Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

What Is The Best Video Game Sport?

Art by Sam Woolley
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Before we get into the Funbag, there’s gonna be a bonus D.C. book reading tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the lovely Dodge City bar. I will NOT be sober. So come listen to me slur my way through another chapter from The Hike and then we can all go get loaded on the patio. Also, Penguin is still looking for fan art submissions from the book. Send yours in and you will get the customary, shameless retweet from me. My retweets are now the most popular form of underground prison currency.

Got all that? All right, let’s dig into your letters.


Can we get a definitive ranking of what sports translate the best to video games? Everyone I know loves FIFA, and maybe half of them actually give a shit about real professional soccer. On the other hand, baseball games are overly frustrating, since I don’t think any game has ever gotten baserunning right.


Okay, this is gonna start a lot of fights, but here is how I’d rank them:

1. Racing/Karting. If you had told me at age 20 that I could remain in my chair 24/7 playing Diddy Kong Racing, and be periodically fed and have my diaper changed until death, I probably would have taken the bargain. Also, I will gladly feed a dollar bill into any arcade racing game even though a) I am now old enough to drive actual vehicles and b) You can plunk down money for a console and race endlessly instead of handing your money over to BIG ARCADE. No matter. Racing games are the best. You know those motorcycle ones at the arcade where you can lean and shit? And people who haven’t paid (me) like to hop on the thing and tilt with the credits anyway for a cheap thrill until they chased off by someone who is willing to actually play? Those are great.

2. Boxing/Fighting. I dunno if you can count Mortal Kombat as a sports game, but Punch-Out alone puts fighting games way up near the top. I tend to rank sports games by simplicity, by the way. If I can just mash some buttons and see blood spurting out of the other guy, I’m happy with the gaming experience. Remember Karate Champ? BEGIN!

That was some good fightin’. The karate master always looked so pissed.

3. Golf. I’m biased toward golf games because I’m better at golf games than I am at other sports games. I can time that little power meter thing to hit right on the notch. It makes me feel very special. This skill makes me the 1,908,870,765th ranked video golf player in the world, and I cherish that imagined status. ALSO: I have to think that owning a freestanding Golden Tee arcade game would be one of the biggest perks of being a rich person. I would never leave my house. If I were president, everyone would get a Golden Tee machine. There would be no wars in the street.


4. Hockey. Okay. Now we’re into the team sport games, and I have hockey as the best one because I am an old person who will corner you and yell about NHL ’94 being the greatest video game ever. This is mostly because I could just drag Alex Mogilny across the net and score and then pretend that only I knew that move. Also, Blades of Steel had a FIGHT button in the arcade version.

5. Football. Football games are now way too complicated and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna buy Madden ’16 and get crushed by some 14-year-old shitbag who lives 600 miles away. Not a chance. My theory holds that sports games are less fun the MORE they are like real life sports. I want Tecmo Bowl and shitty old Madden games with glitches that make certain plays unstoppable. I don’t want real football. Watching my favorite NFL team try to play it is hard enough.


6. Soccer. “A FAIR CHALLENGE!”

7. Hunting/Shooting. I played Big Buck Hunter at the arcade a month ago. I lost within four seconds. That is horseshit. I want my money back. Shooting and killing things is supposed to be FUN, man.


8. Pro Wrestling. I had a Sega Master System instead of a Nintendo when I was a kid and I never let my parents forget it, because I was a spoiled little shit. Anyway, their pro wrestling game had no licensing rights, so all the wrestlers were made up. I didn’t care. I played it endlessly. Every time you nailed a move, it would show up in text on the screen (“LARIAT!”). Advancing to the finals in a new city felt like a genuine accomplishment. OOOH THESE ARE NIGHT MATCHES!

9. Skiing. Same as racing games, just going down. Pretty cool.

10. Baseball. This should probably be higher because of RBI Baseball and the old Ken Griffey N64 baseball game that allowed you to trade any player for any player, regardless of salary or ability. Really jacks up your confidence to take the field with a team of Ken Griffey Jr., A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Roger Clemens, and every other roided-up superstar from 1998.


11. Basketball. Like football, basketball games are only fun when they’re completely divorced from reality. I’ll play Arch Rivals and NBA Jam all day long, but a straight basketball game? FUCK NO. I want the ball to literally catch on fire, and I don’t want defense of any kind unless said is defense is someone legally allowed to punch you in the face.

12. Bowling. I was stuck at a boring work thing once and my boss had an old PalmPilot with a stylus for typing messages. And he had this bowling game on it where you used the stylus to roll the ball. It was glorious. I asked to play it every 10 minutes because I was so bored. He must have thought I was eight years old.


