Saturday, April 30, 2016
A videogame increases the fan base of the biggest sport in the world
Soccer is probably the most popular sport in the world. While less popular in the United States, Europeans go literally crazy over professional soccer in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, London, and Paris. Yet the game of soccer is so slow paced. There are usually only 7 or so shots on goal within a game and teams rarely score more than 3 goals. Even more annoying is the fact that players always end up passing the ball along the back line refusing to advance the ball into scoring territory. I don’t know the exact numbers but it seems as though 90% of possession time in soccer is spent in the middle of the field, far away from the goalie and the net.
FIFA, on the other hand, is fast paced. While it is still a lower scoring game, the ball changes possession seemingly every 10-15 seconds. The ball stays around the attacking areas and games with 30 shots on goal are not unheard of. This is an extremely exciting brand of soccer. However it is unrealistic. FIFA, after all, is a video game. For the style of play to be transferred from the video game to real soccer matches, players would have to be impossibly conditioned. They would have to be in the greatest shape of any human, ever. Yet still, the videogame FIFA soccer has broadened the already enormous fan base of soccer. Americans who loved fast paced games like football and basketball are drawn to FIFA soccer. After playing it over and over again, they begin to learn the names of the players on the best teams in the world. The next thing you know, they are purchasing their favorite teams jersey online and watching every match they play during the season. FIFA Soccer is not just making money for EA Sports, they are making money for, and increasing the popularity of, the game of soccer.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Game Title: Golf
Game Maker: Unknown
Platform/Format: Golf Course. 18 holes or 9 holes.
Year Released: 15th Century Scotland
An Overview Of How This Game Works (Without Spoilers): Golf is an equipment centered sport that uses clubs of various types to hit balls into holes throughout a golf course. It is usually played on an 18 hole course but sometimes is played on a 9 hole course. Each hole has a number value associated with it called “par”. Par is the predetermined number of strokes it “should” take to get the ball in the hole. The less strokes used to get the ball in the hole, the better. At the end of the round, the strokes on each hole are added together for a final score. The lowest score wins. What makes golf so unique is its course variety. A basketball court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide, a football field is 100 yards long. No single golf hole or golf course is the same. Some are easier than others, and some are down-right frustrating. Just like most sports, the professionals drive the sport forward. The professional golf tour is known as the PGA tour and has a very loyal fan base.
Quick Background & Context: Originating in Scotland during the 15th century, golf is one of the oldest sports humans have ever played. It evolved over time to get where it is today, but much of its history has been lost in time. It is played all over the world by all people alike. Most golf courses have many different sets of tee boxes (The area at the beginning of each hole where the first shot is to be hit) ranging in their distance to the flag. There are the champions tees where the professionals on the PGA tour play, there are “men’s tees” where it is recommended that men ages 18 and up play, there are “women’s tees” where it is recommended that women ages 18 and up play from, and there are children’s tees for the children, obviously. What is great however, is that in a non-competitive round of golf (not a tournament) the golfer is free to tee his/her ball up on whatever tee box he/she feels.
The Main Takeaway(s): Golf is a game for everyone. It is slow paced, lets you spend time outdoors, lets you spend time with friends as it is easy to talk in between shots, but above all, golf is hard.
“What Can We Learn From This Game?” More than any other game out there today, golf teaches life lessons. Here are a few: Humility, Respect, and punctuality.
Interesting Trivia: There are currently 15,372 golf courses today in the United States, alone.
Outside Insight: “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” Arnold Palmer
“Golf... is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.” P.G. Wodehouse
Is it good or bad and why? Sports, before I get into golf, are the best category of game by far. They promote values that other types of games fail to even utilize. In the realm of sport, Golf is the single greatest game ever invented. Arnold Palmer said it, and I will second it. No other game reflects on and teaches lessons of life like the game of golf. Integrity: There are no referees on the golf course, whether in a professional event or on a public course during a Saturday afternoon. A player must respect the game and respect him/herself enough to hit his/her ball where it lies instead of kicking it out of a sand trap or putting down a score of a par on a hole where he/she took a stroke over par. Manners: In no other sport is it expected of competitors to remove their hats and shake hands after a round. On the PGA tour, it is expected of each competitor to compliment his playing partner on a good shot, instead of pout or complain to a referee. Creativity: No golf course is the same and no golf hole is the same. A golfer will never hit the exact same shot twice. There is no single path to the hole. There are, instead, infinite paths. A good golfer can curve the ball around obstructions and can visualize fascinating ways to reach its destination. The main reason why golf is the greatest game in the world is this: Golf does not discriminate. Golf does not care if you are 6 foot 10 or 5 foot 9. Golf does not care what color your skin is. Golf does not care whether or not you were blessed with extreme athleticism or with poor athleticism. Golf does not care how much weight you can bench press. The only way to get good at golf is to practice. In basketball, being 7 feet tall is a huge advantage and being 5 feet 5 is an insurmountable disadvantage. I can only run so fast and jump so high no matter how much I practice. I can never stop improving my golf swing, my green reading abilities, and my putting mechanics. Golf does not discriminate. That is why it is the greatest.
