With sports games these days, all you ever hear about is if the game is realistic. Does Rajon Rondo have the correct headband? Is Chris Johnson's face mask the same one he wears on Sundays? Of course every game has their own issues in game play, but aren't video games supposed to be fun before everything else? Gaming is supposed to take you to a world where you can accomplish things a mere mortal could not.
So, OS writing staff, fact or fiction: Gamers need to remember how to have fun.
Kelvin Mak: Fact - Only because I seem to be OS' resident old crank.
I've been on both sides of the fence. When I was young, I had all the time in the world to dissect all the minute details within a game. If I had the ability to change everything that I didn't find realistic, I would. Basically, I needed everything to mirror what's going on in real life, otherwise it would've just felt ... off.
But as I got older, I started to play games from a detached place, if you will. The word "detached" sounds somewhat depressing, but it's not. I still have a lot of fun with these games, but instead of constantly seeing the game as an extension of reality, I can now -- if I want to -- step back and say, "Hey, it's just a game." It doesn't mean my standards are dropping, it's just that at some point you have to draw a line in the sand.
So my real answer then, wishy washy as it is, is that it really depends. The younger me would've said fiction, since fun to me equaled reality. But the older, though not necessarily wiser me, says fact, and that if you want total realism, go play the damn sport.
Mike Kilroy: Fiction - It's 2011 and game developers have powerful machines at their finger tips. It's not 1987 anymore. Gamers shouldn't be constricted to the gameplan limitations of the NES.
Fun in the 21st century of gaming is replicating the NFL (or any other sport for that matter) as closely as possible. That means accurate player models, gameplay, scores and statistics. I don't want to go into a game having to hold myself back for the sake of realism. I want a game that makes it tough, but realistic, on me.
While I agree some gamers focus too much on the minutiae -- is Troy Polamalu's hair long enough -- most simply are beyond the Tecmo Bowl days of running a cyber Bo Jackson around the screen for five minutes, giggling all the while. Realism is where my fun begins.
Christmas cheer? No with some of our staff members!
Phil Varckette: Fiction - I agree with Mike. In this era of sports gaming, and the next era looming, there is no reason why we should have to make concessions.
One thing that Dustin mentions is how gaming is supposed to take you into a world where you accomplish things a mere mortal could not. I disagree with this. To me, fun is that character doing what he is supposed to do, and doing it in a realistic fashion.
I am just one of those gamers who believes the more realistic the game plays, the more fun it is. If any given player in NBA 2K12 averages 13 points per game, then he should score somewhere around that number every game, with very few exceptions.
There is nothing wrong with fun; all games should be fun, even the most realistic games. I just prefer my fun with a large side of sim.
Glenn Wigmore: Fiction - I'd say that it would be presumptuous of any one person to decide how gamers should “have fun.” If people like to focus on the minutiae in their sports games, then that's their prerogative. I would couch my comments in the context of a casual observation that gamers are becoming a bit more cynical these days, but that's just an anecdotal reflection of the times.
Demanding more out of the games we play — especially a genre as specific as sports — is something that should be encouraged. It's good that gamers care enough to be passionate about the media they're consuming. How would developers truly innovate if they aren't being pushed by community feedback and a lack of game sales? The market still clearly supports sports games that are geared towards “fun” gameplay, such as digital releases and budget titles, so there's no need to restrain the large segment of the sports gaming crowd who demand something more.
At least games don't look like this anymore?
Jayson Young: Fiction - I'll throw this question back at the game companies and say that sports developers need to remember how to create fun games. I look at non-sports titles releasing this holiday like Skyrim and Battlefield 3 and can't help but think, "Why aren't sports games this fun?"
Few sports franchises this generation have had that same "wow factor" of collapsing an entire building in Battlefield 3 or climbing up snowy mountaintops to fight a dragon in Skyrim.
Last generation, sports games were some of the deepest, most fun titles on the PS2 and Xbox, but I don't think anyone can honesty say this generation of sports games has been developed to the quality of elite PS3 and Xbox 360 franchises like DICE's Battlefield or Bethesda's Elder Scrolls.
Caley Roark: Fact - I'll go against what seems to be popular opinion here on Operation Sports, for both staff and readers. Now, I'll preface everything here by saying that I love a good simulation as much as anyone; I prefer the stats to be correct, players to look like themselves and that physics and logic be as close to perfect as possible.
That said, I'm getting tired of trying to "simulate" seasons through gameplay, only to have to restart because of some unrealistic trade the AI made or because my favorite set of sliders has been updated.
It seems that each year, I doggedly repeat the same process: Buy new game -- MLB: The Show, for instance -- wait for a roster update, find a good set of sliders, play a third of the season, become frustrated with something that doesn't seem "right," and start the process over. Along the way, I lose sight of why I enjoy these games in the first place...they should be fun.
Like Kelvin, my younger self probably would disagree with me (and by younger, I mean mid-20s). But now, as I approach my mid-30s, game time becomes more of a luxury. And in those precious moments, I tend to focus on the fun, rather than getting every detail right.
Thinking this way, good "arcade" games, like The Bigs 2, become every bit as enjoyable as The Show.
What about you? Do you think gamers focus too much on sim rather than fun?