There have been 27 FIFA matches. 2-7. Of course you could get all cynical and say that there were only five or more different FIFA games, but let’s not be facetious. Do we really need each of these 27? Couldn’t we have lost a “Road to World Cup 98”, say, and given another sport a chance? An EA Sports Kabaddi?
And what about other editors? A 2K sumo game? A game of Rockstar ping-pong (oh wait)…
Suppose it is that simple and the small question of selling units is not important. What are some sports that positively deserve video game treatment that would actually be, you know, fun? By meticulously going through Wikipedia and exchanging notes between us, here are the 10.
Gaming companies, are you listening? Stick an Ultimate Team on these and you are hit.
In the style of … the fall guys
Forget football, hockey, cricket, baseball: the purest sport is the British Bulldog. Until you’ve sold a sham and made it to the other end of a playing field, leaving your opponent’s knee bloodied behind you, then you haven’t known the real joy. Then there’s Stuck in the Mud, Tag, Kiss Chase… I could go on.
Now imagine them all with the manic bustle of Fall Guys. I want to play British Bulldog as a 100v1 Battle Royale, so take my money, damn it.
Land speed records
In the manner of… MudRunner
High-tech sport is all about watching someone superhuman do things you could never hope to do. We all dreamed of being Messi, Federer, Hamilton, Akabusi. The wonder of the game is that you kind of feel like these people, at least for a while.
Now imagine becoming the top of the top, the people who are testing the limits of what is possible. I want to feel what it’s like to be in the cockpit of a speed record hunter, but without the risk that comes with it. Then I want to know what it’s like to optimize the car and get incremental gains. Call me a geek (geek), but that sounds right costs.
In the style of … Microsoft Flight Simulator
It looks like we’ve reached the “future” now and are able to produce games that map the entire world. For a lot of games, the sky is our oyster now, and we can do some fantastic things. For sports, I can’t help but imagine a free climbing experience.
Want to climb, hand in hand, all the peaks of the Andes? Of course, put talcum powder on and go. Want to climb the mountains on Mars? I mean, if that’s your problem, then it’s all yours. Take a break halfway and enjoy the views as you climb them all. All that remains is to persuade Microsoft to make its technology available to everyone.
Football Squash / Keepy Uppy / Headers and Volleys
In the manner of… FIFA loading screens
Tired of FIFA loading screens? I have. I never want to do a free kick or penalty again in a risk-free sandbox. I want something more, a little more fun and frivolous.
EA, are you listening? I want to know if Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have mega-skills in some football squash (wall football, or whatever you call it in your corner). I want people to re-rate Ultimate Team players based on their tracking stats. I want to play a heads and volleys game with someone halfway around the world and share a little bit of love at waist height or higher.
In the manner of… VERY HOT
Of course, of course, we had front dodge ball games. But it’s mostly frivolous indie games that were designed for a light chuckle on a couch co-op. I want to take Dodgeball seriously, as seriously as Patches O’Houlihan. I want complex dodge mechanics that slow down time and a first-person or over-the-shoulder perspective. I want to feel like Dodgeball is a matter of life and death.
There’s an argument for a Counterstrike style deathmatch, or an over-the-top Unreal Tournament group experience, but I think I want SUPERHOT. Catch the balls in the air, turn them and throw them in the face of an opponent.
Great, and indeed, hot.
Motor boat racing
In the style of… Hydro Thunder
Sometimes a game doesn’t need to exist because it’s new or hasn’t been made yet. Sometimes a game has to exist because the last one turned out well and we haven’t had one – inexplicably – since. So it’s with Hydro Thunder.
All the graphic and mechanical advancements we’ve made with Forza and Gran Turismo, among others? Yes, we want that for Hydro Thunder. Don’t worry about the extra gadgets: we don’t need photo modes, battle passes, adaptive AI, or crash modes (okay, maybe a crash mode). Just pure thunder (or Wave Race, if you have to).
Like the… Olympic Games
Come on, cowards, have a Paralympic game. And let’s not think of it as a second-rate experience, like DLC for an Olympic game or whatever. I want to play goalball, boccia, wheelchair rugby and more. These games are brutal and brilliant, and online multiplayer would suit them just fine.
Now think about what that would mean for potential Paralympians. We have the Xbox Adaptive Controller, thank you very much – now let’s take a step in that direction.
Style of… 1080 Snowboard
Some sports are nutty and life threatening, making them ideal candidates for playing in a comfortable player chair with a Mountain Dew. Most of us don’t want to die, per se, we just want to get a feel for what thrill seeking would be like.
And the same goes with street sledding, an asphalt version of the popular winter sport. This is what you really expect – someone lies on their back and runs down a street on a small shopping cart. But what happens when you turn down the realism and play a roller coaster ride down through recognizable locations? You get at the very least one hell of a VR game and at the most an urban 1080.
In the style of… Power Stone
The most popular sports get the most games, and that seems obvious and unfair. Where are the games for the little men, the underdogs?
Sepak Takraw is one of those games that needs a quick trip to YouTube to fully understand. It’s volleyball but with legs, heads and torsos instead of arms. It’s one of those sports that has to have an incredibly steep initial difficulty curve, where watching noobs would probably be just as fun as watching people full time.
Now apply the special moves and frantic button hits of Power Stone, an arena brawler, to an all-body volleyball player like Sepak Takraw. What do you get A good time, probably.
The hunger Games
In the manner of… Grave robber
Alright, alright, that’s cheating. I had Quidditch here before I deleted it, which would have been cheating too, but listen to me. Fantastic sports can be just as valid.
Fortnite, PUBG et al took over the spirit of The Hunger Games and Battle Royale (the movie), but lost a lot of the vibe, and there’s room for a game to pick up on it. There is the small ethical hurdle of killing children, but let’s not let it stop us.
The Hunger Games were less about murder than survival. It meant using the environment, crafting materials, forming temporary alliances, and setting traps. The environment was fighting back, with recurring events, and there was the opening, of course, where it would be a melee in an open glade.
For a young adult series, these movies were all game-oriented and in fact – risk to say it – cool. So let’s give him a Tomb Raider engine overhaul and make him kind of a fighter. It will be great to see the Battle Royale genre return to the movies / books that inspired it on repeat.
Honorable mentions go to Twenty-20 cricket (come back Brian Lara!), Air sports (Pilotwings to the Xbox One please!)
To all EA and 2K staff reading this article, You’re welcome. No need for a job offer or a golden handshake, do them justice and this sports fan will be golden. A few EA Street Luge player daily reward packs wouldn’t hurt, however.