Opening TipOctober 18, 2011 at 12:16 am | Posted in Reflections | 3 Comments
Tags: Atari, Atari 2600, Microsoft, Nintendo, Retro Gaming, SEGA, Sony, Sports games, sports video games, Video Game Collecting, video games
When I was eight years old, I would carefully set up my grandparents’ Atari 2600 so that both joysticks were within my tiny grasp. There was no such thing as a CPU opponent in those days. You played games like Baseball and Football with a friend, cousin or sibling. Being the oldest grandchild in the family, my options were pretty limited. With this the case, I did what any other resourceful sports-obsessed youth would do – I played against myself. Sitting Indian style, I would pitch with one controller, quickly grab the other to swing, and then immediately switch back and field. This display of advanced hand-eye coordination impressed my Dad and Uncles so much that no one would ever accept my offer to play (or perhaps they were adults that couldn’t be trivialized by such things).
In the last thirty years, we’ve come a long way with sports titles. Back in the ‘80s we used our imaginations; taking nondescript teams in solid colored pixel uniforms and pretending they were Buddy Ryan’s Eagles. When we got sports titles that had actual players’ names? It was like the newspaper box scores that we pored over had come alive – even if the players looked like plastic Fisher-Price figures. Graphics weren’t the end-all when choosing a game, but the 16-bit years started to have people take notice of them. From there, we had the awkward teenager-like years of ugly 3-D polygons and the birth of TV-style presentation. 2-D pixels were sadly gone, but the future was promising. Everything got better year over year and soon we were playing our friends three time zones away over this thing called the internet. We always had a ton of choices in the ‘80s and ‘90s but as of late the competition has dried up across most sports and, well, here we are.
Retro gaming has a great following online. There are tons of dedicated blogs and some really good forums for discussion and trading. But retro sports gaming? 99% of retro gamers love to collect older and rare titles and cool old consoles no one could afford when they were fourteen (like the Neo Geo). 99% of sports video gamers trade in last year’s game when purchasing the newest release.
Here at Retro Sports Gamers World, that minority 1% of sports gamers is the core focus as we wax nostalgic over the good and bad of the last thirty years of sports gaming. Of course, I hope all gamers and retro gamers, young and old, find the site entertaining and come away smiling at a forgotten memory or decide to hunt down a $1.87 Sega Genesis game after reading a post. Now I do want to note, I am not one of those guys that cry that games are too complex nowadays (although the number of post moves in the NBA 2K series is pretty intimidating). I like playing Madden ’12 as much as exploring John Madden Football for the 3DO or PC Engine Duo. NHL ’12 looks great, but I love NHL ’94 and love that there are guys out there playing in online leagues with updated rosters. Those guys (or girls) that spend hours updating player info for a reproduction cart are the niche we’re talking about at Retro Sports Gamers World.
This isn’t going to be all retro-reviews of games that are potentially biased on nostalgic feelings of staying up all night to finally win the Super Bowl, or get past Bald Bull. There will be commentary on newer games and the marketplace today, as well as video game collecting in general. This will not be one of those video game blogs that has 450 flashing banners complete with a clashing background and tons of hyperlinks. There will not be a YouTube video of a Blades of Steel walkthrough. There will be fun giveaways to members and entertaining discussions on the blog as well as on Twitter (@retrosportsgmr). I hope you’ll sign up to comment and share the site with other retro gamers. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences with everyone.