When it comes to videogames I tended to like mostly all genres as long as the games were fun to play.

But one exception to that rule was sports games, regardless of who the developers were, what features they had or how ‘fun’ they were to play, I just kept as far away from them as I possibly could.

See, I was one of those weird people that couldn’t stand playing sports games. I found sporting events boring, dull and downright confusing at times (especially the offside rule). I think this is due to growing up in Scotland where football is almost religious and you have to support one of the major teams (Rangers or Celtic) whether you were into the sport or not.

I think being forced into this idea of “No, you really have to like the thing because we told you to” whilst growing up really put me off anything remotely sports based. Which in turn started to affect my main passion, videogames.

It got so bad that there were points whenever I saw footage of the latest Fifa or Madden game showcased, my brain automatically switched off and I became disinterested. Sports games were something I vehemently hated, almost irrationally at times.

But that all began to change when I saw Tipping Goats game, Super Slam Dunk Touchdown, at PAX South. In fact, I was legitimately surprised at how interested I suddenly became in it.

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Here I was, this guy who hated anything to do with sports, suddenly playing a game featuring almost every sporting style ever and I was somehow enjoying myself – and I was actually pretty good at it too.

It made such an impression on me that it became one of the highlights of the show and I wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks.So when the developers reached out to me with the opportunity to play it at home, you can bet I leapt at the chance to go back to this sports game that piqued my interest so much.

And that’s how I came to find myself sitting at my desk, cold drink in one hand and an old wired Xbox360 controller as I booted up the game. And as soon as the title screen hit, all that initial interest in the game I experienced at PAX came instantly flooding right back to me.

It didn’t take long for me to get a match setup and soon I was completely lost in the fun of it all for quite some time.

But what is it that made this game appeal to me so much?

Well, you see the unique selling point of Super Slam Dunk Touchdown is that instead of playing as just one type of sportsman, you use all of them.There’s basketballers, baseball sluggers, footballers, American Quarterbacks, Roller Derby girls and Hockey players. And each one of these has their own different play style.

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For example, the Quarterback is mainly for defence as they can tackle other players or you can use them on offense to protect one of the lighter and quicker teammates like the Roller Derby girl. Or you can use the Basketball player and try for half-court shots or take up a more supportive role by focusing on quick passes to teammates that might be in a better position than you are.

The opposing team also has access to this wide selection of players so it creates this great sense of strategy as you try to counter pick your opponents. Like if they chose mostly light and quick characters, you could focus on more heavy, harder hitting ones to block them in more or to create a solid defence.

Matches in Super Slam Dunk Touchdown are three versus three and you can play either by yourself, or with CPU bots. The bots themselves can also be lowered and raised in difficulty, although I did encounter a small issue with friendly bots where they wouldn’t pass and would charge headlong into the opposition.

For added variety there’s also additional modes to the game like the mini-game mode where you can take part in games like being the first player to a set points target.

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There’s also Challenge mode which lets you play on a number of different courts with specific player setups like Baseball sluggers only or only Quarterbacks, which is great as it lets you become more familiar with each type of character on their own.

You have a number of different court types to play on and there’s even hazards on them to avoid like banana peels and a patrolling Zamboni. Plus, load times in Super Slam Dunk Touchdown are incredibly fast so it doesn’t take long to get a rematch up and running should you want to settle any old scores.

One final feature worth mentioning about this game that I found super fun was the ability to run up to the net and slam dunk the ball.It became incredibly satisfying to blast past the opposition, get near the net and launch into the air to slam the ball. Like it was adding a little extra weight as I slammed the ball home and scored myself some much needed points.

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A neat little feature of this game is that when you, score your team throws up their hands in victory and it can be quite funny to wiggle your character around to taunt the opposing team, especially if you’re playing against another real person.

I had fun on my own with Super Slam Dunk Touchdown for quite a while when I scaled up the difficulty of the bots, but the real fun began when I roped in another person to play against. In this case it was my younger brother and almost immediately as we began to play I started to have flashbacks to all the co-op and competitive multiplayer games we used to play together as kids.

The old sibling rivalry started to flare up and it didn’t take long until we were yelling at the screen. Either cheering when one of us scored or a fair amount of swearing when one of us took the ball from the other and began that long run to the others goal line.

And it was during this short little session with my younger brother in this game that it suddenly hit me, I do actually like sports games.

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Over the years I had just become bitter about playing anything remotely sports-based because it reminded me of how miserable my experience with sports was when I was growing up as a kid. Back then, as I was forced to play football in school, watch it when I went to a relative’s house or sit around and struggle to talk about it with other people who knew more about it than I did.

It was an experience that soured me on ever doing anything that featured sports at all in any shape or form. But from just a short bit of time spent with this game, suddenly I started to become more and more interested in the genre I had complained about for all these years.

It was a small epiphany that really struck a chord with me as I sat there at my desk, perhaps I had been wrong all this time. Perhaps these games that I railed against so hard and complained about so much where actually the one thing I would really enjoy, if only I was to just give them a proper investment of my time.

So it seems that not only is Super Slam Dunk Touchdown is a pretty fun game, it’s something that also made quite an impression on me to the point where I’ll now be giving not only sports games more consideration, but other genres and platforms too.

 

About The Author

Contributor

A self-described child of the 90s, Matt is obsessed with everything nerdy in that era from Transformers to G.I Joe. Found inside a bargain bin of Doctor Who DVD's, he was quickly adopted by the Indie Haven team and tasked with writing humorous articles.

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