Boxing versus MMA…. games

I’ve always been a huge fan of boxing games. I was a fan from the get-go. I grew up in a house that was big into boxing- when boxing was big- and eventually found a taste for MMA before it was big at all. Needless to say, I devoured Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out when it released. In fact, I still remember the trip to the Toys-R-Us with my dad to go get it for my bday when it first released way back when. When Knockout Kings first released on the PS1, I was the only one in my area to have it reserved.

As years went by, boxing games evolved (into the masterpiece that is now Fight Night Round 3) while a few spatterings of UFC-flavored MMA games came out. What has always preplexed me is that no UFC game ever seemed to “get it” while nearly all boxing games met with some amount of success. Be they the Knockout Kings turned Fight Night series, Ready To Rumble, Victorious Boxers or even any of the one-round boxing titles (Evander Holyfield’s One Shot At a Boxing Game for the Master System!) they all met with some decent amount of success.

Granted, punching and ring-movement translates onto a controller easier than MMA’s multiple fighting styles. But if developers can make Metal Gear Solid’s control scheme work, why can’t they make a decent MMA fighter?

It seems like now, more than ever, the question should be asked. In a time during which MMA (UFC namely) dominates the gladiatorial sports moreso than boxing, shouldn’t someone be able to make a decent MMA fighting game? Hey, the WWE games have been enjoying success for years!!! Maybe the consoles in the past were too limited? I dunno! I don’t make games. Maybe the controllers weren’t complex enough? Doubt it. Maybe there wasn’t a market big enough to warrant spending mucho dinero in developing an MMA game? Most likley. But now that we’re in the new console generation and the MMA market is growing, doesn’t it seem like good time for some big time game company to plunk down the dough and make it happen?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still be happy playing any and all new boxing titles. Facebreakers, Fight Night Round 4, where are you???!??! But I wouldn’t mind seeing a good UFC game some time in the near future…


9 Responses to “Boxing versus MMA…. games”

  1. 1 mabooza
    June 21, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    007 373 5963. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering my phone number, but I’ll always remember that string of digits. It’s seared into my memory forever since I had to input it dozens of times before I finally put down Iron Mike.

    I hear ya on the MMA thing. I played a UFC game years ago for the PS1 that was really good; forget the name. I loved the mix of stand-up, grappling, and match-ending submissions. It was very tactical as opposed to the twitch, button-mashing gameplay offered by most wrestling and fighting games of the time. I’m hoping THQ/Yukes pulls off something similar with UFC 2009 Undisputed. Saw the first gameplay trailer on Game Trailers TV last night and it looks decent. Check it out:


  2. 2 Brett
    June 23, 2008 at 7:25 am

    I’m very interested to see how a company would handle the fighting engine in an MMA game these days, particularly when it comes to transitions in the action. I think any developer could put together a decent enough engine for stand up fighting or for submission fighting, but what about the other very prominent (and often overlooked) elements of a fight? There are so many nuances, from dozens of takedowns, takedown defense, passing the guard, transitioning while on top on the ground, regaining guard while on bottom, the various ways to play guard, and on and on.

    An MMA fight is much more nuanced than a boxing match or a wrestling performance. Actually, one could argue that a wrestling performance is nearly equally nuanced, but in a wrestling game you have the benefit of focusing more heavily on moves rather than transitions from one move to another. I’ve played a lot of wrestling games with a lot of people over the years, and every time the concern is about how easy it is to do a powerbomb, a suplex, or any number of high flying manuevers, not whether or not the move can be done as a reversal from, I don’t know, an abdominal stretch.

    In an MMA game, without those big, signature moves, I believe the focus will be squarely on how to move from one aspect of a fight to another. Balancing between fighters of disparate styles will be key as well, now that I think of it. Will an amazing Jiu Jitsu fighter be favored against a top caliber striker? Will a Greco-Roman wrestler have an inherit advantage over, say, a Judoka? Or, as is the case in real life MMA, will the onus be in the player to execute the proper manuever at the proper time in order to gain an advantage and, hopefully, the victory? One would hope, but to this point in MMA games, that has not necessarily been the case.

    However, if Yukes can deliver a balanced and reasonably realistic portrayal of an MMA fight, then then UFC 2009 Undisputed will likely be to the MMA gaming world what UFC is to the MMA world. If not, we’ll likely remember it with all of the fondness with which we remember UFC Tapout 2.

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