Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 01, 2021

Midway Games has been making a lot of noise over two of its recent sports game releases: Blitz: The League and NBA Ballers.

Both titles are something of a fusion of sports games with a Sims-like sensibility. The gameplay that happens on the field and the court is almost incidental; the portions that deal with characters’ extracurricular activities (barhopping, flashing that blingy-bling, etc.) are the meatier portions of both games. It’s basically a reality TV approach to videogaming, with infotainment reportage serving as the inspirational underpinnings.

Here’s what I find curious: While Blitz is the product of a loss of official NFL licensing for any football games not produced by Electronic Arts, Ballers is being produced as branded NBA merchandise. Throw in the fact that the creative force behind Blitz is Peter Egan, former writer for “Playmakers”the NFL’s series non grata — and it appears that the football boys are more concerned about keeping their images clean(er) than the NBA is about its rep.

It’s not completely cut and dried. The morphing of Blitz into a faux XFL experience came after the NFL cut off Midway and other game studios. The NFL wasn’t presented with the option of putting its seal of approval on an ultraviolent, negative-stereotype game; Midway went the extreme route because they needed that to replace the lost NFL/NFLPA cache. On the other hand, the NBA and its players’ union didn’t appear to have any qualms about officially sanctioning a game with fairly similar themes.

Basketball has always been seen as being more attuned to youth culture than the other major pro sports. Maybe this is another manifestation of that.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/01/2021 04:07:21 PM
Category: Football, Basketball, Videogames | Permalink |

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