Sports games have always been a major part of my life. From Madden to NCAA sports, I loved to play them all. In fact, I loved the fact there were various competing titles in some sports (to be covered in future column) that made the competition better and, in theory, better games. One of these various sub-genres was the over the top, violent sports game. Common examples are Blitz: The League, NHL Hitz and Red Card Soccer.
NHL Hitz 2003 was my first foray into this genre and I lived it. Powerman 5000’s “Drop The Bombshell” was the opening music for the game, three on three hockey and you can knock people through the glass around the rink. Another fun caveat was if you hit a guy enough it would turn into a legitimate fist fight where it became a 2D fighter for a few moments. This column is a brief look at why these games should make a comeback.
They were fun focused
This is not to say that Madden, NBA 2K, or other sports games are not fun, it just isn’t the same. Red Card Soccer, NHL Hitz, and Blitz: The League were all developed and published by Midway a couple years before their bankruptcy. If Midway sounds familiar, here are a few game titles to make us old gamers remember. Mortal Kombat (1-4), Crusin’ USA, Rampage, and San Francisco Rush. This developer/publisher just had a way to make games fun.
Next gen hardware would make these games gruesome
Most of these games came out during the original Xbox and PlayStation 2 era where graphics were great for the time, but have since been exponentially improved by recent consoles. Having a developer take care and put the time into developing a fun game could lead to a revitalization of the genre. Having a hockey game where you can knock people through glass and get into a fist fight would look amazing on a PS5 or Xbox Series X.
This is the perfect time for a launch
As major sports games have moved toward a micro-transaction borefest, an over the top satirical game would fit in great. Think about the success of Rocket League in recent years. You can’t tell me that if someone brought back Blitz: The League that it wouldn’t sell like hotcakes. The industry has felt a little stale lately and I think it’s due for something over the top to break up the monotony.
My final thoughts
As much as I would like this to happen, it likely never will. At least, I don’t think it will happen with any serious attempt. If this was to happen, I would want a company to remake NHL Hitz or Blitz: The League and take time to make it a great game that is well developed instead of just trying to squeeze money from the title. Madden 18 made me miss a lot of sports games I grew up with, but I don’t think it meant to do that.