The New England Patriots earned a victory over the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday, reaching the halfway point of the NFL season with a perfect 8-0 record and a staggering +189 point differential. That start puts the Pats on pace to shatter the NFL record for point differential in a season with a +315. The current record was set in 2007 when Bill Belichick and Tom Brady went 16-0 throughout the regular season.
It’s also the kind of start that, had it occurred in a video game, would have had many gamers reaching for the reset button. Gamers with a penchant for accurate simulations almost always look for anomalies in simulated seasons or obvious issues with game difficulty. From there, they chalk them up to broken sim engines and flaws in their games. But sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.
Here are five examples of instances when real-life sports moments would have had gamers crying foul.
Joe DiMaggio’s 56-Game Hit Streak
If I were in the midst of a season in MLB The Show 19 and noticed a player had hit safely in even 26 straight games, I’d start to wonder about my difficulty settings. If that streak approached the mark set by Joe DiMaggio in 1941? I would be rebooting that season in a hurry.
Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-Point Game
Even though it happened in 1962 and there’s no video of it, Wilt Chamberlain’s accomplishment is certainly remarkable and will likely never be topped. But if it happened in a video game, many sim gamers would flock to Reddit, Twitter and the OS forums to loudly complain about the complete lack of realism they were witnessing.
Wayne Gretzky’s 50 Goals In 39 Games
Even in the offense-heavy NHL of the ‘80s, Gretzky’s accomplishment was mind-boggling. Consider that up to that point only two players in NHL history had ever scored 50 goals in 50 games or fewer, and The Great One managed to accomplish that feat before New Year’s Eve. To further put that in perspective, in the 20 years the NHL has been awarding the Maurice Richard Trophy to the league’s top goal-scorer, there have been five years when the top goal scorer in the league failed to hit 50 for the entire season. Granted, the league has changed enormously since 1981, but even if the NHL series had been around back then, I think most gamers would have raised an eyebrow if they simulated a season and noticed that someone scored 50 goals in 39 games.
Klay Thompson’s 37-Point Quarter
Klay Thompson’s 37-point outburst against the Sacramento Kings in 2015 featured a ridiculous 13-for-13 shooting performance, including an absurd 9-for-9 display from three-point range.
If I sat down to play NBA 2K20 and one player dropped 37 in a half, I would begin questioning the difficulty level. So it’s safe to say seeing one player score 37 in a single quarter would immediately have me digging through the sliders looking for ways to fix the game.
Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Mode” Touchdown Run
There’s perhaps no finer example of a real-life sports moment that would have left gamers throwing controllers in disbelief more than Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard touchdown romp against the Saints back in 2010. If I were playing a buddy in Madden and something similar happened, he’d be getting an earful about how the tackling slider was obviously broken.
Everything From Baseball’s Steroid Era
Barry Bonds’ 73 home runs, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s epic home-run chase, Roger Clemens’ bounce-back Cy Young seasons, and so many other achievements from the ‘90s and early 2000s would be excellent examples here. However, the issue is of course the minor detail that all these players were already messing with the real-life difficulty settings via various types of chemical assistance. Still, it’s a weird era that would have had you side-eyeing your games had it occurred there.
What other examples come to mind where real-life sports would have had you questioning your sports simulation?