Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

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TheEagleXIII
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Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby TheEagleXIII » December 20th, 2021, 5:34 pm

More genuine question than statement.

Madden being bad is practically a meme at this point. But I recently heard that FIFA 22 is getting 2.6 user ratings, and didn’t fare well last year either. To make it worse - as the only major sport with a big rival franchise keeping them honest - Konami’s latest effort (formerly Pro Evolution Soccer, now the terribly named and rebranded eFootball 22) is also plagued with issues that border on laughable.

I haven’t heard how NBA2K is faring, but a couple years ago I heard a lot of complaints about microtransactions ruining elements of the gameplay.

I get the impression the NHL series has been underwhelming for quite a while now too.

The only sport I’ve heard good things about is MLB The Show - but that was a few years ago. I don’t know if they’re still putting out a good product?

Overall things haven’t been good for a while, but recently it’s somehow sounds like it’s getting worse. Whether it’s gameplay issues, offline play, arbitrarily removing features or prioritising pay 2 win.

A decade ago things looked bad when most sports only had 2 choices of game, but there were some franchises at least nailing the gameplay. But now the gameplay seems to be getting worse and almost each major sport only has 1 option. For the NFL that’s by design - but with the NBA, NHL and MLB (unless I’m missing a major competitor) it isn’t. But even FIFA hasn’t really seen Konami as a threat for a long time - and they’re doing nothing convincing to show that they’re making progress towards closing that gap.

The thing is, why even bother attempting the make a competitor with the costs - let alone having to create a brand new game engine from scratch and it be good. EA failed trying to revive NBA Live - and they had past experience and money to burn.

Is it truly the worst though? The only era I can think may be able to compete is the Atari generation - but they were surely limited by the technology available. Now it looks like all/most of the major franchises are punching below their weight, and often it seems intentional. Sure, each generation had its share of stinkers, but did having variety or choice compensate for that?

Breaker
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby Breaker » December 20th, 2021, 8:30 pm

I think I would say yes, this is the worst it's ever been, but I also think my sports fandom has changed so much in the last 10-15 years that I'm not sure I'm a good barometer anymore.

The last NHL I played was 19 on PS4. I thought it was great.

The Show has been hit and miss lately in my opinion. More hit than miss, though. Most years I have move fun than frustration with the games.

Last NBA game I played was 2K15 against my step-son. Can't say it left any impression on me. I still play NBA Jam and Live 95 occasionally.

I haven't played much of the recent golf games, but I have played, and still play, a ton of the Masters games on PS3, namely 2012 & 2014. But those are nearly 10 years old now.

Haven't played a single new game of Madden in more than a decade. Probably 2008 or so. I did play a compete season on Madden 95 awhile back. I still play Blitz on the 64 at least annually, though.

Never was a big FIFA player, and have never tried PES.

I just don't have a passion for sports anymore. I'm guessing it's more to do with me than the games actually becoming worse. Sure, I could wax poetic and recite statistics from the 90s and 00s, and I could rant about how the players don't respect the game or some other nonsense, but that doesn't make it true. I'm older and have different interests. Doesn't mean others are wrong to be hard core fans.

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ASalvaro
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby ASalvaro » December 21st, 2021, 4:52 am

we gotta get back to multiple companies releasing sports games...i remember in 2003 i had like 5 different baseball games for the PS2.it was great..EA has REALLY ruined sports video gaming

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby VideoGameCritic » December 21st, 2021, 11:18 am

Interesting thread! I agree that sports games don't hold the appeal they once did. There was a time when I would buy the new Madden, NBA, or NHL game on a yearly basis. Now, maybe once every few years, if at all.

I think there are several reasons for the decline.

First, as ASalvaro mentioned, these exclusivity agreements have resulted in the same company releasing the same game every year with different rosters. Very dull.

In addition, it seems the technology has really slowed. Going from an 8-bit baseball game like Bases Loaded (NES) to Sportstalk (Genesis) was a huge leap. Same for when games transitioned to 3D in the late 90s. But now, the current game looks pretty much exactly like the one from 5 years ago - maybe 10!

Finally, it seems like the drive to make each sport ultra-realistic has resulted in making them... boring. I mean, who would want to sit through a real 3+ hour baseball game? I'd rather play an arcade-style baseball game in a half hour that's very unrealistic but fun.

