6 Added Sports Game Features That Lost The Plot

In case you hadn’t heard FIFA 18 is finally here, and it’s packed with a host of new features.

Most notably is the new interactive transfer negotiations. Similar to The Journey in FIFA 17, it’s an additional part of the game based on interactive conversations that you engage in.

FIFA 18 isn’t the only sports franchise released this year with new alternative gameplay options. NBA 2K18 will feature a new neighbourhood mode where you can take control of your custom character off the court. Players will have the opportunity to explore the basketball-themed neighbourhood and partake in a variety of activities.

Players can opt to go shopping, get a haircut or visit the arcade to play miniature basketball. And that’s not all, there are also street courts so you can… play basketball. Ok, so there is still a lot of basketball in there and all the NPC’s are obsessed with the sport but there is plenty to do.

This isn’t the first time publishers have attempted to add extras to make a sporting game different and – well – weird. Here are 5 of our favourite examples, when sporting franchises lost the plot.

Lightning and Aliens Mode: FIFA 2000

FIFA 2000 included multiple cheat codes as was customary of the times, two of the weirdest were Lightning and Aliens modes. In Lightning mode, players would randomly be struck by lightning during the course of the game. The players struck would then disintegrate leaving behind nothing but scorch marks. Aliens mode was similar only this time players would be abducted during game time. Not sure what the thinking was behind this but we would welcome a rehash in future releases.

Big Head Mode: All 90s Games

This – for some reason – was a mode popular with many game developers across numerous genres. The sporting world was no exception, NBA Jam is one notable example we will look at here. Once the cheat was entered all of the players would take to the court with oversized heads. Players were privy to a slightly more detailed view of some of their favourite NBA stars. It didn’t really affect the gameplay, other than as a distraction tactic to throw your opponent. Let’s just say the 90’s were weird decade.

Celebrity Cameos: WWE 2K16

Celebrity cameos are a common feature in sports games, for one of the stranger examples take WWE 2K16. In this release of the popular wrestling franchise, the Terminator himself was available as a playable character. Not Arnie but in fact the fictional android from the future. Despite being nearly indestructible and surely having a member of the Connor family to kill or protect, the T-800 turns up on Monday Night Raw. You might think he’d have an unfair advantage but time has clearly not been kind. Anyone would think his appearance was no more than a lousy marketing tie-in.

Characters and Stages: NHL Hitz 20-03

Where to begin, this was a game that featured on-ice brawls where you could knock your opponent unconscious. While brawls do occur on ice, it was in the long list of unlockable characters and stadiums where the game lost the plot. Unlockable teams included a Giant Babies team, a Dinosaur team and even a team of sentient Snowmen. Stadiums weren’t exactly realistic either, including the Coliseum in Rome, a Graveyard, and a Disco. Players didn’t even remove their skates to play on the hard surface, you wouldn’t get that from the high paid prima donnas of today.

Interactive CD-ROM Game: Slam City with Scottie Pippen

Interactive CD-ROM titles were never a good idea. We could write a list on the back of our hand of playable releases from that era and Slam City would not make the cut. Game developers figured players would rather make vague choices, that had little-to-no impact on a pre-recorded game sequence. There were romance options in the game but again this mainly consisted of watching two actors perform badly. Not to mention the game required an additional $460 of software to be experienced properly. Slam City is probably the only example of a sporting game where you can’t actually play the sport.

Compared to this we’d say The Journey has been a huge success and should translate well to transfer negotiations. It will add a more in-depth experience of clubs transfer proceedings and is a welcome new feature. Just be glad you’re not shouting voice commands at a video of David Beckham taking set pieces.