Sports Video Games Will Never be Game of the Year

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As much as I love playing video games filled with action, adventure, and a level of customization that enables me to spend hours on my character’s appearance alone, I truly enjoy playing sports video games.  I remember my early days playing Ken Griffey Jr.’s Slugfest on the N64 and then playing Madden 2005 on the PS2.  What I notice as I grow older is that the next iteration of a basketball, baseball, football, or soccer game is very similar to the generation before it, yet they will continuously become top-selling games throughout the world.  What never happens however, is although FIFA 15 and Madden 15 may promote an all-new graphics engine for more enhanced gameplay, the will never be given the title of Game of the Year.

Now, before I began making sweeping generalizations about how the gaming community does not respect the “art of the sports game” I made sure to do a little digging.  With just a quick search, I was incredibly shocked at what I found.  I found a list of all the video game awards from various publications dating back to the early 70s.  Taking out racing games like the Need for Speed series, only two games in the sports or extreme sports genre garnered acclaim as the Game of the Year by at least one publication.  Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, and Madden 2003 were the only games to win Game of the Year.

I should not have been as shocked as I initially was because it makes sense.  Those who purchase the next iteration of a sports game usually do so in order to have the updated rosters and stay current online.  Updated gameplay and enhanced graphics are expected as the video game technology progresses.  Unless there are huge upgrades that the developers are excited about, such as the “Hit Stick” in Madden 2005 or the “My Player” mode in NBA 2K10, then the consumer does not have a specific feature to look forward to. 

I know it would be too easy to compare sports video games in the eyes of gaming award voters to comedies in the eyes of the Oscars.  So instead I will just leave you with this, if you are a sports game enthusiast, own it.  If you want to purchase the newest version each year, then do it.  Personally, I buy the new one every other year so I am pleasantly surprised when I get the newest one.  However you play, sports are a great way to live out your sports dreams and play by yourself or engage in cutthroat, online action.  All you have to do is get off the sidelines and get in the game!

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