power cable, and I've just found the bugger on E-bay for over $1000... Who knows what that is in '?', but... Ugh. Head, meet wall.

My opinion on sports games? Well, the closest I get to them nowadays is my stepdad's MotoGP3 game, which he hogs my PS2 to play all the bloody time. I'm not really all too keen on them. There's not really much of a reason - I just prefer RPGs and stuff.

But of course, if you don't like them, you don't have to play them - like bad fanfiction, only if you give into curiosity with sports games, you probably won't vomit.

Zarrah
PS: I had never heard the term Snacky's Law before the last mailbag; I looked it up, and it gave me a really good laugh. Thanks for enlightening me! XD

*tears out some more hair*

Really over-the-top sports games are terrifically fun. The game you mentioned reminds me a lot of the series that includes NFL Blitz, NHL Hitz, etc. Hitz in particular was just introduced to me and it's a ridiculous good time. You can play the Templars and be Gallahad, Lancelot and the Black Knight! You can just ignore the puck and punch out your opponents! You can play in the UNDERWORLD! Just a good time.

And yes, that's the whole point. Don't like it, don't play it. No one's twisting your arm to pay $50 for Madden 2004. Stop acting like it.

-LC

If I hit my head against the desk again, one of you is paying for the E.R. visit. I'm serious. I'll summon up my Blue Magic powers and...wait, you mean I'm not a Blue Mage? But if I just stopped playing my Final Fantasy game and went outside, I could absorb my opponents in some way and gain their power? No? Because things really don't happen that way? Well, shit! Why didn't anyone tell me, why? Oh. Because I should have enough goddamned sense to know that playing a game isn't a substitute for doing what may be technically impossible in the real world.

...never mind.

-AG

Blitzball: the video game
I like the idea of making games based on original sports - things that really aren't humanly possible. I like the idea of blitzball in FFX, because it was something new, even though it wasn't very fun, and over time you became way too overpowered.

As for that sports games of the present, I'm on a middle ground. I don't hate them, and I really don't like them. I'm not really a sports person, but I do enjoy the occasional one. The thing that bugs me is that most sports games restrict you to existing athletes and/or teams. Just once I want to create my own players, my own teams. Maybe even my own logo.... hmm...

Or maybe that's already been done, and I'm just too deep into my little hole to know these things. Hey, I just recently discovered Sonic and Knuckles. And I've been a Sonic fan since I was seven...

Minki

Hey, now that I've played FFX-2, I have WAY more appreciation for FFX's blitzball, because they 100 percent ruined the game in X-2. I thought it was half-assed the first time around. Squeenix sure showed me.

But that's an interesting idea, games about non-real world sports. I've never played a Harry Potter game, for example, but I think if they really put effort into it, a Quidditch game would be really fun. (I know nothing about Quidditch World Cup, but my assumption is it's probably not the best thing ever. But that's more because of the licensed game problem than the sports game problem.)

-LC

Sonic! I loved Sonic. When the first Sega system came out back in the olden days of the early '90s, my high-school sweetie had one and the first Sonic game. Then, as now, I was perfectly content to spend a date night gaming away until his mother threw a hissy fit and made me go home. (She never did like me much.)

I like the idea of creating your own teams for a non-real sport. Having played an H.P. game or two before, I'll tell you that Quidditch World Cup would not be as fun as watching a match on the silver screen. The games themselves are somewhat entertaining, but the control is best likened to putrid ass.

-AG

Yet another fan
First off, I have to say, my favorite sports game EVER is Ice Hockey for the NES. Me and my brother used to play that all the time and fight over who got to be the USA. Then you got to knock over the little guys with the big fat guys. That game rocked. A bit more recently though, I've enjoyed the following games:

Madden/NCAA football: Pretty much variations of the same theme, one pro and one college. Madden ussually advances first, but I like the college atmosphere more. I generally rotate getting a new version of each every other year.

NHL 2004: Still love the hockey games. Really, even if you don't like the sport (and god knows there are too many people in the US that don't), hockey videogames rule. They're fast paced like basketball games, but you get the satisfaction of hitting your friends like in a football game. Even though NHL is less realistic than ESPN, I still like it more, because you hit people much harder.

