Sports Stories: Why are there few of them?

I think F1 can be interesting. It may be a starting point as well.

I think I’m gonna try and write something out of it. Better than nothing, at least. Thanks for the idea @Thfphen11 and @Formous.

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I think sports games suffer from some of the same problems as historical and political games; the number of people who (a) can write and (b) want to write such a game is relatively small. Thus, relatively few games get made.

Anyone with an imagination can write fantasy, but writing about a real-life sport requires, as obvious as it sounds, knowledge about that real-life sport. The rules, the culture, the strategies. That eliminates some (or for some sports, all) potential authors right out of the gate. (I suspect the knowledge requirement is why no one has so much as proposed writing a game about bog snorkeling or extreme ironing.)

Even if you have someone with enough knowledge to write a sports game, they then have to want to write one.

Pure Speculation on Why People Might Not Want to Write a Sports Game
  1. Sports are often really technical and hard to represent in a pure text game. ChoiceScript games lean into the story half of storygame, and every good story needs stakes the reader can understand. In sports, understanding the stakes often means having a lot of technical knowledge yourself. Ever watched a sport you know nothing about and wondered why everyone looked so anxious?

    I know absolutely nothing about golf, so every time I watch golf I’m completely perplexed. Why’s he staring at the ball? Isn’t he going to hit it? Oh now he’s looking at the ball from another angle… and another… and another… He’s gonna swing now — no — wait, he’s changing clubs… That other guy just nodded approvingly for some reason…

    So it pushes you into cutting out the technical bits, teaching the technical bits, or only writing for those who already know the technical bits. All of those approaches have their own downsides.

  2. There aren’t a lot of sports games. It’s a vicious cycle, but would-be authors look at the few published sports games and dormant sports WIPs and decide there isn’t enough interest to make a sports game.

  3. Gender-choice and romance are really important to a lot of people on this forum, and it’s often challenging to incorporate this into a sports story. Many sports are separated into men’s and women’s leagues, and those leagues can have very different cultures and strategies. This makes it challenging to write a sports story without genderlocking, lots of branching, or taking some artistic liberties. Furthermore, unless you’re planning on writing only gay romances, the fact the majority of the cast will be only men or only women limits your ability to have a variety of ROs that are equally important to the plot.

  4. They want to write a sports game, but they want to write a different game more. I’d wager most would-be authors have more than one game idea. And if one of your ideas requires more research, is harder to implement, and will likely attract a small(er) audience compared to your other idea, that other idea is starting to look pretty good.


That’s all hypothetical of course. Since we’re talking about ourselves, the “real” answer is to ask every single forumer the following questions:

Have you ever had an idea for a sports game?
Did you turn that idea into a game? If not, why?

And that’s why there’s not more sports games. :crazy_face:

Personally, I entertained the idea of writing a game where you compete in a Texas hold'em tournament. I decided to scrap it because it was too technical to be accessible. "Welcome to my game, now read and understand all THIS" was just a bad idea all around.
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Yeah I think @Lan and @Thfphen110 summed it all up pretty well.

I think solo sports that focus a lot on charisma, storyline, etc. (just like pro wrestling, which WAS on my short-list to write before the Heart’s Choice game was announced) are the most likely to succeed.

But yeah, I think the storyline and the characters and the conflicts are going to carry the day. With the right script, even a bowling game could be awesome because you could use some really crazy characters. Boxing could work. Even stuff like pool, because that story would probably be more about “the hustle” and owing people money and going to seedy bars.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, we got em.

In all seriousness though, I agree with all of your reasons. Even myself, being an avid soccer fan, still hasn’t wrote any stories about it due to other equally tempting, yet easier ideas.

Plus It doesn’t help that I’m a bit of a sloth too.

A soccer one, following the career of a young striker. Still working on it.

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Hi All,

I’m a newcomer to the forum and site although played a couple of known choice of games before. Well since 2017 or 2018 stumbled upon and used to play time to time.

Due to current conditions and while trying many different games on laptop and xbox wanted something else and again stumbled upon IF games.
Knowing the genre downloaded one from google play, after making 4-5 choices the game ended absurdly and said you have to wait 20 mins to play again or purchase.
It’s a very bad one also , after being familiar with it the concept for the last 2 weeks.

Well I’m pissed of . So decided to check my previously played & purchased games. After redownloading choice of a rebel : uprising (well it had neat update since my first play) and checking some other games I decided to create & write.

WIP on a sports - football themed game. I’ll post it when the Demo is complete under WIP label on the website.

