|image – amazon.com|
i always talk about how closely art imitates life imitates art and on and on in an infinite 2-way loop. sports games is where that sentiment is taken pretty literally, where studios like EA do their best to accurately replicate every sound, team, player and environment to enhance their customers’ experience. the TPC sawgrass course in the tiger woods franchise, for example, looks just about as nice as it does watching golf on tv in HD, and stuff like the 17th hole on the stadium course appears to be just as difficult to play without hitting the water. i say appears to be because a tee time for 4 at sawgrass would set you back about $1500. you have that kind of scratch to spend on one afternoon? but anyway, back to the real matter at hand.
john madden, who is still involved with the development of the games that bear his name, believes that it’s time for that to change for two main reasons: (1) to make the game more realistic to actual NFL play, and (2) to show younger sports gamers and youth football players how serious a football head injury can be. according to madden in an interview with the new york times: “concussions are such a big thing, it has to be a big thing in the video game.” he goes on to say, “it starts young kids – they start in video games. i think the osmosis is if you get a concussion, that’s a serious thing and you shouldn’t play. or leading with the head that you want to eliminate. we want that message to be strong.”
sports injury isn’t something that i’ve really seen positively addressed at all in all of the sports games i’ve played over the years, but there are a few examples where it was handled a little… differently. blitz: the league kind of goes the other way, allowing you to “juice” a player through an injury and run the risk of more severe injuries. and EA’s own NHL ’92 showed recipients of hard checks lying unconscious in an almost comically growing pool of blood.the NFL and EA are working very closely to make sure that head injuries are accurately portrayed in madden 12 and beyond. “we want it handed off to the next generation. there was a time when someone would get a concussion and you’d say he just got dinged, take some smelling salts and get back in the game. those days are over.”
this is a definite positive step being taken by EA and the NFL. i’m sure there’s going to be a flood of players that are going to argue that it’s a game and that this will take away from their gaming experience. those players are probably at least teenagers and really don’t care about games being used as a medium for any sort of safety message. but you have to consider the number of younger people and kids that play this game, and given what i’ve seen on my tv on sunday afternoons, it’s definitely something i’m glad is being addressed. it speaks not only to responsible game development, but the idea that a game is a medium that’s large enough to encompass more than shooting bad guys and throwing touchdowns.
and that all aside, i’m curious about how james harrison feels about all this.