With sports mostly being on hiatus, has your desire to play sports games gone down or up, and why do you think that is?
Joel Smith: The hiatus of the sports world has been a bummer. I think it’s pretty fair to say I’ve had the realization that sports are an important part of my life — and that goes without question. With sports gaming being my primary genre of video games I play, I can’t particularly say that my desire has changed much.
While the current state of affairs personally affect my time on games, I still get into NBA 2K20 or FIFA before I go play COD Warzone. I’m really hoping I get the chance to get into Super Mega Baseball 3, as SMB 2 was a blast to play. I’m a sports gamer through and through and that will never change so the desire will always be there regardless of the situation.
Elliott Jenkins: Before the hiatus, I had no plans to pick up MLB The Show before its usual All-Star Break sale. I was going to wait for an abundance of programs to be live in Diamond Dynasty and prolong the franchise time sink for as long as I could. I picked up NHL 20 not too long after the NBA suspended its season, thinking that my beloved baseball was around the corner. But once the MLB also suspended operations indefinitely, sports games became the perfect avenue to fill that void altogether.
Next thing I know I picked up a copy of The Show and have dumped more hours into Diamond Dynasty than I have any other year prior. Sports and sports games are wondrous distractions from life’s biggest problems and smallest inconveniences, and it is no surprise to me that I and so many others have turned to sports games as a way to unwind in these uncertain times. Even if that unwinding turns into harrowing heart-sinking disappointment when my elite power hitters square up hanging changeups that die at the warning track. Sports games are purposeful, level-setting activities that can make the abnormal seem a little less abnormal, even if it’s just for a three-inning Conquest game.
Josh Houtz: Quarantine has been hard on everyone. And with this newfound time on my hands, you would think I’d be using it to play more video games, but I’m not. Truth is, leading up to the NFL Draft I was waiting patiently to start a franchise in Madden 20. And after the Dolphins offseason, I was looking forward to playing with their new arsenal of weapons. But now that the draft has come and gone, I find myself doing other things instead.
Maybe, it’s because there’s nothing going on in the sports world. Or because we don’t truly know what the future holds. I think over the next few weeks, I will immerse myself back into Madden and try to dust off the old PS2 for some classic gaming (I’m looking at you NFL 2K). But for now, I’m probably going to wait and see how things unfold.
Phil Varckette: My desire has actually gone up. Baseball is my favorite sport, and I am foaming at the mouth for it to come back. I think it will, but in the interim I have been playing a lot of The Show. I ran through a playoff bracket I set up with the Indians and swept the Braves in the World Series. I actually felt genuine excitement in doing so. I also have fun just doing play now games to scope out other teams, their players and different stadiums. I think I’ve played in them all by this point. I find myself wanting to play the game almost every night.
I also bought OOTP 21. It’s the first game in the series I have ever bought, and I absolutely love it. I wasn’t sure if I would, but I go through every game myself and haven’t simmed any so far. Although my Indians are doing horribly, it’s still a lot of fun doing day-to-day stuff on the managerial and front office side. So yeah, I think games right now are keeping me sane.
Chris Huber: Mine’s been up and down. It’s helping in some cases without sports being on television, but in other cases it’s made me miss it even more (playing though an entire March Madness tournament on NBA 2K20 without the real thing happening was pretty bleak). While I usually couldn’t get into MLB The Show until regular season baseball started, I’m now playing it more than I ever have. I’m also trying to get every last morsel out of NASCAR Heat 2 before I finally upgrade this summer. Watching The Last Dance has me wanting to play with the classic teams in 2K, which is something I say I’ll always get to, but never do. On the other hand, without the MLS season properly starting, I haven’t touched FIFA since February.
Something that hasn’t been helpful is that playing these games more often is showing some glaring franchise mode issues in NBA 2K and MLB The Show. It also has me feeling like the current/next round of sports games might not be at 100 percent. For example, a game like NASCAR Heat always has alternate paint schemes that have been run at tracks in the real-life season, but they’ll likely have run only about 10 races when the game comes out. And who knows when NBA 2K20 will able to get rookies in to face scan before release. It all just feels weird and more detached from the real thing than usual.