Tony Hawk's series: This is simply the most playable thing ever. I remember being god in my dorms at Tony Hawk 2, although 4 has been my favorite so far, being the most expansive of all the games.

WWE Smackdown: HCTP: I'm not sure if this qualifies, but it does rule, no matter what anyone else says. Wrestling games make great party games, and this one has a great season mode for when you're playing alone. But the best thing is the new grappling system. With four "preleminary" holds which are then turned into four other grapple moves, you've basically got four times as many moves as before.

Well, that's it. Before I sign off though, I thought I'd inform LC that you can unlock the fly swatter game in Wario Ware for the GBA. Sure it's not as good without the mouse, but it's still pretty cool, and Wario Ware just kicks all kinds of ass.

-Bill

THE FLY SWATTER GAME!!! Dear Lord, you have made my day. Too bad I have no money to invest in Wario Ware. I can't imagine playing it without the mouse, but I imagine that it's a ton of fun anyway. Thanks for the info!

Oh, and a big fat word to the rest of your post. All good sports games examples.

-LC

Ending on a high note
All hail the Mailbag Divas!

I have to admit that I'm not one to play sports games very often; the last sports game I played was ISSS'98, and that was against my brother (Okay, I also played ones of those wrestling games, but I'm not sure whether or not they count. Sam?). However, having watched my brother plays his sports games on many occassions, I can see the appeal of the genre.

There is, of course, the belief that, if you like a certain sport, you would also like to play a game based on it. If said game is good enough, a fan can get the feeling that s/he's guiding his/her favorite team to victory. Or, with the wonders of Player Edit, that you and your friends enter the big leagues to play _against_ your favorite teams; my brother, who is in his school's basketball team, gets a kick out of the Player Edit function.

That's one of the beauties of sports games: they let sports fans fulfill their sport-related dreams in virtual form. You can have Mexico win the World Cup, instead of losing in the Eighth Finals (as usual); you can have a rejuvenated Larry Bird lead the Celtics to victory. You can even make a Cubs/Sox World Series happen (I hear it _almost_ happened last season).

As for the whole "yearly addition with little to no upgrades" qualm held by the bashers... well, I'm a fan of both KoF, Megaman and the Final Fantasy series. Pot, Kettle is your sister, and you're from the Noble House of Black.

~Quartz Falcon

Thank you, QF, for being as usual the lovely letter-writer you are. The more sense in this mailbag, the better.

I would say that wrestling games are very much sports games. The only reason that wrestling itself is not considered a sport is because it's scripted, choreographed. Obviously, in a videogame that doesn't matter, because to an extent every videogame has that quality. There is one big Hand of God controlling how the game plays out. So yeah. Wrestling games? All good.

Yes, the Cubs/Sox Series almost happened. So very close. Hell, simulation is a marvelous thing: ever since the football games have become as close to the real thing as they are, experts have been pitting the two Super Bowl teams against each other and letting them play it out in auto mode. Up to this year, the games' accuracy in determining the Super Bowl winner has been perfect. Now it's something like 9 out of 10.

The last sentence of your letter made me choke on my Valentine's chocolates. Kudos!

-LC

QF, I want to adopt you as my little brother. Leave it to you to make the end of this mailbag far less painful that the beginning, middle or any other section. Also, you owe me a new monitor since I spit water all over my old one at your closing. My boy, you've got to stop doing that, you hear?

-AG


So, that's it. I'd say "remind us not to do another sports games mailbag", but I think that's a moot point. Still, the outcome was much as we expected, with a few pleasant and unpleasant surprises thrown in for spice. All of you RPG gamers can stop frothing at the mouth in TEH SPORTZ GAMEZ H8 and start frothing at this: We want to know which game series has the most rabid, devoted fans. If you're a devoted fan of a series, we don't need an essay as to why, AG's eyes tend to glaze over after about four paragraphs or so and then she gets cranky. So, give us the scoop no later than Friday, March 26, 2004. Until then, we'll soldier on, mock rays set to "stun". Don't let it happen to you!

AG and LC

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