I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a HUGE sports fans. So naturally, sports video games are very important to me. Being able to take control of my favorite team, scratching and clawing my way to a championship is always a fun experience for me.
The way sports video games have evolved over the last few generations of consoles is nothing short of magnificent. There are times when I’m playing something like MLB: The Show or NBA 2K, and someone will walk into the room, thinking I’m watching an actual live game. Players not only look like their real life counterparts, but they take on their personalities and tendencies. Chances are, your favorite player will shoot the basketball or handle the baseball bat the same way they do in real life. Let’s not forget to mention that players and coaches even lend their voices for in-game interviews.
Not only do they look good, but many of these sports games today have become so in depth with the gameplay and presentation. It’s to the point that you almost forget you’re playing a video game. You start to feel like you’re actually on the court/field or that you’re an actual coach/GM/owner. You have to keep track of players’ health, salaries, the whole “nine”. There’s nothing more challenging than having 3 or 4 of your key players get injured and having to find other options within your current lineup or via free agency or trades. Scouting future prospects and drafting players coming out of college is also key to your team’s success in the near and later future.
Even the commentary has taken leaps and bounds over the years. From rotating commentators to live updates, playing sports video games never feels dull and lifeless. They’ll bring up good and bad performances from the night before or your last game against your current opponent, or even appropriately interrupt what they’re taking about at the moment when a player pulls off a nasty dunk or hits a ball out of the park. While MLB: the Show will recap games throughout each day when you’re on the franchise menu screen, NBA 2K has pre-game, halftime and post game shows that include the likes of Shaq, Kenny Smith and Marv Albert, breaking down the game.
One other huge part of sports games are modes such as “My Player” or “Road to the Show”. These modes allow you to create a player and take them through a journey to become a champion. Most of these modes put you through lots of the challenges that real life athletes face… From high school games, to college, to trying to find a place in the big leagues. NBA 2K’s “My Player” has been huge in the online community.
Gamers take the player that they created and put them on the streets in “My Park”, to play against other players around the world. This has spawned tournaments with huge cash prizes. There’s even a rumor floating around that actual NBA teams will be drafting and paying players to represent their real life teams… That’s CRAZY!
Sports games have changed so much and only continue to get better. NBA 2K, FIFA, MLB: the Show, and even the improving Madden franchise, are all important in the gaming industry.
All these titles perform well on PlayStation and Xbox, but how will the perform on the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo is known for a LOT of things, but not necessarily sports… Unless you count some games on NES/SNES and GameCube, or any of those Mario sports games. With FIFA and NBA 2K announced for the Switch later this year, what better time to break into the sports world than now.
Whether or not the graphics for those games take a slight downgrade is one thing, and quite frankly, for me, is a non-factor. All that truly matters is how well they perform in all the other areas of each game. This is but one of many tests that the Switch will go through over the coming months, that will prove its standing power in the gaming industry. Though this won’t replace my PS4 as my go-to console for sports games, being able to take my Franchise progress on the go would be amazing, not to mention a great way to kill time and make commutes to/from work way less annoying… As long as I’m not getting my ass handed to me by an opposing team.
Earlier mentioned “My Player/My Park” modes on NBA 2K could monumental for the Switch. I’m not sure if this will actually be a thing when 2K is launched for the Switch, but if they plan to use local multiplayer, that’s going to be a game changer. We already know you can connect up to 8 Switch consoles for local multiplayer, so this would make for some awesome 1-on-1 to 4-on-4 matchups. Any of those player building modes would bode well for the Switch, taking this generation’s multiplayer concept to a whole other level.
As important as games like games Skyrim and Dark Souls will be to the success of the Nintendo Switch, top notch sports titles are equally as important.