Over the years, video games have showcased all kinds of bizarre possibilities for futuristic sports. Now that we’re well into the 21st century, isn’t it time we started seeing some of these inspire real-world pastimes?
Anyway, here’s 7 of gaming’s best examples of futuristic sports – pretty much all of which we want to see realised sooner rather than later…
American football’s nothing new to gaming – but how about if you swap the human players for robots and the ball for an explosive instead?
See? It’s already way better. Just think about how much more gripping next year’s Super Bowl would be if we took a few lessons from Cyberball!
This Atari Games classic was released way back in the late 80s and early 90s (across multiple consoles). It did away with the standard rules of American football, such as making crossing the 50 yard line vital to defuse the explosive ball.
Robotics has come on leaps and bounds in the past decade, so who knows?
Now, here’s a futuristic form of entertainment audiences will probably get to see at some point.
It’s simple: flying vehicles speed along winding tracks, using anti-gravity technology to stay afloat. The Wipeout games offered a huge change from the racing games we’d all known and loved back in the mid-90s, and they still have plenty of fans today. 2097 is regarded by many as the best title in the series, though the first and third also receive a lot of love too.
Speedball was all about speed and fury. The aim might have been to get your ball into the opposition’s goal, but injuring their players was equally important, and helped to make the game stand out from other ‘realistic’ sports games.
The futuristic shine and sleekness helped to make Speedball’s depiction of futuristic entertainment pretty exciting, though not many people would want to actually try it for real: it’s basically like a combination of American football and ice hockey, with cool power ups but far more aggression.
In the world of Deathrow, you’re thrown into an extreme sport known as Blitz, a deranged mash-up between basketball and hockey. Instead of playing with a ball or puck, you have to try to get a flying disc into the opponent’s goal.
So far, so ordinary, right? Well, here’s where it all gets a tad more interesting: if you haven’t actually got the disc in your hand, you’re free to start brawls with opponents. While this is bad for your avatar’s health (natch), it’s a lot of fun.
The more violent you are, the more your audience tends to enjoy your games – but it’s best to strike a balance between actually scoring goals and putting enemies on their backs.
So you like baseball, but think it could use a breath of fresh air?
Well, how about taking a leaf from Cyberball’s book and wheeling a few robots onto the pitch?
That’s right: Base Wars is the simple game of baseball, only with 24th century machines swinging the bat instead.
The concept is based around teams’ owners getting fed up of paying human players ludicrous amounts of money, and so jettison them in favour of synthetic pros instead. It’s not such a far-fetched idea, and actually made for a pretty cool game.
For much of it, the baseball itself is the same as ever – you pitch, you bat, you run from one base to another. For the rest of it, though, you get to fight. This mixes the action up, and adds an extra dimension beyond the basic sporty side of things.
It may not be for the baseball-purist, but for the rest of us, Base Wars was a cooler, shinier, more fast-paced version of the sport.
Mutant League Football
This classic game has a ‘spiritual sequel’ heading to the market, which should please fans of the original no end.
This game took the basic engine of Madden ‘93 and tossed a horde of awesome monsters in for good measure. Rather than unfolding on the same fields with the same teams we’d all seen before, Mutant League Football was set in a post-apocalyptic world, in which humans had mutated into freakish beings … oh, and the dead were coming back to life, too.
Playing fields are littered with life-threatening dangers, such as mines, while teams can power-up with jetpacks, invisibility, and more. You can even bribe the referee if things aren’t going your way, but corrupted refs run the risk of being murdered (though they can also die by accident). If a team loses too many of its players through untimely deaths, they’ll be forced to forfeit.
Think you’d pay more attention to a sport played by jetpack-wearing monsters? Of course you would. Fingers crossed …
Volleyball might look cool in the Olympics (and Top Gun, of course), but there simply aren’t enough robots in it.
Hyper V-Ball, released way back in 1992 (in Japan, and elsewhere over the following couple of years) finally gave the sport the futuristic jolt it needed. While you were free to play volleyball with standard humans, you could take the more attractive option: robotic teams.
These had special abilities that changed the dynamics a little, and played in teams with names like Neo Crashers, Iron Fangs, and Power Spikers.
What are your favourite games based around futuristic sports? Let us know!