Currently 10,5k + words with some mechanics built or defined in (without codes) if I didn’t lost time on acknowledging some code logic and trying to built in a slots machine. (Well have a working one ) I would probably breached 15k barrage.

Stats is more than 3k words with codes I think - due to necessity of high amount of variables.
(Stat window is going to be like a command console but a necessity)

Also I want it to have replay value so randoms are used abundantly.
Also set 3 or 4 random value outcome range/level so each level will provide different outcome. Some are providing spice to the game some are barely scratching.
So despite familiarity in storyline the outcomes of different actions will vary. I also spent a lot of time for that logic.
When checking the forum I happened to find my planning similar to bottleneck progress logic in writing & coding.

I do not want to spoil anything yet but can say it will be intereseting as I never stumbled upon such a kind.

Have 1,25 story and 1 action scene to complete so I’ll be able to proceed with demo.
Hopefully soon, 5th of April I just had samples of choice script txt files, now have a lot of files with codes etc altogether 14 15k words.

Game set in UK, working class team will let you know more in the WIP post ^^

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IF about sports, I think, tend to walk a very thin line - do you want to make it about the gameplay aspect and about stats, do you want to focus on the narrative and the story with the actual playing of the sport in the background, or do you want to attempt to strike a middle ground?

Personally, I don’t like stat-heavy games. I like games with lots of randomized results even less. So basically, a sports game about management or heavy on gameplay wouldn’t interest me. On the other hand, a sports game focusing on plot and behind-the-scenes would definitely catch my attention, even if I’m not big on the sport in question. (Slammed is a good example of this - have never seen a single wrestling match, fake or otherwise, but Slammed is still one of my all-time favourite CoGs because it focused on the characters and the plot.)

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@Lan I read your points, and I think they represent pretty well why there hasn’t many sports games. But I’ve thought about some counters:

1- Being too technical: I can agree, because in every sports you have to know to rules and understand what’s going on, so that can be challenging. But you don’t have to explain every rule the sports have, because apart from the main ones and some minors there are rules for very specific reasons, that don’t need to happen. For instance in basketball you need to know that you can’t take more than 3 steps while holding the ball, you can’t physically restrain someone (like holding), and the gist of the 5 positions. Others things can be implemented throughout the game, without being overwhelmed and boring. May be a little tricky, but I don’t think it’s impossible.

2- Few sports games: As is the title of the thread, the consensus is that sports game are minority, and being minority it can discourage authors, but there’s always another way to look at things. Although the usual “fantasy” theme is great and has many good games about it, for me at least after some time it can start to become boring. Nothing against it, but saturation is normal, and that’s where the “new thing” may kick in. Why can’t some very good sports game initiate a trend? I feel like there are people (maybe more than a minority part) who would want to play these type of games, otherwise the thread wouldn’t be created. There’s also people who aren’t familiarized with some sport( or any sport), and by playing them they could find it interesting and even become fans.

3- Romance: Regarding the gender locked case, there may not much you can do, but why don’t create a league where men and women(and lgbt people) compete at the same time? I understand it doesn’t cover all of the problem, but a league were everyone is allowed to be a part of would include more than what it does in real life.

That’s my 2 cents on the matter, and of course this doesn’t fix all the problems, but I believe there are things that can be done to make it happen. Hope y’all stay safe

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@blackrising that’s what I was thinking. In Slammed the focus is on the story, but it doesn’t feel like every choice leads to the same path, you can choose how will you act/ be ( good/bad), the strong bulky fighter, the quick light one. Keep insisting on racing I know, but it’s an example. You can be the strategic racer, who only takes calculated risks, you can be the “crazy” one, who forces his car to drive to it’s extent and take high percentage risks for the glory (Prost/Senna for those who are F1 fans), and these choices define how the story will go. Really liked your point.

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@blackrising & @Formous I think you are both right on the points you marked. While I’m planning I also thought to keep the story pace the actions should be organized well and keep you in track of the story.

Well the slots machine minigame kept me off the track while playing & testing the game ; I spent half day to have a running decent one. ^^ But I got your points and when you will be able to play I’ll like to receive your feedbacks on the balance.

Of to Notepadd++ have a nice day/night!

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After all the wip of sports games I’ve been playing on the forum.
I’ve also been working on a game about Sport but this one is different cause I gave the players some powers to make it more interesting… I just hope y’all guys enjoy it…

I’ll be releasing it August.

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Yeah… there’s definitely a shortage of sports stories.

I keep coming back here to see if there’s a basketball game in the works but they all seem to be abandoned. I don’t think I’ve read/seen a decent basketball story since… maybe 2K17?

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