By Frank Hoffman and Nick Del Vecchio
In a stunning first, the International Olympic Committee and Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) have announced in a joint release that video game characters will be allowed to participate in real-world sports. The Video Game All-Stars League, beginning in October, will see characters from all companies playing baseball and basketball, going skiing and rock climbing, and so much more, sometimes all in the same day.
What does this mean for the rest of us? A new way to play fantasy, duh! ESPN, Yahoo, and the Nintendo Switch will be the initial platforms for this exciting new venture, offering a chance for millions to stack their rosters with their favorite athletes, plumbers, and anthropomorphic animals.
Fact Fiction Fantasy has put two of its fantasy and video game experts on the case. We now present their unbiased scouting reports, filled with tips and tricks about how to best approach your draft.
Nick Del Vecchio: I heard this was all Ice Cube’s doing.
Frank Hoffman: This is going to be bigger than BIG3 Basketball.
Frank: That is bigger!
Frank: LeBron. Ronaldo. Tiger. Mario. The undisputed champion of the Mushroom Kingdom sports world has everything you could want in an athlete: hops, versatility, and the ability to eat a star and become briefly invincible. Mario’s done it all, from golf to soccer to drag racing, and his new hat ability lets him temporarily possess anyone or anything. The man is always striving to get better. Also, look at that basketball. It’s on fire. How is that happening?
Nick: If Mario has any weaknesses, it’s that he’s a bit of an injury risk without that star or a Yoshi to take the hit for him. We’ve all seen him get a little banged up by a Goomba or Koopa, and suddenly he’s three feet smaller. The man is stocky to begin with…
Frank: No matter what though, he has the drive to get back out there right away.
Nick: I don’t know, something about his whole process is a little sketchy…
Frank: Inspect those mushrooms. I dare you. He’s clean, he’s legit, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Nick: Fastest of them all, Sonic is a stud. He’s been known to go toe-to-toe with Mario in all forms of Olympic sports, making him a popular alternative for bold managers with the luxury of first pick in the draft.
Frank: He gets tired if not fed chili dogs constantly, and can be a bit cocky at times, arguing calls with officials. He’s a 2nd or 3rd rounder for me.
Nick: Everyone comes with baggage. Let’s chalk it up to youth and focus on how he can spin into a ball for both offense and defense.
Frank: The Hero of Hyrule. He’s just coming off a spiritual sabbatical in which he learned how to paraglide, teleport, and surf on his shield, so expect all that to skyrocket his value now that he’s back on the market. The swordplay and archery are as sharp as ever, so I’m throwing him out there for any and all track and field events. Don’t let his wiry frame deceive you either, as he has the stamina to swim up waterfalls and climb insane heights.
Nick: Link doesn’t speak for personal reasons, which makes communication a small but consistent issue. Link’s agent has tried to get fairy interpreter Navi on the field with him, but sources are saying she’s too distracting and has a limited vocabulary herself, consisting of only “HEY!” and “LISTEN!”.
Frank: Didn’t some other team accuse him of time traveling?
Nick: It’s over and done with. Young Link is a thing of the past.
Frank: “Oh, you can spontaneously set basketballs on fire?” said Captain Falcon to Mario. “That’s cool. What about your arms and legs?”
Nick: This racer-turned-fighter translated speed in a vehicle to speed on your feet. Scouts say he’s the only man who could feasibly drive one of those Flintstones cars, which has attracted offers from all over the world.
Frank: The Captain does have a tendency to loudly announce any move he’s about to make, from “FALCON PUNCH!” to “I’M PASSING YOU THE BALL NOW!”, which is his biggest bugaboo in the long going. Owners should try to grab him with Link, as it’s likely he could teach him a thing or two about voice control, even with Navi around.
Nick: The Mii is a weapon, plain and simple. What they lack in pizazz, they make up for in a general grasp of every sport’s fundamentals. And when I say every sport, I mean it. We’ve seen them go from bowling to cycling in a heartbeat, and they’re even capable of more extreme activities such as power cruising on jet skis and frisbee. A Mii will get down and dirty on any terrain and at any altitude, giving them a reputation for fearlessness and my seal of approval as a sneaky sleeper in the draft.