13. Tennis. Ever whiff on a serve in video tennis? God, it’s awful. Wii Tennis can eat shit.

14. Fishing. They make fishing games. Seems pointless.

15. Canadian Football. And CFL games too! Imagine inviting your bros into your sweet frat house room and firing up a CFL game. I’d pay to see the look on their faces. I CALL EDMONTON, GUYS.


16. Cricket. Yeah no, fuck that.


In all seriousness, what do you think the overall outcome and consequences would actually be if ESPN made Stephen A. Smith the color commentator for Monday Night Football for a full season? Two-man booth with McDonough. Could the hate-watching cause ratings to tick up? Would it inspire any actual acts of violence, like people getting into an argument about him and ending up fighting? Would he actually end up being still really bad but actually not totally as bad as you might anticipate? Would he be fired after a year? Would he endure so much hatred (lots of it predictably racial) that he actually became a sympathetic figure?


Oh, there would be riots in the streets. Fans would literally climb into the booth to cut his mic. It’s bad enough when I have to hear Gruden droning on over the game action. Analysts have to wedge their token insight into a four-second window in between plays. It’s a difficult job exacerbated by the fact that most analysts are self-absorbed idiots. That’s why non-traditional analysts like Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser had a difficult transition to the booth: because neither man could fully grasp how unimportant he was to the overall telecast. These are not guys who are used to having their opinions limited. SAS would have the same problem. ESPN would have an easier time raising the Titanic than they would containing his rhetoric to that short of a time frame.

SEAN McD: Roethlisberger back to throw, sees Brown in the flat … INCOMPLETE, it’ll be third down.


SAS: Hmmph. Huh. See now this is where I have a PROBLEM. This is where you miss a MARTAVIS BRYANT, or a Le’VEON BELL, or what have you. And this is because WE ARE NOT TAKING CARE OF OUR OWN as a community. We are smoking weed instead of taking the lead! Frankly, I blame women for this.

SEAN McD: I just want to interrupt to say …

SAS: No no no no no LET ME FINISH. Because this is an ISSUE. Behind every MAN, there is a WOMAN, scheming … angling … ready to tempt you with her VELVET PUSSY.


SEAN McD: Touchdown on the play!

That’s what it would be like. Stephen A. is a shameless hack whose rare moments of charm are easily cancelled out by the rest of his existence as a loud, uninformed asshole. He’d be fired within a season. And then ESPN would inexplicably hire him back and give him even more money to be a dick.



Say some menacing aliens come to earth (say, Kang and Kodos) and mandated that this fall there would only be two candidates for President: You and Donald Trump. Do you think you’d be able to win that race? Let’s assume the aliens have also said that you are not allowed to resign once elected president.


Yes. I could do it. You and I could beat Donald Trump. The only reason Trump is keeping it close with Hillary is because Hillary has a long and sordid political history that can be used against her. But you and I? We’re clean, baby. I mean, so long as no one finds out about that one thing I did way back when … the thing we don’t speak of. Oh God, and what if they search the Deadspin archives? There are old headlines of mine that could get me burned alive now. SHIT.

But if I have party apparatus behind me, I still say I could beat Trump. All you need to beat Trump is a passing knowledge of world affairs, competent English, and basic human decency. He can’t even ding me for being part of the “rigged system.” I would paint HIM as the insider. I would gather large crowds and accuse Trump of being part of a government/business conspiracy to hold down the common man. I would work my crowd into a homicidal froth, egging them on and bringing out a kind of demented fervor within them that they didn’t even know they had. Then I would win the throne … I mean presidency … and the blood purges would begin. Finally, I could bring PEACE to our troubled nation. BELIEVE ME. What are you people gonna do, vote for HIM? I doubt it. You have no choice but to vote for me. Your lives are SHIT. What do you have to lose, hmm?!



Let’s say Roger Goodell calls you up and says, “Hey Drew, we are having a crisis. We need to contract the league - 8 teams must go and we want you to decide what 8 teams die. Of course we won’t tell anyone that you picked the 8 teams (fingers crossed behind his back), so there’s no consequence to you.” What 8 teams die? What’s your strategy?


Am I cutting teams just out of spite? Because obviously I’d start with the Redskins if that were the case. But if we’re talking about a legitimate “do what’s best for the game” mandate, I would probably be more objective, and then kick myself for being objective. What you’re looking for are the NFL’s least essential teams and cities: Texans, Jaguars, Bucs, Falcons, Titans. Those are the obvious first five cuts. If you’re in the Sun Belt, I am your team’s worst nightmare.

After that, I’d get rid of the Skins (for real, I’ve had enough), and then the Ravens. Without the Ravens around, I can undo history and send the Colts back to Baltimore and send the New Browns all of the now-unemployed Ravens players.


