A looser definition of sports games

A friend just brought Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars to my attention. I don’t know how I missed this game growing up but it is worth mentioning in the wake of my recent post on baseball video games.

Evidently, Base Wars was released on the NES towards the end of the system’s 8-bit lifespan in ‘91.  It seems like my favorite approach to sports games: take a sport and make it more awesome by removing any semblance to reality and adding sci-fi elements. This is precisely why I can’t recommend Mutant League Football or Mutant League Hockey enough.

Base Wars takes fragile humans out of America’s pastime and replaces them with robots that come in a variety of robot flavors: tank robots, motorcycle robots, UFO-floaty robots and boring bipedal robots. In addition to regular baseball related activities, close outs result in a robot fight. When this happens, the game switches from the overhead view of the field to a side-view 2D fighter perspective. If you were, for example, trying to slide into second and you best your opponent in brutal robot combat you were safe.  Likewise, if the second baseman shoots you in the face with his robot gun arm you are out. The way baseball should be.

In a similar vein, Capcom released Mega Man Soccer in ’94 for the SNES. Players put together a team of various Robot Masters from the Mega Man franchise and, as you might expect from the name, play soccer.  Even though characters can use special kicks that resemble their boss powers from Mega Man, regular, non-robot soccer is probably more interesting. As an American, that’s saying something.

What’s really odd is that Capcom never released the game in Europe. Why they chose to release it in the US but not in Europe is beyond me. I hear people in Europe go nuts over that soccer thing.

Personally, I prefer Midway’s goofy take on the great sport of hand-egg.

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July 9, 2012 · 6:25 pm

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