For those of you who don't know, doing some blogging here at Unintelligent Defense isn't the only thing I do. Part of my little hobby is my little MMA Mondays diddy on Youtube, and the rest of any online efforts are devoted to video games. Yes, I'm an editor for a video games website, and I'm a complete nerd. As if the glasses didn't tip you off. Anywho, being both an MMA fanatic and video game critic, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I reviewed both UFC Undisputed 2010 and EA Sports MMA for the site I work for, and both games were as expected. Though I think one is better than the other (and you'll have to read the articles to find out why) both games are solid representations of the fact that MMA is a sport, and not some sort of underground movement you'd see in a Jean Claude Van Damme film. Well, it seems like Supremacy MMA doesn't want to share that portrayal.
Now, I wrote the preview for the game on Blistered Thumbs, and I've read all the press releases that they've sent out to us game writers. Truthfully, I don't agree with what they're advertising. One thing that frustrates me is the producer, 505 Games, is claiming that this type of game is a reflection of the amateur scene. Not true at all. As someone who covers amateur MMA, I can attest that the amateur scene isn't nearly as organized as the professional (which is to be expected) but it's improving rapidly. However, many fans of MMA have been claiming that this game will be bad for the sport that we love so much. Though football and other sports have had “extreme” games in the past, they're not looking to get legalized anywhere, right? That fact is very true, but let's have an objective look as to whether or not this one game is going to harm the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
First and foremost, it's obvious to anyone who reads further into the game that the game is only looking for brutal realism in the damage department. Most of these scenes in the game look like they were set pieces for an unmade Jet Li movie. The character designs are borderline cartoon, with the penciled on tattoos, or the hilarious hairstyles. Whether people realize it or not, an MMA video game will always be a fighting game thrown in a blender with a sports game. With that said, it seems that the developers would much rather take out the sports aspect altogether, and just make a strict fighting game with the concept of MMA as a base. Aside from Jens Pulver and Jerome Lebanner, there are no real fighters. Truthfully, this game looks about as “real” as Def Jam: Fight for NY.
Second, does the game really say anything about the sport? In a word, no. Anyone who says otherwise is simply overreacting. Are there detractors out there that, when they hear MMA, they get this sort of mental picture? Yes, and I've encountered them before. However, the reason for this isn't really that threatening toward the legitimacy of the sport. The reasoning for this is, with any sort of new sport or idea, that there will be cultural resistance from people who simply fear new things. Any person who is half intelligent can see the arguments of the detractors and pick them apart with relative ease. For those who take the time to walk outside of their niche and get the general idea of the public, America is not opposed to MMA. America is simply trying to gather all the information. In this case, does the game help? No. Does it do any damage? Not really.
Truthfully, what I feel is going to be most damaging to the sport is the idea that the fighters are these kinds of street fighting punks people think they are. At the end of the day, Supremacy MMA is a fictional game that will always be capable of being written off as pure fiction. Video Games are simply entertainment, and most sensible folk realize that. It's hard to argue when the biggest debut in entertainment history now belongs to Call of Duty: Black Ops. What I would argue is that some fighters do more damage to the sport than anything. Look at someone like a Nick Diaz or Chael Sonnen and try to tell me that billing either as one of the bigger personalities reflects well on martial arts. I'd think that Chael's cheating or Nick's “thug” mentality will do more damage in the long run than a video game ever could. When arguments are presented in states looking to legalize, the fact of the matter is they'll look at the fighters quicker than they will any sort of attached entertainment.
To conclude, I think that it's obvious that the game really does nothing for the sport in any way, shape or form. There's nothing positive that the sport will gain from it, because it's a brutal fighting game. There's nothing negative that the sport is going to gain from it, because it's pure fantasy. Fact of the matter is that I completely agree with what the developers told Kaleb over at Cageside Seats. The legitimacy of the sport is not based on a video game, and anyone who bases their judgment of the sport on a clearly fictional game like this is a fool. So, MMA fans, let's not jump to conclusions as our first reactions, okay?
Boy, am I going to love calling my stepmom a twit at Christmas for thinking this game is a realistic interpretation!
Next week: Was Homie Scared? A look back at Mayhem vs Diaz