Then I’d get rid of the Cowboys, because fuck the Cowboys.



My dad doesn’t like peanut butter. He won’t eat anything with peanut butter. He is the only person I’ve ever heard that doesn’t like it. What foods do you think are disliked the least?


Strictly on taste, right? Rice. It has to be rice. Rice is the most popular, important food on Earth. And a lot of it is gluten-free, so even the gluten-free mafia can’t bitch about it. When’s the last time you heard a grown adult say they don’t like rice (children don’t count because children are insane)? “Oh no, I can’t stand it. Too many small pieces.”

I think any bland starch like rice, crackers, potatoes, bread, or pasta tops the list. You may hate what’s ON the bread (mayo), but I’ve never met a grownup who just straight-up dislikes bread itself. If I did, I would call the police.


Now I’m dying to know what the least-liked food in America is (within reason… not fish eyes or anything like that). It’s gotta be Vegemite. Just tell someone here about Vegemite and they become physically ill. I tasted it when I was a kid and I STILL remember how awful it was. Australians have a lot to answer for.


Why do athletes in salary cap leagues sign contracts for straight dollar numbers instead of contracts for a percentage of the salary cap? Seems like the latter would be a good way to minimize the weird contracts that tend to happen right before there’s going to be a change in the cap, and would incentive players to drive league/team revenue to increase their own salary.


I get the logic behind your idea, but that would never happen because agents crave straight dollar figures. They wanna go back to their client and be like, “I just got you $80 million!” That’s a nice amount of money. A CERTAIN amount of money. As a client, I could picture myself doing DISGUSTING things with all that money.

If it’s just a percentage of the cap, then my pay is uncertain from year-to-year, and I can’t brag about the cumulative dollar figure of my contract because I don’t have it yet. And my shithead agent can’t go bragging to Schefter about scoring me $120 million even if that figure isn’t guaranteed (Schefter will regurgitate the figure anyway to stay tight with the agent). And what if Jerry Richardson decides that he wants to shut down the entire NFL for three years to cut the salary cap by 75%? Because he would do that. He sucks.


Also, the cap is hard enough to manage with straight dollars. If I were a GM and I had to re-negotiate percentages every year down to the thousandth decimal to fit every player on the roster, I’d shoot myself. I want all salary caps banished from sports just so that I don’t have to care about them anymore, or pretend that I know anything about basic math. There’s nothing worse than some dipshit fan who fancies himself a capologist.


So when cars drive themselves, a driver’s license will be obsolete right? Could you stick a 7-year-old in a car and send the car to school or will an adult have to go along?


There’d have to be a minimum age for riding alone because if the network crashes and zombies take over, someone with proper training has to take over the car manually. Also, if you’re on a really long drive, there has to be an adult around to program potty breaks, change the DVD in the headrest, and yell at the kids for fighting in the backseat. YOU KNOW WHAT?! WE’RE NOT STOPPING ANYWHERE FOR LUNCH BECAUSE YOU ASSHOLES CAN’T AGREE ON A PLACE. HAPPY?!

My guess is that you’d still have to get a driver’s license because your average DMV will take 68 years to adjust to the phenomenon of self-driving cars. All antiquated bureaucracies would remain in place even though the whole idea of self-driving cars is to get rid of car ownership and make every car on the road into a taxi. In theory, you could make it legal for anyone age 10 and over to ride alone in a self-driving cab of distances up to 50 miles. Farther than that, and an adult has travel with the child. But again, this will be a reality in China three centuries before you get a whiff of it here.


By the way, a friend of mine flew to New Zealand recently, and airlines have differing policies on what age a child can travel alone on an airplane. The airline they flew will let a child as young as FIVE fly alone. Five. To New Zealand. Holy shit. Imagine being the flight attendant who has to deal with a five-year-old alone on a plane. I’d demand triple my salary or walk.


A buddy of mine was recently asked who would play him in a movie, and he said Mark Wahlberg, even though he looks like the exact freakin’ opposite of Mark Wahlberg. He said it’s because Mark’s his favorite actor. Shouldn’t we be more reasonable in these types of hypotheticals and go with someone who looks more like us? Like, say, DJ Qualls, in my friend’s case.


No way. If someone is playing me in a movie, I want it to be the handsomest, grittiest actor possible. I don’t give a shit if I look nothing like McConaughey, I’m not quibbling if that’s who they cast. When it comes to looks, I want them to take as much dramatic license as possible, and you should, too. Russell Crowe played John Nash in a movie. The real John Nash looks like George Plimpton and Bud Selig had a baby together. Doesn’t matter. I bet he was elated to have skinny Crowe playing him.


