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A sports game is a video game genre that simulates the practice of sports. Most sports have been recreated with a game, including team sports, track and field, extreme sports and combat sports. Some games emphasize actually playing the sport (such as the Madden NFL series), whilst others emphasize strategy and sport management (such as Championship Manager and Out of the Park Baseball). Some, such as Need for Speed, Arch Rivals and Punch-Out!!, satirize the sport for comic effect. This genre has been popular throughout the history of video games and is competitive, just like real-world sports. A number of game series feature the names and characteristics of real teams and players, and are updated annually to reflect real-world changes. Sports genre is one of the oldest genres in gaming history
Sports games involve physical and tactical challenges, and test the player's precision and accuracy. Most sports games attempt to model the athletic characteristics required by that sport, including speed, strength, acceleration, accuracy, and so on. As with their respective sports, these games take place in a stadium or arena with clear boundaries. Sports games often provide play-by-play and color commentary through the use of recorded audio.
Sports games sometimes make use of different modes for different parts of the game. This is especially true in games about American football such as the Madden NFL series, where executing a pass play requires six different gameplay modes in the span of approximately 45 seconds. Sometimes, other sports games offer a menu where players may select a strategy while play is temporarily suspended. Association football video games sometimes shift gameplay modes when it is time for the player to attempt a penalty kick, a free shot at goal from the penalty spot, taken by a single player. Some sports games also require players to shift roles between the athletes and the coach or manager. These mode switches are more intuitive than other game genres because they reflect actual sports.
Older 2D sports games sometimes used an unrealistic graphical scale, where athletes appeared to be quite large in order to be visible to the player. As sports games have evolved, players have come to expect a realistic graphical scale with a high degree of verisimilitude. Sports games often simplify the game physics for ease of play, and ignore factors such as a player's inertia. Games typically take place with a highly accurate time-scale, although they usually allow players to play quick sessions with shorter game quarters or periods.
Sports games sometimes treat button-pushes as continuous signals rather than discrete moves, in order to initiate and end a continuous action. For example, football games may distinguish between short and the long passes based on how long the player holds a button. Golf games often initiate the backswing with one button-push, and the swing itself is initiated by a subsequent push