Editor’s note: The following post was written by Nate Tuman of the University of Oregon. When not busy playing LSM for the Ducks, Nate can be found masterminding plans for a lacrosse video game.
My whole life I have loved video games – sports games in particular. Nothing is more frustrating to me than the lack of a lacrosse game on the market.
For years I thought that they didn’t have the technology to make it close enough to life-like. However, with the PS3 and current Xbox systems that we have all seen and played on I see no reason why they can’t design a great lacrosse game.
I have heard some people say that they feel like if there was a game to be made it would be on the Wii system, but I don’t think that this is so. Wii games are fun…Trust me, I have almost failed a midterm staying up all night playing Mario Cart but the Wii doesn’t have any really good sports games. Wii would be perfect if it were a one-on-one game, because you could cradle, and have actual real-life shooting motion, but there is no way that that system could support a full field game, especially with the current controls.
When it comes to the ultimate lacrosse video game, I believe the answer lies in two of my favorite games: Fifa Soccer and NCAA Football. In my opinion these are two of the best games on the market. Both are as close to real life as a game can get (sorry Madden). In Fifa you have the passing controls which control the strength that you send a pass, this allows for weaker passes to get picked off. Also, I like how Fifa has set up the full field views that allow you to move your whole team around.
For most of the controls I would translate the NCAA Football controls. Sprint would be the X button (Playstation controls), and you could have all of the open field cuts like in real life with the right analog stick. Passing would be O. And, just like in Fifa, you would have to hold down the button to generate power on your throw and you would use the right analog stick to direct your pass, if your pass is weak over the middle you get it picked-off just like in real life. For shooting you could press triangle with the same concepts as passing, where you have to hold it for power. You could even have the right analog stick being a direction for shooting where up is top shelf and down is bounce shot.
Defense would be a little different. You would need to break down and shuffle to do this you would press one of the trigger buttons, L1 or R2 for example. And body checks would be the exact same as football where you use truck stick. Now checking would be where creators would have to be careful. I suggest using fighting games as an example, where you could use square to poke check and circle could be a slap. For advanced checks you would use combinations like a push wrap would be you pressing truck stick followed quickly by a slap. The possibilities are endless. Off ball defense you could pick off passes in the air by pressing triangle for example. X would still be sprint regardless of who has the ball.
This game would have to be college-themed because there is a much larger market for college lacrosse than pro. There could be very similar options as NCAA football, where you arrive as a freshman and build a legacy at your favorite school. You could move up the depth chart by practicing and playing in fall ball scrimmages, or just pick a team and play games. The game could be very realistic all the way down to the bad officiating, in NCAA Football you can turn off penalties – I would not recommend this. Instead, let the player play you would be able to check as hard as you want and have late hits if you want.
I don’t think that it would be a good to have any MCLA teams in this game because it would not be marketable nationwide. I, myself, play for a club program and would like nothing more than to have my team and all of the MCLA in a video game. It’s just not a realistic goal at this time. In a few years I can see it happening at the rate the MCLA is growing, but for now it should just be NCAA. However, I strongly suggest that it should be all three divisions of NCAA not just limited to D1. There are large followings of D2 and D3 teams and it wouldn’t be smart to just put out a game that only had 59 teams especially when a lot of the D3 and a few D2 teams could compete with the lower-level D1 programs. It wouldn’t be fair to the almost 200 other NCAA programs to leave them out. And hopefully, one day, The MCLA will be included in this discussion.
Below are some controller function ideas for Playstation. Let me know what you think!
X – Sprint
O – Passing (hold for power)
Triangle – Shooting
Square – Stick protection (for example if you are dodging you would run at you defender and juke the press square to change the way you cradle your stick)
Left analog – Movement
Right analog – Juke / open field cuts
X – Sprint
O – Slap check
Triangle – Stick in the air attempt to pick off a pass
Square – Poke check
L1 – Break down/ hold to shuffle
Left analog – Movement
Right analog – Body checks/ hit stick
This game could be what all lacrosse fans have been waiting for if it has features life NCAA Football. You could play teams from different generations and play as Gait, or Jim Brown, even one of the Powell brothers – the possibilities are endless. Imagine being able to play as one of the Princeton teams of the 90’s or the turn of the century Syracuse teams. Not only would this game provide endless hours of entertainment, but it could be the greatest tool of all to help our sport grow. No one plays more video games than young kids (except college students of course…) and this would be the easiest way possible to market the game to the next generation of lacrosse players.