What distinguishes a game from a sport?

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Every week, the staff of EFG will describe a gaming word that is either ambiguous or poorly described. If there are any words that you are unsure about, please leave a comment and we will try to include them in future editions!

But, without further ado, we’re going to define sports games this week. Given the number of games in the genre that have come out in the last few weeks, this is a timely subject. There are also a few types of sports games that people may not be aware of. Take a look at the images below!

Sporting Events

Sports games are among the most well-known titles on the market today. They’re games that try to replicate the experience of playing a “traditional” or “real-world” sport like football, basketball, American football, tennis, and so on. While they aren’t readily available in stores, the digital era has given new life to the sports game genre. On app stores and digital storefronts, there are titles for fishing, lacrosse, and even cricket.

There are two types of sports games: simulations and arcade sports games. Both of these subgenres are aimed at simulating the “real world” sporting experience. The difference, on the other hand, is in the execution.

The aim of simulations is to create realistic recreations of sports. The designers set out to ensure that all aspects of the game, from the art to the physics, accurately reflected the act of playing (or watching) the sport. They do this to appeal to fans of various sports. The aim is to get these fans to become loyal fans who will help with sales. Some of the communities that have grown up around games like Madden and FIFA are massive! The Madden series, FIFA series, and NBA 2k series are some of the most famous sports simulation games.

Arcade sports games are more concerned with having a good time than with being accurate. Exaggerated physics, bizarre art styles, and often even power-ups can all be found in these games. Hardcore gamers may dismiss these games as being “too casual,” but such remarks miss the point entirely. These games are often aimed at large audiences who are unlikely to notice (or care) if any design liberties have been taken. NBA Jam and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games are two famous arcade sports games.

Arcade sports

Although games may be cultural universals and fascinating modes of human interaction, why are they of any real significance in human life, given that they are often regarded as non-productive and purely for entertainment? Although professional game players and people who make a living playing professional sports exist, they make up a very small percentage of any population. However, Roberts and his colleagues (e.g., Roberts, Arth, and Bush 1959; Roberts and Sutton-Smith 1962) regarded games as “expressive models” of usually larger scale, culturally and socially significant real-world activities where learning could be applied. As a result, physical skill games are often straightforward models of activities like hunting (e.g., target practise with weapons or bows and arrows, trap, skeet, or popinjay shooting) and individual or group combat (e.g., wrestling, boxing, spear or javelin throwing, rugby, American football). For example, the Afghan game buzkashi offers excellent horse-mounted warfare training. Many strategy games, such as chess or wei qi (also known as Go), simply model warfare since they require the capturing of both opponents’ pieces and territories. Monopoly, a board game that combines strategy and chance, is based on real estate transactions and was popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Finally, Roberts, Arth, and Bush (1959) believed that games of chance modelled human contact with uncontrollable natural powers, divination, or the quest for divine guidance in coping with life’s challenges.


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