The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
People have complained about the lack of sports writing on GIO. This is my attempt to change that, and spark the conversation.
I wouldn't classify myself as a jock or sports nut. I did play soccer, basketball, and track in high school, however, so I'm not completely clueless. I've played sports, and I believe there's no better Sunday than watching football with the buddies. I watch the World Cup, and when nothing else is on television, I'll take a nap while baseball is on. A few sports are more fun to play than sit and watch, obviously, and some are extremely intense to watch from home.
Sports video games combine watching and playing a sport. Well... kinda. Unless you are playing with a motion control device, the physical aspect of a sport is eliminated in a video game. Still, in sports games, you are basically the leader/captain of the team or the coach that draws up strategies and plays.
The problem with sports games is that most gamers that play on a regular basis use their free time to... well... play video games. I know that personally, I haven't played a sport outside in a long time. Years. I use my downtime to do as little as possible. People that like video games a whole bunch are into things like dragons and Star Wars and magic and make believe things. I'm probably a rare case of a gamer that enjoys those things, as well as yelling at refs when they make stupid calls in whatever sport I'm watching.
Sure, not everyone is like me, and is active, and barely has anytime to play video games because they are out and about. Those are the people that get excited for sports games and play them casually. They play a video game maybe 1-3 hours a week. That's not a problem at all. In fact, video games may be more enjoyable in moderation. I wouldn't know.
There's no denying that sports games have had their success. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was extremely fun. I enjoy a good ATV or MX game now and then. SSX was popular for a bit. Madden usually draws big numbers within the first few weeks of its release. EA basically owns the sports genre nowadays, and I think they've done a good job with what they have to work with. All of these games have one thing in common though, and its constantly driving people away.
Content gets old. Fast.
There's an obvious lack of innovation in sports video games. If I'm watching someone play Madden or a Tony Hawk or NHL, I have no clue which one it is unless I look at the game case. There's something wrong with that. That's not to say that sports games aren't fun, because they can be. The only big changes from year to year, however, are roster switches. Sure, playing as that newly drafted QB is fun, but only for about 2 days.
That's the nature of the source material, however. Sports, in general, don't change. From season to season, rules and aspects of a sport remain unchanged. I don't think there's much that developers and studios can do to make sports video games more attractive to us. I think its silly to expect a video game to grow and innovate when the source material doesn't.
As for me personally, I value replayability and story quite a bit. Sports games have zero of both of those aspects. They get old extremely fast. It turns out, there's a reason that their price in game stores drops faster than other games. Still, I'm sure every sports fan keeps a copy of their favorite game around for a rainy day. For me, I've got Madden '10 on the bottom of my stack of games. I don't plan on playing it anytime soon, but you never know...