Class Responses & Questions:
Friday, April 15, 2016
Single Player Game
U CAN’T WIN: Top 1%
When I began the game designing process I wanted to create a game that was playable, fun, and winnable. Yet as I worked and worked on my design my mentality changed. I was so tired of happy-go-lucky games where the player enters a world brighter than his/her own. So instead, I designed an unwinnable game. I named it U CAN’T WIN, for obvious reasons. At the very end of the game sits a group of green aliens. These represent the top 1%. They sit atop a mountain of gold coins and are barely out of reach for the gamer. This was not done to mess with the gamer, rather to teach him/her a lesson.
The gamer represents the average blue collar or small business worker who works his entire life (the entire game) to get as high as he can in life. Yet the money at the pinnacle is unreachable no matter how hard the gamer works. The average worker or the impoverished person has an extremely difficult time moving up the financial ladder, just as the gamer can never reach the top and collect the coins.
My favorite aspect of this game are the words that follow the gamer up the ladder: U CAN’T WIN. This was done to remind the gamer of the satirical nature of the game he or she is playing. The gamer may still believe that he/she can “beat” the game, but no matter how hard the gamer works, how many strategies he deploys, he will never win.
A Well-Played Game: Do We Know What We Want Anymore?
As spectators of a sport, we have a great depth of power. One that reaches farther than most of us imagine. We watch a team and judge. We judge individuals, we judge teams, and we judge organizations. Everyone with their own opinion we sometimes struggle to find common ground. Our ideas of what is “great play” in a sport can sometimes go foggy. Yet in that mist, for some reason lies bright appreciated traits of teamwork, sportsmanship, gentlemanliness, and respect. Whether its human nature that draws us to love those characteristics or whether it’s the fact that we aspire to encompass them, spectators can all agree that we judge athletes and coaches based on those ideals. In college basketball, it is the selflessness and teamwork that we are all so intently drawn to. In the pros, we may side with the freakishly athletic, and the amazingly skilled. Yet in college basketball we love the team. These young men are not paid to play. They play for the love of the game and they play to win, for the team, not for themselves. Or, at least they did.
In an era where media coverage is all-encompassing, at times invasive, the college basketball world is slowly shifting and men like Jimmy Valvano are rolling in their grave. For better or for worse, money controls the NCAA, the coaches, the teams, and even the players. Now more than ever we see young men at the age of 19 leaving college for the NBA. College basketball is nothing more than a pit stop on the way to a world of profession for some of these college athletes. We see the occasional arrest or punishment of a college athlete who thinks he is invisible. They are minor incidents, most of the time. A failed drug test, a stolen item of food. College basketball enthusiasts, like myself, feel cheated. So we sit in our thrones of judgement, and we judge. Some, harsher than others. Now I have no problem with these judgements. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. What I do have a problem with, however, is when a team of young men who encompass all the attributes we seem to adore is hated for no reason whatsoever. They are stereotyped into a group where they do not belong. That, I do have a big problem with.
The 2015 Kentucky men’s basketball team was a thing of beauty. A team where great (I emphasize that word because it is thrown around too often in our time) players sacrificed their playing time, sacrificed their scoring numbers, and played to win for the team, not for themselves. They played hard, they played smart, and they played together. They acted the right way on the court, and maybe more importantly, they acted the right way off the court. Not a single player was arrested, not a single player was suspended, and not a single player was cocky. Yet we, and I say we because I found myself guilty of doing this at the beginning of the season, decided for no apparent reason that we would hate them.