Does Anyone Else Miss the Good Ol’ Arcade-y Sports Games?

With all this fancy technology, we forgot that over-the-top silliness is uber-fun.

You know, I’m all for progression and advancement. I like to see the strides video games have made over the years. I’m also a big fan of top-tier artistic talent becoming more and more involved in the industry.

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Occasionally, though, I really miss the old-school, totally unrealistic but still tons ‘o fun, arcade-style sports games. You know, titles like NBA Jam and MLB Slugfest. Back in the day, because we didn’t have the technology to produce anything even remotely authentic, all the sports games were “arcade-y;” even those that tried to be simulators, like Madden.

But they were still fun, weren’t they? Ridiculous fun, yes, but since when did ridiculous fun go out of style?

Not everyone cares about photorealistic animations and spot-on physics

All the major sports franchises now strive to be simulators. They attempt to portray the sport in question as accurately as possible. That’s great, because it’s definitely a challenge and it’s exactly what the hardcore, die-hard sports fans want. I applaud the work of development teams at places like EA, because they really put a ton of effort into those productions. They’re deep, surprisingly authentic, and with each passing year, they remind us more and more of the real thing.

There is another type of sports game, however. There is the kind that doesn’t try for realistic physics; in fact, it goes for exactly the opposite. The result is superhuman athletes, who can leap out of the arena, dive clear across the field, accelerate to lightning speed, and smash balls out of the state. No, it’s not realistic. Does it have to be? Remember the Street games by EA (NBA Street, FIFA Street, NFL Street)? That’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about. What’s wrong with those? Why do developers suddenly think gamers don’t care about that style?

Sure, lots of gamers grew up. Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to take our sports so damn seriously all the time.

It’d be awfully refreshing

In an industry dazzled by images that mirror reality, by games that seek to emulate human movement as accurately as possible, and by developers who try to produce the biggest, most believable worlds, an arcade-style sports game would be refreshing. It’d remind us that indeed, once in a while, we want to take a break. We want a break from both reality and virtual reality (the latter of which is getting disturbingly close to the former). We want to jump out of the building. We want to power up our bats. We want to hit people so hard their entire uniform flies off.

That’s why I’m really hoping the freshly announced R.B.I. Baseball 14 will be exactly the game I’ve been wanting for years. We got the great NBA Jam reboot a few years back and I played the hell out of that. Don’t forget that as we got older, two things happened: Yes, we started to take things more seriously, but we also became inundated with too much seriousness. It’s part of adulthood. So, wouldn’t it make sense to partake of some purely fun silliness for a while?

Maybe I’m the only one. I kinda doubt it, though.


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Fathoms_4209
A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.