Although other digital-game genres have received increasing amounts of scholarly attention, the digital sports game remains relatively unexamined. This essay explores one of the most prominent and nearly ubiquitous features of the digital sports game, the player-attribute-rating system. By explaining the nature of the rating system and how it functions and then situating it in a theoretical and historical context, the author traces out some of the implications of the system’s operation. As part of this argument, the essay examines Electronic Arts’ popular football action simulation, FIFA Soccer ’09, as a case study to illustrate how the rating system positions gamers to understand sport in and through this new medium.
This article addresses Leonard’s (2006a) call for inquiry into virtual sport by exploring how Electronic Arts’ Fight Night Round 2 (2005) inscribes the boxing body into the digital game. This article qualitatively analyzes the text of the game in order to consider how it deals with the immateriality of bodies in new media as it translates them into digital space. By focusing on the game’s avatar creation system and control set, I argue over and against the freedom proclaimed by theorists about new media that Fight Night Round 2 positions users within a hegemonic masculine subjectivity. The essay concludes by addressing how this positioning speaks to the significance of this mediation for boxing as the game positions users in relation to the sport.