We have been focusing on Madden 13 and football gaming quite a bit over the last few months. One of our more recent articles was about the complete subjectivity in what makes someone a “Sim” sports gamer. After considering my own personal views and then looking at my own advise to the NTTV community (…have a good time and play the game however the hell you want to…) I was left to wonder what the other people within the sports gaming community thought about this rather trivial but somehow vital prescription for how games should play and be played.
it was at that point that I came across this post on operationsports.com from community member, Big FN Deal –
“…I will suggest this again, for all the good it will likely do. We are all aware that the game is not tuned for optimal realism, it is tuned for a “fun”/realism balance. So they should release two separate optional tuner sets, one “balanced” for casual Madden play, the other for the “hardcore” tuned for optimal realism. …” (click the link for the full post)
What made my mind explode was the mention of the word ‘FUN’. In case you don’t remember what that is; it was that thing you used to do when you were younger and playing games that made you laugh and enjoy the moment because you were just having a good time. You wanted to smile your way through whatever happened and breath in that fresh air of innocence.
Then something happened… you can’t pin-point it, but chances are good that it happened when you started playing high school sports and the coaches started screaming at you and you thought every moment was live or die. You stopped wanting to have fun and just wanted raw, unadulterated, anger inducing competition. You stopped smiling. You stopped playing the game for fun. It became a chore to even go home and relax with a game of Madden football because there is NO WAY someone can rocket catch in real life!
The Definitive Movie Reference
This clip can be viewed from a two sports gamer perspectives/comparisons…
1-Casual Gamers That Play For Fun (The Players) VS. Sim Gamers That Play Strictly For Realism (Coach Boone)
Hopefully you are laughing at this point, because you are supposed to be… if you are angry, that is okay too. Just remember to think back to when you used to have fun. Once upon a time when there was no such thing as a ‘patch’ for the 100-Yard pass in Tecmo Super Bowl.
As soon as you start playing a sports game – whether it is the tip-off, first pitch, face-off or even kick-off… it is never a true simulation and it will never be.
With the release of Madden 13 in only one week there are a lot of people huffing and puffing around the sports gaming forums about whether or not Madden 13 is a true simulation or (in many other cases) pouting in digital print that it doesn’t represent the game as they would like to see it on a video game.
I am not here to take sides. If this were a war I would be the guy in Switzerland that is right on the border watching the idiotic fighting and on occasion maybe taking a few shots at either side if I get bored. So, before you come clamoring at my comments section saying something like the visitor we had in early July. Basically we are in a situation where there is no right answer to this multi-faceted question(?) or demand(?) – How can a company create a perfect simulation sports game?
To answer in short… they can’t. At least in this regard they can’t create a game that is perfect in the eyes of everyone (or anyone). As soon as you join a sports gaming forum or community you will see quite a few fanboys for certain games and then you will see the end of the spectrum that devote their sports gaming life to lobbying for certain features, animations, uniform colors, equipment and every other tiny detail to be the way they want it to be. It isn’t a question of if they are right or wrong; it is a notion of their opinions holding any water at all.
Undoubtedly, you will eventually also start telling people in the community about a great game you played with the Cavs and you beat the Miami Heat; or how you want the Super Bowl with the Browns or the National Championship with Western Michigan and how you had a fantastic experience. The response you will get almost every single time…
“Sounds like you need to up the difficulty or change your sliders! No way in hell the Browns will win the Super Bowl!”
On occasion, I have even been guilty of making such comments or posting such news about my own career mode. Either way it goes, the bottom line is that one man’s great time in gaming is another man’s slap in the face to all things ‘simulation’ or “SIM” as the community likes to call it.
What Is ‘Sim’?
There are multiple levels in which you can subjectively build your own criteria for what makes your experience feel like a ‘true simulation’ (for some reason I am picturing myself as the pretentious Dr. Frasier Crane when I say that).
We will start with some basics for football (American Football)
– Kick or punt on 4th down when out of field goal range
– Don’t run the same play more than (insert quantity here) times
– Don’t sub players out of position for speed purposes
– Don’t make trades that ‘wound never happen’ (we will cover this later in more detail)
– Don’t nano blitz
Now that we have our brief list of guidelines for how to play the game in a more simulated fashion we should be ok, right?
Wrong! Because if you don’t have your sliders set up ‘right’ you won’t have the optimum experience with challenging opponents in the CPU. We won’t go into the sliders – just know that there are groups of gaming intellectuals out there that smell and caress them like a fine wine that must be nurtured and built into perfection. The moral of this brief trip into the social world of sports gaming is that it is full of opinion, conjecture and a bunch of gym class heroes that might have played division 3 college football with Uncle Rico… and they want you to love and respect their opinions.
Don’t Sign That Free Agent – It Isn’t ‘Sim’
As soon as you start a career in Madden 13 as a coach you will probably want to look at the Free Agents available. However, you should probably keep in mind that if you are a Browns fan like me and you want to target someone like Shaun Merriman or Plaxico Burress you shouldn’t tell your fellow ‘sim’ nazis on the forums.
“They would never sign with your team in real life!” is usually the response you will get.
The rebuttal should be (but not on the forums – that is how you get banned from their Empire Club) –
“No… really? Who knew that the Browns would also hire ME to COACH THEIR TEAM and then make trades, sign players and even draft new players next season – STFU!?”
The point is that once you take control of anything in the game, whether it is as a coach or a player on the field and you are making decisions that influence the game it is officially a form of entertainment. Don’t let someone else ruin your entertainment on forums. You wouldn’t go to a movie and put up with some know-it-all behind you pointing out how Jason Bourne’s form of martial arts isn’t true ju jitsu. You would either ignore him or tell him to shut his mouth. This approach should be taken with ‘sim’ nazis as well. Although, I highly suggest that you either ignore them or be polite if you want to stay in the community.
The Bottom Line
I am here to tell you to have a good time and play the game however the hell you want to. If you want some help or guidance on either the finer points of the game or maybe you even want to know what my settings or opinion is on settings, let me know through our comments section, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message on our Facebook Page.