Last weekend I watched the World Cup finals live and when that ended I watched the NASCAR race at the Chicagoland Speedway. It was a great weekend of sports and a World Cup final that won’t be soon forgotten due to the now infamous Zidane head butt. As many suspected, it was a reaction to some serious momma insulting trash talk. It’s a shame that Zidane’s career had to end that way, but I must say it certainly added a lot of drama to the final. Which in my mind brings the question of how do we add that kind of drama to video game sports?
In my World Cup plus NASCAR weekend, perhaps there is already a sign in the right direction. In EA’s last couple of iterations of their NASCAR game, they’ve given the computer driver AI’s personalities that remember whether you bumped them and reacts to the player either positively or negatively based on that. In fact the whole career mode is full of off the track things like that. So why not bring trash talk to the next iteration of FIFA Soccer? EA is fond of reminding us that “if it’s in the game, it’s in the game.” So why not go all the way? The new consoles are powerful enough to enable some really awesome eye candy which can only add so much to gameplay. Why not take those cycles and beef up the AI? I’m not saying that trash talk is good or should be encouraged, but clearly it is a part of the game. And at least in the case of this year’s World Cup, it may well have tipped the balance to Italy. I mean really, I’m glad Italy won, but I think that ,on the whole, France played better most of the game.