The best way for me to appreciate anything is with video games, so I dug through my collection looking for sports titles and started tearing up the basketgolf field! This is the first article of a monthly column that chronicles my clueless foray into the world of sports via video entertainment, aptly titled “Wordsmith vs. The Sports Games.” I hope you’re ready for some football, because I sure am excited! Let’s go Yankmets! Win the Super Brawl!
Game Title: David Robinson’s Supreme Court
Console: Sega Genesis (Mega Drive)
Genre: Beat ‘em up, possibly basketball
What I Would Have Called It: Net-Crazed Tank Top Men Ram a Large Orange into a Very Tall Hole
I clearly remember standing in a Toys ‘R Us store one summer day about 18 years ago trying to pick out a new Genesis game. After reading the box, I though David Robinson’s Supreme Court was some sort of justice-system based Double Dragon clone, and Robinson was a dog catching lawyer\street brawler, what with his “net attacks” and all. Now before you tell me that a karate lawyer is too stupid even for a ‘90s video game, need I point out Final Fight’s “mayor and former street fighter,” Mike Haggar? And last time I checked, Arnold Schwarzenegger was still the governor of California, so score one more for incongruent career choices.
Like any dedicated gamer, I tore off the plastic and began reading the David Robinson’s Supreme Court manual on the way home from the store, and it only reinforced the idea that the title character is a street fighter: “Monster slams and awesome net attacks are only part of David Robinson’s ‘TIP’ – Total Individual Performance. Now it’s your turn to get on the court and face ‘The Admiral.’”
Compare this with the description on the box of Sega’s classic beat ‘em up, Streets of Rage: “This is the ultimate in street combat. These city fighters are martial arts maniacs with 40 individually controllable attacks – including jabs, head butts, overhead kicks and awesome net attacks.”
Okay, so I added the net attacks thing, but otherwise these passages are strikingly – and violently – similar.
As soon as we got home, my young self slammed the cartridge into my Genesis system much like I thought I would soon be slamming bad guys on my way to taking down The Admiral. Soon however, joy turned to horror, but I tried to give David Robinson’s Supreme Court a chance. For hours at a time I attempted to catch a glimpse of The Admiral, suspecting the gameplay might switch to a Mortal Kombat-like, one-on-one perspective when I met him and actually be fun, but to no avail. With the torment that is only felt by a child who spent all his money on a putrid video game, I put David Robinson’s Supreme Court back in the box and left it to gather dust on my Sega shelf.
Cut to a few weeks ago, as an older and negligiblely wiser Matt was looking to educate himself about all this sports stuff everyone’s been talking about. “Hey, didn’t some kid once try to tell me that David Robinson’s Supreme Court is a basketball game?” I thought. Obviously I laughed at him before punching him in the crotch and stealing his insulin, but what if he had been telling the truth? I whipped out the game and, after I stopped sneezing from all the dust and cobwebs I disturbed in the process, court was in session once more!
Once you pick a team and start the combat, there’re enough guys on screen to make for a good fighting game. But every time someone throws an elbow smash, the action stops and everyone crowds around one of the two netted holes on big sticks. The guy who got punched is allowed to throw a big bouncy orange at the hole before the fighting starts again. Since the hits in this game are so infrequent, I’ve never been able to score a single knockout.
Even after almost two decades, I still hate David Robinson’s Supreme Court. Worse yet, I didn’t learn anything about sports. I don’t know how, but this must be the work of that sinister Admiral. One day I’ll defeat you, The Admiral, and then the secrets of the basketball will be conferred upon me.
Until then, it’s back to the drawing board for my sports quest.