When you finally cave in and buy a brand spankin' new console late into its lifespan, it's hard to pick what game to begin your collection with. If you're anything like me, though, you'll cave under the ambivalence and just end up getting something "dumb" like NBA2K10
. I would know because this actually happened; I got an Xbox 360 last month, and the first game I bought was a used copy of NBA2K10
This wasn't against my common sense, though. While many would consider games like Halo
, or Bioshock
the games that define this generation of "HD gaming," I hold the opinion that sports games are what take the most advantage of this generation's hardware and gaming potential.
"Wait a minute? Sports games? Is this just Samit Sarkar
Well, I have no way to disprove that I'm really Dr. Sarkar, but I can
give you some reasoning behind my crazy opinion regarding sports games. Try and hear me out. In fact I'll give you THREE
reasons why I'm right and everybody else is wrong (A list? How original. I know, right?):
1. Visuals (or "graphics" as it's usually referred to)
Two generations ago, gaming started moving into the third dimension. Those of us who had been playing since the days of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis (and before) began to see the potential for realistic settings and "graphics" unfold. Talk around the school yard often led to discussion along the lines of, "Imagine in, like, a hundred years, the characters'll look, like real, and stuff?"
Well, it only took about ten years, because nowadays - well, I don't think I need to explain to readers of a video game blog about how modern video games look!
Back during the days of the N64, I imagined that one day, graphics would become capable of producing realistic images. The driving force behind the visuals of sports video games is just that; realistic images. There is no other goal other than having the screen produce an image that is as similar to a real life sporting event as possible. Since all the men that were in the house walked into my room saying, "Oh, I thought that you were watching a real
game!" when I was playing, I think it's safe to say that they have reached that goal of realistic images.
2. Content (or replayability/longevity/etc.)
Now, I don't want to sound like I'm out of touch. I don't think "graphics" are the most important thing (or even important at all), but when video games were in their adolescence, I think everybody thought the capability for realistic visuals was the next step on the ladder of evolution for video games. Of course, there were other more important things people probably wanted too, things like longevity and content.
I'm not talking about the kind of content and longevity that you find in a JRPG. I'm talking about a more abstract concept. I'm saying that each person should approach the game in different ways. The �content� is more like a personalized experience. Each individual has numerous ways they will go about seeking victory. It has hardly anything to do with how long the story mode lasts or whatever.
I liken sports video games to chess, in that each player has numerous methods to go about beating their opponent, and execution of said methods only increases in proficiency as you play more. Sports video games add to the basic concept of chess by allowing you to shape your weapons to favor your strengths as you learn more about your attacking style. You will pick teams and play structures that better suit your techniques as soon as you learn of their existence. It's like letting you change all your chess pieces to rooks if that's the best way you can attack.
You see how the experience becomes one generated by the user, and you can basically get exactly what you
want out of the game. The �content� is basically a personalized experience that is generated out of your own interest. It's like a program that generates exactly what you want out of a game because that program is you
! I don't know if "Content" is the best heading for this but, before I start rambling in a circle, there's one more very important factor that I want to mention.
3. Is It Still A Video Game?(In a more �classical� sense)
There are games out there that probably have better "graphics" and "content" but they probably also fail to fulfill the requirements of what I consider a �classical� video game. These �classical� games of the NES and SNES era were �clean.� The only stigma they held in households was the addiction they induced in people of all ages. Now video games can be too controversial, or even uninteresting to many.
I love me some Gears of War
and the occasional RPG, but I wouldn�t let any of my numerous, illegitimate children play the former, and they probably have no interest in the latter. I don�t think there is one person on this site that would disagree with me that too much
of a violent game has potential to be bad for a child, and no kid takes an interest in the morality behind his/her choices.
It is this lack of universal appeal that has me exclude pretty much any FPS or story driven game because a �classical video game,� to me, is something that is universally appealing, and involves pressing buttons connected to electronic stuff.
When you are playing a sports video game, all you are doing is pressing some buttons to make your character move around. There�s not much critical analysis of anything, unless you want to analyze a playing style or something. There�s no worry about lack of immersion or other lame gameplay mechanics that have become mainstays in this generation of console gameing. There is basically only unadulterated button pushing and timing.
What I'm saying is that pushing "X" in real life doesn't really let you drain 30 foot three point shots, and I think sports games do a good job of letting players know this. The game makes people feel like they are playing a video game and not "an experience" or something silly like that.
A whole review or analysis can be given to support this and argue against it, but to keep it short, sports video games seem to give the player the general assumption that you are controlling
your team, not that you are
the team; you are playing a video game.
In case you were smart and just skipped to the last paragraph, my thoughts can be summed up in, like two sentences: That is why I think sports games do the most with the capabilities of an Xbox 360 and/or PS3. The first two things I brought up were dreams or concepts that finally actualized in this generation, and the third is one that was retained from previous generations. I guess this whole blog could have been condensed into this last paragraph, but then you guys wouldn't be able to read all
the amazing things I have jumbling inside my head. Riveting, no? Well, I'm aware that this is my
opinion, but if you disagree, that's cool. Everybody has their own expectations about what video games should do, and this just so happens to be my perception of what a game should do, and I think sports video games do the best job of trying to live up to those expectations.
Thanks for reading my lame, poorly organized stuff, all two of you! Sorry if you hated it and vomited whilst reading, but I'd like to whore out my gamer tag here as a means to get more friends. It's DJ PAPABEAR 909. Add me if you want, but I understand if you don't want to....:(
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