Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Second Opinion

Since we have begun the shift toward themed posts, I have chosed to introduce the Second Opinion, where Dr. Porter discusses how things are and how they could be different.

Today's topic: Sports video games. More specifically, the Madden and NHL(insert year) franchises that are staples of my video game collection. It seems as though video games have gotten so advanced that I don't find myself enjoying them as much as I have in years past. I think my waning fervor is directly related to the way those video games have translated to the next generation systems. For instance, I grew up playing NHL games day and night. I would spend hours creating all of my friends as sick players and running the table for a decade (we were all 11 at the time, so I assumed our dynasty would last for 30 video game years.), or finding out the one movement, the one path, which would guarantee a goal. Every edition of the game had one and you felt a great feeling of accomplishment when it was established. My most memorable year was in 2005 when I brought Eric Lindros and Ray Whitney to the Blackhawks. It was a great move for everybody. Lindros and Whitney both revived their careers and the Hawks enjoyed three straight cup titles, much to the charign of their owner. (I'm not kidding about the owner thing. In Dynasty mode, the owner gives you objectives like "make money" or "get the first draft pick" and my owner, Bill Wirtz, wanted me to lose games and get the first draft pick. It was nearly like real life, which I have to applaud. I was almost the first coach ever to be fired specifically because he won the Stanley Cup. Coach can attest to this.) That was on the Nintendo Gamecube, which would last me until 2006 when I purchased an Xbox 360. Of course, NHL 2008 was the first gme I purchased. I have played it a total of seven times. Seven. Part of that is due to the fact that I am busier now, but it is mainly because the game doesn't have the same feel as the older versions. It's as if the game makers were so preoccupied with making the game more realistic that they forgot the equation that makes the game sweet: Shooting + passing + knocking guys off their skates= good game. That's all that's necessary. Don't make it more complicated to shoot. I don't want to have to flick a stick in eight different directions in order to score. I want to hit the "A" button as many times as I can. And if you are advertising better graphics for the game, here's a sweet way to flaunt it- playoff beards. Input a code so that when a team makes the playoffs, they immediately sport a playoff beard. AT least give me the ability to edit my own player options so I can add the beards myself.

Another thing I find annoying about all sports games is the lack of an accurate roster. We live in the age of downloadable content and it should be easy to set up an accurate roster for a team and post in on X-box live so that I can play with the guys that I see on TV every night. I was turned off by the fact that I couldn't play with Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews which are both up for rookie of the year. I understand that the games come out before all of these new guys can be processed, but why couldn't they add them in at a later date? This is especially annoying with the Madden franchise where the rosters are, for the most part, deadlocked by August or September. In baseball and hockey, the roster can change every day so I could marginally understand why the roster wouldn't always be up to date. As far as Madden goes, though, I was not able to play with some Bears' draft late round draft picks who had made an impact on the team this last year. The Bears also made a trade for a player which was almost impossible to replicate in the game without giving up a major player which would in itself make the video game team look different than the real one. The rosters are the one thing about sports games that are truly different from year to year. If it wasn't for the new rosters, I wouldn't have any motivation to buy the game each fall, unless there was a drastic improvement in the mechanics of the game (which usually isn't the case). So step up, EA, and set up roster updates so that I never have to worry about missing a key member of my team.

No comments: