“Monster Jam. He’s on fire. He is absolutely unconscious. Boom shakalaka!” These words, made famous by Tim Kitzrow, still bring a smile to my face.
When I was a kid, I used to love playing “NBA Jam” on my Super Nintendo. I would play as the Jazz and get my revenge on the Jordan-less Bulls. My favorite was performing a helicopter dunk with John Stockton, who, more than likely, didn’t have a dunk in his entire 19-year NBA playing career.
Nowadays, sports video games have left the arcade style and, with new technology, have become more and more realistic. You can even see the sweat pouring down the faces of players as they prepare to take free-throw shots. You can see every muscle ripple as you make a drive to the hoop. And the thud and the cry of pain is heard on every charge or blocking foul.
These games have become so realistic that they even bring in players to showcase their special moves. Weber State’s own Damian Lillard put on one of these special motion-capture suits to record his signature moves for the new “NBA Live 2014,” which is set to be released just before Black Friday this year.
Other games have been released with similar formats. The Madden NFL games become more complicated and better produced every year. It’s the same with new baseball games. Even boxing games have joined in. You can now see a guy get punched in the face and can witness the full ripple that goes through his skin, including the blood splatter and teeth flying out. These games are fun and jaw-dropping.
I am all for technology and the special effects that now prevail in modern video game- and movie-making. But I sometimes miss the unrealistic, “beat the tar out of the other guy and not get called for it,” half-court lob that goes in because you are on fire gameplay.
I miss the game “NBA Street,” which put you on the court with the players of the NBA but had you play to 21. You could jump 10 feet in the air and could perform any trick dribble or slam dunk imaginable.
I miss “NFL Blitz,” where you could jump 20 feet forward to tackle the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. I miss being able to level a wide receiver without having pass interference called against me. I miss coming up to the plate with my bat on fire, knowing for certain that I would hit a home run and having unlimited turbo.
These games were fun not because they were realistic, but because they were so unrealistic. A lot has changed in just 15 years.
This being said, it is amazing the reality that can now be portrayed with 1s and 0s in computer code. Why not take full advantage of all the technology and tech savvy that surrounds us? We are given these realistic games so that we are able to play like the pros. We can control LeBron James and finally make it so he can get every shot from the field, like he already should.
But every once in a while, I want to do the unfathomable. I can watch sports on TV and see these plays performed by the real people. I can never see someone jump 10 feet in the air, or come up to bat with his bat already on fire. This is what makes video games fun to me — accomplishing something impossible and making it look like no big deal.