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Fox Sports College Hoops 99: I Miss Truly Putrid Sports Games

bad sports games fox sports college hoops 99

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Fox Sports College Hoops 99: I Miss Truly Putrid Sports Games

We talk so often about how exclusivity is a bummer because it limits competition and hurts the consumer. These are fair reasons to dislike the lack of competition in the sports game space, but Fox Sports College Hoops ’99 is my poster child for a game that shows off one reason why I also miss the competition. We don’t get nearly as many truly bad sports games anymore.

Courtesy of N64 Glenn Plant, he explains why Fox Sports College Hoops ’99 was a mess. The frame rate is garbage, the AI is crap, it went through development purgatory, and it had weird licensing issues. In short, Fox Sports College Hoops ’99 has everything I could ever want in a bad game. It has a troubled development history with what’s likely an amazing postmortem behind it, and the game itself is a distillery of wretchedness.

When folks talk about whatever sports game being “bad” these days, usually it’s sincere but also hyperbolic. The idea of a “bad” sports game has taken on new meaning in most instances. When something is bad, it just has bugs, or isn’t simulation enough, or it’s too derivative and so on. Regardless, the game is generally functional and you can usually find a reason to at least try to like it. But with stuff like College Hoops ’99 there’s just no redeeming value, and that’s fantastic. It’s a Superman 64 in sports video game form.

By removing competition from the marketplace, in a way it’s just made sports games safer. Most of the big titles are big investments, so there’s an incentive not to screw up, but there’s also not much incentive to risk anything either. When the barrier to entry was lower for licensed games, it meant we got cacophonous disasters like this game or WCW Backstage Assault on a yearly basis. And, look, it’s not like there aren’t still bad sports games that come out, it’s just you can gather them up for one generation much more easily now.

I think there’s a reason we can look back on things like NBA Elite 11 with some fondness now, and it’s because they just feel more rare and unique. They’re maligned and panned at the time, but things like Tony Hawk Ride or Elite 11 help the ecosystem. They show how horrible things can get, but they can also be used to highlight the highs of Skate 2 or NBA 2K11.

One last component that plays into all this is money. There’s money to acquiring exclusivity, but something that vanished due to that exclusivity was the “money grab” play. When licenses weren’t so cost-prohibitive, you had more companies going the “cash grab” route and rushing out bad sports titles with a license attached to it. Now, I can understand why sports leagues don’t want drivel tied to their brand, but it’s that last element that caused “bad” sports games to mostly die out. The people making sports games today tend to love the sports involved, and so most of the “indie” games that don’t have licenses are competent as well.

When you put it all together, the dearth of bad sports games today makes sense, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss them.

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  1. I remember being excited for this, cause the courts looked great in screenshots, it was a neat license, and college sports simply weren't on N64
    But yikes, it is ABYSMAL. It looks and plays like a first gen N64 game and an absolute bore to play. But hey, at least Z-Axis got their splash screen in the beginning at 60fps...
    Remember renting this from Blockbuster as a kid with my neighbor who was Mormon (important to the story). Each team had strengths and weaknesses and BYU's strength was that the team was more mature cause most of the team was older due to the mandatory mission trip that young Mormon men go on. We played a whole season as BYU and every time we did something good our running joke was to reference our team's maturity (as if it had anything to do with the outcome of the game).
    Good times. Really miss all the random and different options there were for each major sport. It's what made gaming fun and what it is missing these days.
    I never knew this game existed!!!! :crazy::crazy: And as mush as a b-ball head that I am... I couldnt even tell you who that is on the cover.:D
    I had FS NBA Basketball 2000 for psx. Loved it at the time even tho it was hard af. At the time i was trying not to be one dimensional with NBA Live and NBA Shootout.
    Chase GFY! This game was a GD GEM!!!
    This game was trash I replayed it recently. I do miss variety in games. I guess nostalgia should be left where it was...
    That is Jeff Sheppard on the cover :)
    Growing up in Kentucky I can tell you if I ever had saw this game I would have bought it in an instant if I had the money. I never actually saw it or new about it until I was much older. I probably would've played the heck out of it as a kid. It probably wouldn't have been my favorite game but neither was Backstage Assault and I put more hours into that game than it ever deserved. 
    eaterofworlds888
    That is Jeff Sheppard on the cover :)
    Growing up in Kentucky I can tell you if I ever had saw this game I would have bought it in an instant if I had the money. I never actually saw it or new about it until I was much older. I probably would've played the heck out of it as a kid. It probably wouldn't have been my favorite game but neither was Backstage Assault and I put more hours into that game than it ever deserved.*

    I don't have kids, but I do wonder if they have to deal with the concept of buying something bad and then just having to play it anyway because you used X money to buy it the same way like a 90s kid would have. You build up in your mind this game will rule, then you get it, but then it sucks and you're SOL. Now, I feel like there's enough free stuff out there that you wouldn't have to torture your mind into believing something is good when it so obviously was not.
    ttrobbins84
    Chase GFY! This game was a GD GEM!!!
    This game was trash I replayed it recently. I do miss variety in games. I guess nostalgia should be left where it was...

    The game is poop. But I miss the poop.
    ChaseB
    I don't have kids, but I do wonder if they have to deal with the concept of buying something bad and then just having to play it anyway because you used X money to buy it the same way like a 90s kid would have. You build up in your mind this game will rule, then you get it, but then it sucks and you're SOL. Now, I feel like there's enough free stuff out there that you wouldn't have to torture your mind into believing something is good when it so obviously was not.
    Yea, I don't really remember thinking about video games objectively as a kid. I wasn't really dirt poor but my parents were pretty tight and I really only usually got a new game on a special occasion. I kinda had to be happy with what I had.
    eaterofworlds888
    Yea, I don't really remember thinking about video games objectively as a kid. I wasn't really dirt poor but my parents were pretty tight and I really only usually got a new game on a special occasion. I kinda had to be happy with what I had.

    Yeah same, I wasn't poor or anything, but I still definitely bought games sometimes and then even if I wasn't super judgmental, it would slowly dawn on me at times the game was butt. But I'd ride it out because what else do you do since you can't go and beg for another game, and you don't have another 40-70 bucks to get a new one.

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