While this may seem like old news, it strikes me as news worth discussing. First off, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the magazine, Game Informer is a long running publication owned by game retailer GameStop. It is the most widely distributed gaming magazine, mostly due to the subscription that comes with a discount card from the retailer. In general, I've been a big fan of the reviews and previews this magazine has to offer. Until now.
In the most recent issue of Game Informer (Volume XXI * Number 3 * Issue 215), the gang previews the upcoming NBA Jam of MMA, Supremacy MMA. The preview largely focuses on two aspects of the game, both of which I find troubling given the potential damage done to a growing sport.
The first is Kung Fu Factory's decision to focus on what they call the "true to life brutality of the sport." Given what I have seen from trailers, "true to life" doesn't strike me as accurate. I am not denying that fights end with open wounds or broken bones (ask Marvin Eastman or Mizuto Hirota). What I am denying is that this cartoon-ish and over the top violence is true to life. This was printed in a widely read and distributed publication. Not a great portrayal from a magazine which reaches over 3 million households.
The second is the openly advertised illegal and unsanctioned aura of this game. Why does this bother me? Just ask Jens Pulver, who claims the following in a Game Informer interview (found at http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/01/12/supremacy-mma-contains-jens-pulver-broken-limbs.aspx)
"I was there during the early days of MMA and came up when things were just out of control crazy, so stories like mine are perfect for a game that’s taking things back old school like Supremacy MMA,' said Pulver. 'The truth is there are thousands of fighters out there struggling for a shot, whether they fight underground, amateur or at the highest levels of the sport. They’re doing it, and Supremacy MMA tells those kinds of stories, so I’m glad that this is the game I get to be a part of.”
So not only is MMA a barbaric and bloodthirsty display, but it draws its talent from events one would expect to see in an '80s Van Damme movie. Oh, and expect to watch cock-fights in the cage before you touch gloves/ fish-hook one another. Again, not a great portrayal from a magazine which reaches over 3 million households.
My general point is this. I have less of a problem with Supremacy MMA so long as it is understood to be what it is, an over the top gorefest that does not accurately represent the sport. The arguments for the damage this game could do have already been presented, so I won't rehash them here. However, for the major gaming magazine to come out and portray this game as accurate in any way is sloppy and damaging journalism. If you get the magazine, I'd encourage you to send a letter to the editor, as I plan to. Maybe one of us will get published in the next issue.