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Futuristic sports games like Speedball


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Remember when these were a thing? They were never what I’d call a prevalent genre, but they had their place. Speedball and Speedball 2. Deathrow on the original Xbox. Monday night combat. These games that are presented as being a big sporting event, with crowds and commentators and arenas and stuff. I love all that (although, curiously, not actual sports). Often dystopian in setting, with crazy themed teams. 
 

I just saw a trailer for destruction all stars and it looks kinda like this whilst also looking totally devoid of personality. 
 

Do you have any favourites? I loved Deathrow on Xbox. It wasn’t great, but it perfectly captured that Running Man-esque feeling. 

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Ice cream!

 

Speedball 2 was incredible, would get some really annoyed looks from my mate has I wrought untold damage to the Quickshot 2 Turbo while playing this on his Amiga. Alas, I had the Megadrive version and it wasn't quite the same. Limited palette, evidently not enough memory for the sound effects like the chant of "ice cream!" from in the crowd. But damn, still a great game. Why haven't Bitmap Brothers re-released stuff, like Team 17? Pixel art stuff is in at the moment, you could probably release Speedball as-is.

 

No idea why the genre didn't stick around, though.

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I always rather liked Bet on Soldier - it kind of fits the brief in theme if not gameplay, in the same way as Unreal Tourney.  It was one of those 7/10 also-ran shooters of the mid 2000s but the premise was so daft it gave it some real character.  You were in the middle of a future world war but it was televised and you earned money for kills in order to buy ammo and stuff.  Each stage culminated in this massive TV event boss battle on which punters would bet stacks of cash.  Lots of barmy fun.

 

 

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1 hour ago, TehStu said:

Ice cream!

 

Speedball 2 was incredible, would get some really annoyed looks from my mate has I wrought untold damage to the Quickshot 2 Turbo while playing this on his Amiga. Alas, I had the Megadrive version and it wasn't quite the same. Limited palette, evidently not enough memory for the sound effects like the chant of "ice cream!" from in the crowd. But damn, still a great game. Why haven't Bitmap Brothers re-released stuff, like Team 17? Pixel art stuff is in at the moment, you could probably release Speedball as-is.

 

No idea why the genre didn't stick around, though.

 

Speedball 2 HD was released four or five years ago on PC, although apparently it wasn't any good. 

 

https://www.gog.com/game/speedball_2_hd

 

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10 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

 

Speedball 2 HD was released four or five years ago on PC, although apparently it wasn't any good. 

 

https://www.gog.com/game/speedball_2_hd

 

There were PS360 versions of Speedball 2. Weirdly, the 360 version messed about with the graphics and stuff, but included a "classic mode" that put everything back the way it should be.

 

Does Smash TV count as a futuristic sport? Mutant League Football? A couple of 16 bit crackers right there.

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Laser League is pretty good. Does Rocket League count?

 

edit: I really like Hypaball and Bounces on the C64. Both got bad reviews, but they were fun in two-player.

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Yeah, sports games are hard to do well when simulating or taking on an established sport - having to come up with something new and compelling then making it fun is a lot of effort, and the audience is more likely to be interested at the £10-15 end of the market.

 

It's why things like Rocket League work, its not inventing a new game, just mashing together brilliantly arcade flying cars and simplified hockey/football

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Rocketball on the C64,

14 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:


And by god, did I love that game. 
 

 

 

The memories!

 

 

This had a massive update recently and is still well worth your time. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-09-23-the-original-unreal-tournament-just-got-a-new-patch-with-hundreds-of-fixes

 

You won't get better FPS kicks than picking up the Redeemer on Deck16][. The game still plays beautifully, the maps and weapons all stand up and you'll have forgotten how fun it is.

 

First future sports game I played was Rocketball on the C64, actually looks better than I remember!

 

 

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Definitely played a lot of Brutal Sports Football on the Jag before going to the pub back in the day. Otherwise, Mutant League Hockey has always been a favourite (although sadly a bit rougher around the edges than NHL '94). Another good one not mentioned yet is Heavy Smash from the arcade:

 

 

More recently, I absolutely loved Frozen Cortex. Obviously a slightly different affair with it basically being a sporty version of Frozen Synapse's turn-based action, but I'd spend hours poring over the outcomes of different plays to try and figure out unbreakable strats with which to outwit my opponent.

Sadly, it wasn’t that popular and had a few game-breaking issues where your simulation didn't match up with the actual outcome, which ultimately never got fixed due to support being dropped. I hope someone has another stab at it in the future, but the simulate -> execute formula worked so well that it would be hard to imagine another way of going about it.

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