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MSR1701
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby MSR1701 » December 21st, 2021, 12:05 pm

While I agree with most of the thoughts thus far written, there are occasions where good games are still made and released:

Legend Bowl - https://legendbowl.com/

Super Mega Baseball 2 - Ultimate Edition - https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/super-mega-baseball-2-ultimate-edition-switch/

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » December 21st, 2021, 2:20 pm

The problem is that EA's sports sims aren't simulations anymore. They're just shallow arcade games which reign in all the fun parts of the arcade - it's why they rely on canned animations instead of actual physics simulations, and it's why a Madden from over 15 years ago has more depth and play options than anything released today.

Not to mention, better bug testing and no gambling mechanics.

You can thank Andrew Wilson for that change in priorities.

EA's made it clear, that they don't care about single player anymore. It's an afterthought, compared to where they make all the real money.

Next to that predatory behavior, 2K are saints. Yeah, their microtransaction ads are obnoxious, but at least they give you an actual game for your money. Even if you ignore the DLC entirely.

Anyways, this still isn't the worst period for sports in gaming. That was when Hockey, Soccer, and Tennis were all Pong.

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MSR1701
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby MSR1701 » December 21st, 2021, 3:06 pm

As stated above, there are the odd "indie" and/or nostalgic-style sports games that are being developed, and some classic sports games are being released on the Evercade (your mileage may vary on some of these games being "Classic" once you see the games that are on these carts:

Evercade Codemaster Collection Vol. 1 - https://evercade.co.uk/cartridges/codemasters-collection-1-cartridge/

Sports games included:
Sensible Soccer
Tennis All Stars

Evercade Piko Interactive Collection 2 - https://evercade.co.uk/cartridges/piko-interactive-collection-2-cartridge/
(Note - due to licensing, most of the games included in this collection have been renamed, such as the totally not Barkley Shut Up and Jam games...)

Sports Games Included:
Beast Ball
Football Madness
Hoops Shut Up and Jam
Hoops Shut Up and Jam 2
Power Football
Summer Challenge
Winter Challenge
World Trophy Soccer

Evercade Jaleco Collection 1 - https://evercade.co.uk/cartridges/jaleco-collection-1-cartridge/

Sports Games Included:
Bases Loaded
SUPER GOAL! 2

Evercade Atari Lynx Collection 2 - https://evercade.co.uk/cartridges/atari-lynx-collection-2-cartridge/

Sports Games Included:
California Games

Evercade Atari Lynx Collection 1 - https://evercade.co.uk/cartridges/atari-lynx-collection-1-cartridge/

Sports Games Included:
Awesome Golf
Basketbrawl
Jimmy Connors Tennis
Malibu Bikini Volleyball

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noah98
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby noah98 » December 22nd, 2021, 8:47 am

The problem is that we have very few options, micro transactions as a priority, and a focus on realism at the expense of fun. 8 and 16 bit sports games are still fun, and older arcade games like NFL Blitz and NBA Jam still hold up. Cruisin' Blast proved that games that focus on fun over realism can still be made and appreciated. I'd like to see more sports games take that approach. I know some have tried, like the Super Mega Baseball series, but they still fall short. The weird deformed graphics and clunky pitching controls killed that series for me. And don't get me started on the new Mutant League Football game! How could they make a game absolutely no fun to play?!

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby VideoGameCritic » December 22nd, 2021, 5:26 pm

It doesn't help that these leagues are run by ass-hats (*cough*Goodell*cough*) that see dollar signs when an exclusivity agreement is presented by companies like EA, with no regard to the fans or the future of the sport. They just take the money and run.

Herschie
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Re: Is This the Worst Period in Gaming History for Sports?

Postby Herschie » December 24th, 2021, 1:06 am

Not for every sport. I'm playing Bases Loaded on the NES at the moment because I need a break from The Show. The difference between this and Madden is that I vastly prefer The Show 22 over any other baseball game. On the other hand I'll play Tecmo Super Bowl all day before I'll touch Madden 22.

Then again I was also playing "NFL" , the game by LJN the other day on the NES. But the thing is we had options.

Of course with my crummy grades at school I had to learn to like "Touchdown Fever".


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