Rant: EA Sports

A lot of gamers often criticize their more casual, sports-oriented fellows for continually buying the regurgitated sports games every year. I've stated it before, but the mind of the pure geek doesn't understand the worth of the updated rosters, seeing them only as arbitrary math values, and only sees the lack of worthwhile other features.

I am not one of them, as I can understand the value. However, I despise these games for a completely different reason. Specifically, I think EA Sports is exploiting these gamers.

No, it isn't charging $60 for an updated roster that bothers me, it's the completely unprofessional quality level these games exhibit. Maybe it's because there isn't anything better out there, but the gamers who buy these games year by year are buying crap.

For example, the box covers. Look up an EA sports title and tell me you don't immediately notice that the production value is less than that of some fake video game someone made for giggles on the internet. The Logo is professional enough, if placed somewhat low, but the rest is absolute blah. Too cheap to actual hire their own photographers, they take stock photos of popular athletes and paste them awkwardly onto the packaging. It only gets worse from here.

The in-game main menus are frighteningly reminiscent of menus I saw on early 3D shareware games in the 90s. Random and poorly chosen pictures dominate the screen, changing with the menu option while not providing a shred of useful information. The menu options themselves are strangely ordered, small, unemphasized and poorly laid out. It makes one wonder if these people were asleep during the part of their classes teaching the absolute basics of GUI design. Has no one heard of visual noise?

The games themselves lack any sense of polish or finish. I know that they aren't arcade games, they are simulations. They are, by definition, attempting to bring as accurate a sports experience as possible home. EA Sports games do not accomplish this. The controls are clumsy, which certainly doesn't help, but there's more than that. Maybe this is "Hollywood Fencing" syndrome where they slow everything down for the benefit of the audience, but any football team that takes 3-4 seconds after the hike to actually collide with the other defenders is in serious trouble.

There are exceptions, I've seen a number of decent games from EA sports. But I am continually astounded by the horrible games that manage to not only be released, but sell well.

Gaming sports fans, do yourselvesa favor and ask for more. You deserve it, you're paying for it, and you're not getting it.

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