There is always a nasty statement that would divide an otherwise casual gaming community: “sports games are all the same”. Whenever a new NBA 2K, Madden, or FIFA is announced, the same arguments surface on launch day. While the sentiment may have a reason or two behind it, an argument can be made that sports games are, in fact, improving, year over year. It’s a bold claim, sure, but like the same arguments of repetition, the future of sports video games shines in quality and will continue to do so. In order to prove or merely argue this, the question becomes which elements of a sports video game do we look at? There’s much to consider, but this defines what we think is the most important.
Why Annual Sports Games May Be Better Than You Think
More accurate simulations
At its very core, simulation is the primary selling point of sports video games. As technology arises, these simulations seemingly become more precise every year. With their accuracy, it wouldn’t be hard to pick up some high-quality sports betting tips from playing these games.
Take Gran Turismo or the Forza Motorsports games, for example. Their installments are reputed to paint a picture of which cars would win in a real race with various tunings. Cars today may be state-of-the-art, but without the proper preparation, the chances of winning an actual race are not clear. With video games that adhere this close to reality, there is a strong chance that you could develop the foresight to forecast race results.
The most recognizable way sports games have improved is the constant addition of player options and choices throughout every release. To note, we have gone from the predetermined teams of the early 2000s to creating user-controlled players in the late 2000s and mid-2010s, and now creating and drafting customized teams composed of players chosen by the gamer at their discretion. This feature also pays dividends in wrestling games like WWE and AEW, where roster changes can drastically affect the gameplay quality.
This is also quite true with the NBA games. Annual iterations of the beloved sport usually acquire the updated roster from the last season. With live service updates, statistics for the players change periodically. Therefore, performances for video games would most likely reflect games in reality. Of course, video game systems wouldn’t account for luck, so there’s that wildcard!
Cutting edge graphics
Apart from the Call of Duty games or even Microsoft Flight Simulator, sports video games have always emphasized graphics as another major selling point. Gone are the days when sprites would move their arms outward to block or defend from opposing teams. Today, these movements are more fluid. Lateral movements are more accurate this time around, while physics engines would require more instinct aside from the right sequence of button presses.
Technically speaking, graphics and animations have improved vastly, with clunky movements and boxy textures replaced by smoother flows and better-defined character models. While this may not be considered as crucial by hardcore gamers, it’s important to note that a gamer can only perform maneuvers such as passes, steals, and intercepts successfully through frame-accurate inputs. With improved graphical fidelity, making these inputs have steadily become less of a trial and error, and more reliant on a gamer’s skill and experience.
Plus, they are just visually captivating! Almost every racing game out in the market right now could be a demo for any high-end television out in the mall. Dirt and grass fly off the roads, dust clouds appear, and decals are more vivid than ever. The most baffling thing about it is that an average person wouldn’t know unless someone pointed it out.
Better diversity and variety
It was only just a few years ago when the NBA 2K franchise included the WNBA in their league and these talented women earn more of that recognition each year. And while the WWE wrestling games featured playable women characters in their previous iterations, it was only in WWE 2K20 did they decided to give a standalone storyline in their MyCareer mode. It is a great time for women to be represented in sports games and it will only get better, so long as the sports video game industry features them in a deserving spotlight.
Now, burnout from real sports video games can be very real and taxing. Fortunately, there are also arcade variants of these games that feature almost the same mechanics. The caveat is that they can stretch those boundaries a little bit. But that only makes your imagination run wild while adhering to the rules of the game!
The Super Mario Sports series is an excellent break if the real strategies you employ in sports video games become too stressful. Mario Kart 8 is a stellar game to play to just relax and drive while still having room for competitive creativity. Ever tried a turn-based football game? Try out Blood Bowl 3, where you get to control fantasy creatures competing in a football league.
All these developments and trends in the sports video game industry point to a promising future for it. So long as they remain ripe with ideas and stretch their passion and creativity, sports video games are here to stay.
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