I was up in NYC for the weekend and I spent a few hours in the Metropolitan Museum of Art - I headed straight for the “European Paintings” section: Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Degas, etc. I ignored a whole lot of collections and - I’m sure - significant examples of art in order to get to the ones I cared about. My question is: What percentage of art in a museum do you think people pass straight by without ever stopping down to read the description, take pictures, call their kids over to look at, etc? I think it’s got to be high - maybe 75%. It may even be higher for the Met, since there are some really big-name pieces there, and they have SO MUCH stuff in that museum. I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of the stuff in that museum has never left a lasting impression on anyone that’s ever walked by it. And do you think the museum knows that going in? Is there a chance that the curator built up their “Fifteenth Century Finnish Inkwells” collection knowing that it was just going to fill some space in that great big building, and that no one would ever pay attention to them?


Yeah it’s probably 80% or higher because your average tourist just wants to go straight for the money paintings before overpaying for a bad sandwich at the café. I know I blow by the token anthropological exhibits that exist only to help thin the crowds around the big pieces. My tolerance for ancient caveman arrowheads only goes so far. “This crude rock was once a valuable mining tool!” Yeah sure. Whatever you say, museum caption writer.

However, it can depend on the museum because museums like the Met and the Louvre are fucking enormous. There are smaller, more tightly more tightly curated museums where you just walk straight through ONE gallery, and those museums are great. I’d rather do that than to navigate a five-story labyrinth with 700 galleries interspersed throughout. There’s nothing worse than having Map Panic at a museum. OMG where should we go first? “Modern Masters!” Oh shit that sounds important. Ooooh, and there’s a whole wing devoted to swords!


By the way, I’m getting really tired of museums that try to obscure the location of their best works. Just tell me where the dinosaur bones are. Don’t put them in some gallery labeled TREASURES OF THE MESOZOIC and expect me to know what the hell that means. I do not know the Earth’s epochs as well as you nerds do.


Is it worth it to write in “Harambe” for President in the upcoming election just for the story? It’s just as much a throw away vote as voting for a 3rd part candidate if you’re disgusted with the two main options but at least you get to tell a fun story when someone asks you in 30 years who you voted for in the ridiculous 2016 election.


No, don’t do it. Weird Twitter has already decided that Harmabe jokes are played out, and you don’t want @dril or someone like that goofing on you for being three seconds behind the Internet zeitgeist. That’s a fate worse than death.

More to the point, if you’re gonna vote, vote. If you hate both options, just vote for a legit third candidate you like. It’s a boring and fruitless exercise, but at least you acquitted yourself with dignity. Ask anyone who literally voted for Pedro if they’re still proud of it.



So, my best friend proposed to his girlfriend on Sunday at a party for his 30th birthday. I’m the only one of our friend group who has yet to tie the knot with my girlfriend. We’ve been dating almost two years, and I know she’s the one. I definitely want to marry her. How long do you think I have to wait until I can propose to her, without stealing my best friend’s thunder? I don’t want to be a Proposal Vulture.


You don’t have to wait. Do it whenever it’s right for you. There’s more than enough room for TWO couples in the world to be happy at once. If it’s close to your best friend’s proposal day, you can call yourselves Proposal Brothers and skip around town being obnoxious about it. Or if you feel like giving him some breathing room, wait a couple weeks and then you all have a renewed excuse to go get shitfaced in celebration.

When it comes to engagements and weddings and all that, there’s no guarantee you’ll make everyone around you happy at all times (particularly at the wedding, where something is bound to go wrong and the DJ is bound to get electrocuted after spilling champagne on his console). But the nice thing is that you and your fiancé don’t have to give a shit. It’s all about you, baby. Savor the moment of sheer, unbridled self-absorption.


Email of the week!


I’m taking your run-of-the-mill poop, when I hear the person in the stall next to me softly mumbling “come on... come on... come on...”. I glance down and see that his shoe is pointed towards the toilet, and wonder if he has some prostate problems or something and is having trouble peeing. All of a sudden, he starts mumbling something else. At first I think I misheard him, but after a few more mumbles I’m sure I hear what I thought. “Touch her pussy... touch her pussy..... touch her pussy....”.

Now I’m horrified, both by the act that this guy is clearly doing as well as the audacity with which he’s performing it. I clear my throat loudly a couple of times, but he won’t be deterred. Finally, can’t take anymore so I hurry up and flush. As I’m washing my hands I hear a noise from his stall that sounds like equal parts grunt and squeal (I still can’t erase it from my mind). A young man with headphones comes barging out holding an iPhone, and beelines out thru the bathroom door. He doesn’t wash his hands. Do I look for a new job?



Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.

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