It can be hard to jazz up sports these days. Years of tradition and expectations have made it hard to make many, or even any changes to sports like baseball, football, basketball, and others without drawing the ire of long-time fans. Luckily, video games don't have to worry about that.
While some games like the Madden or NBA2K series will often follow a stale formula, other companies aren't afraid to mess around with a popular national pastime and turn it into something completely nonsensical. Look at a game like Blood Bowl: Death Zone, which takes football, and turns it into an all-out fight to the death. Pretty much anything goes with games, and that has allowed developers to fool around with many popular sports, mutating them into things that are just plain bizarre.
Let's look at the craziest ways that game designers have taken the popular sports you love, and turned them into utterly weird, sometimes hyper-violent spectacles that would make ESPN lose their minds.
Rocket League has become so popular that we're all kind of numb to just how weird it really is. It's a soccer game where cars knock the ball into the net, instead of incredible athletes with insane cardio and impressive injury-faking skills. That's awesome, but also not exactly what one might expect to see at the World Cup (although it would be so much better).
It also has a lot of unanswered questions. Who's controlling these cars? Where does this all take place? Is Rocket League just a horrible nightmare reality where drivers are forced to compete in these gladiator-esque games in front of a ruthless audience made up of sentient ball people? Why is the audience made up of sentient ball people?!
Truly, Rocket League is the most enigmatic game of all.
Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special
Is wrestling a sport? It's debatable, although wrestlers are in pretty good shape, and it does take a lot of skill to efficiently swing a steel chair. Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special is mostly a pretty standard wrestling game for the Super Famicom, except for one little detail: The story mode was written by Suda51.
You know, Suda51... the guy who's made many perfectly "normal" games like Killer7, No More Heroes, Killer Is Dead, Let It Die (the dude likes death apparently), and Lollipop Chainsaw? Yeah, that guy.
Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special's story has you rising through the ranks of a wrestling promotion, and is a pretty average wresting tale, except for the fact that everyone you love is murdered either near or inside the ring, and most of them are killed by a guy named "Dick Slender." Oh, and after winning the big championship, your character shoots himself in the head three days later.
Imagine a Wrestlemania ending on that note.
Oh, hey! Another weird Suda51 sports game, what are the odds? Diabolical Pitch isn't a regular baseball game, which makes sense considering it's on this list. You play as a washed-up pitcher named McAllister, who apparently was able to sign a major league baseball contract despite the lack of a first name. During a playoff game for the World Series, he injures his pitching arm so severely that he has to retire. Just when things look as bad as they can get, he gets into a car accident and wakes up in an amusement park, where a man with a cow mask gives him a new, super-powered pitching arm, and he then has to throw balls at evil mascots in order to keep it.
A tale as old as time.
Yeah, it's a weird game. You basically just chuck balls at random monsters and occasionally have to duck or catch things. And did we mention it's also a Kinect game, meaning it has awful motion controls on top of being weird? Needless to say, it's not Suda's best work, but at least it sounds more interesting than regular baseball.
Golf can be a boring sport to watch at times, at least until you hit 55, and suddenly it's more exciting than a demolition derby. Bandai Namco appears to have the same lack of enthusiasm towards golf, so they found a simple way to make it more exciting: take a whole bunch of drugs.
Ribbit King is essentially what golf would look like if you gulped down six tabs of acid while out on the course. The ball is a frog that you fling using a tiny catapult (so technically it's frog golf or 'frolf'), just about everything has a smiley face, and your character is either a caveman panda, a sentient basket, or an alien wearing a sash with the word "frolf" written on it.
Nothing makes sense, there are rainbows everywhere, and you'll likely need to find the nearest chill-out tent by the time the game is done.
Mutant League Football
Blood Bowl: Death Zone didn't really manage to live up to the premise of a blood-soaked football game, which is a shame because a classic Sega Genesis title already managed to tick that box back in 1993. Mutant League Football takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has turned into weird mutants, aliens have invaded, and the dead have reanimated, and they're apparently really into two-point conversions.
Your team is made up of either mutants, skeletons, aliens, robots, or trolls, and it mostly plays like regular football, except there are fire pits and land mines. You can bribe the referee, or if that doesn't work, you can just outright murder the referee, although that will result in a foul.
In the end, the losing team gets blown to smithereens, and the winning team's MVP gets to join the Mutant League Football's hall of fame, which is called the "Hole Of Flame," because it's literally just a giant flaming hole in the ground that they get thrown into. Not exactly a Superbowl ring is it?
If you want more dismemberment in your football, next year will bring about the release of Blood Bowl 3, which is sure to be much better than Blood Bowl: Death Zone. So, at least we can get excited about some true fantasy football in 2020.
As sports tend to stay the same, at least video game developers will always look for new ways to shake them up. Whether it involves adding grenades to hockey or having robots play lacrosse, you can always count on video games to take a sport your granddad loves and make it interesting.
Except for curling, because nothing can make that interesting.