With the advent of online gaming going from little known tech geek nirvana to full fledged industry juggernaut over the past 20 or so years, it’s created it’s own digital wild west. Just about all online games are anything goes type affairs, including blatant racism, sexism, homophobia or any other act that anonymous users can muster up in some lame attempt at being an internet tough guy.
It’s not really limited to specific genres either, hell, even playing Hot Shots Golf you will find people that are just assholes for the sake of being assholes. And beyond player to player interaction, you also get the fun of people who will do anything to cheat the system, work out systems with friends to climb the ranks, or people who just have total disregard for the rules of the game and their purpose is to basically just break the game play.
The place this happens the most, I think because of it’s very nature, is in sports games. Take any random football for instance… the vast majority of the people you play have no regard for how the game of football is played. They will abuse glitches, they will run offenses that work in the game but would never work in real life (Like dropping back 30 yards with your QB buying you enough time for the AI to completely break down and finding yourself open receivers).
This type of play seems to be common place in Madden 08, and in fact it seems like EA supports it as all their Madden Tourneys are just cheese fests. A bunch of hardcore gamers who are looking to beat each other in a video game, not a game of football.
I don’t really have a problem with this. I mean, personally, I like to play a fair, sim based game of football. But with this being the wild west you take the good with the bad. The bad being that if you play random idiots you will play something barely resembling the game. The good being that there are other folks out there that share the same passion for a solid game of sim football.
One such place is Xbox Live Sports Leagues. These guys have gone above and beyond to create a community where playing the game as it was designed to be played is the order of the day, and they are even adding to the games by giving users in their community the chance to add further to the game by hosting leagues and tools that the games themselves have given us yet.
So while it sucks that most every game you get into is going to be filled with jerks, there are some great underground communities that help you filter all of that out. I plan on featuring more of these in the future. But check out XLSL and get yourself ready for Madden 09.