Frank: They’re great for the fans, too. Deep down, Miis are just a reflection of us. No, really. Nick, that one looks exactly like you. And… And that one looks like me. Wait a second… Me… Mii?… What’s going on? Where am I? Who am I?
Nick: He’s the God of War. Those twin blades are definitely on the “banned items” list, but once their chains are unraveled from around Kratos’s arms, he’ll be a game-changer. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Hasn’t Kratos been banned from professional sports for murdering all those other athletes?” No. It was a suspension. The only player with a permanent ban is CJ from Grand Theft Auto for using a baseball bat in an inappropriate way. But I digress.
Frank: “The Ghost of Sparta” has the advantage of looking like a soccer fan who painted himself out of support for his favorite team, so he’s known to get the drop on unsuspecting opponents out on the field. You may have to sit him every so often to prevent him from ripping off a head or two, and those yellow cards will definitely pile up, yet you won’t find a stronger climber, more enduring runner, or better friend. Word is he’s been rocking a Harden-esque beard during the offseason, so look out for the killer jump shot he’s about to debut.
Frank: The only man who’s seen more sh*t than Kratos. Sure, he’s not as strong or fearless as his older brother, but Luigi has the edge on Mario in more than a few events, including golf, tennis, and the high jump. Luigi’s even saved Mario’s behind once or twice on adventures, conquering his intense fear of the undead with a simple vacuum cleaner, which is as impressive a show of quick hands as any out there.
Nick: It’s a shame that game sucked.
Frank: What, Luigi’s Mansion?
Nick: Yeah. Huge flop.
Frank: You… You shut your mouth.
[Following some harsh words, a table flip, and several black eyes, the conversation resumed]
Nick: Luigi’s height advantage makes him a great defender, while his sense of humor can surely motivate an entire team in times of peril and doubt. If someone snags Mario in the first round, don’t fret. Grab Luigi a few rounds early and thank us later.
Frank: Suit or not, Samus has proven time and time again that she’s as tough as it gets. Like Sonic, she can roll into a ball, but it’s more for verticality than anything else. Keep her out of sports that use hands, as it’s hard to catch with one of them acting as a laser gun. She has a narrower appeal than others on this list, which might lead to her falling lower than her expected ADP. Ignore the cons and pay attention to her experience in deep space, which is something few others have on their highlight reel.
Nick: When he’s not mistaken for a kickball or oversized tennis ball, Pac-Man shows off some serious skills. If you take him, make sure you have his patented power pellets on hand at all times, otherwise he’s going to feel a little aimless; the pellets help conquer his uneasiness around ghosts, which is apparently a rampant issue with some of the athletes in these later rounds. You have to wonder what he did to attract so many hauntings. I have two concerns with him:
- He’s a family man, stressing on multiple occasions that he’s against relocating his wife and kids, but if the price is right and the cherries are present, you best believe he’ll be sold.
- Too many sponsorship deals. Simpsons, Wreck-It Ralph… I don’t know if his head, which is also his body, is really in the game.
Frank: She’s fooling everyone with that “damsel in distress” act. Don’t let her fool you too. She’s always got a golf club on hand, and those turnips she pulls out of nowhere have to be good for something. She can float even without her umbrella, and I can’t even float with my umbrella. Just avoid her matchups with Bowser.
Wii Fit Trainer
Frank: A Yoga instructor at heart, Wii Fit Trainer keeps it calm under pressure. She’s flexible with a tight core, which has propelled her to two Ninja Warrior titles in recent years. If she’s not preparing for another this season, consider drafting her as a low-risk, high-upside option.
Nick: By far the best bandicoot out there. Did you know those were real animals? He’s a mutant with an affinity for explosives, and there’s nothing in the sports rulebook about either of those qualities being prohibited. Only caveat is he hates doctors, so good luck getting him to see Dr. James Andrews. If he pulls something, he’s staying on that disabled list.
Frank: Not big on this guy. That helmet has to limit his visibility. Relies on guns too much. If there’s someone better on the board, pull the trigger.
Nick: Let’s face it, you’ve got baseball in the bag with him.
Frank: Stop it.
Nick: King of the Koopas. He’s always at risk of a suspension due to kidnapping, arson via mouth, theft, embezzlement… You name it. It’s also spread around the league that you can get to him by grabbing ahold of his tail and tossing him, but good luck finding many other weak points. His brute power is worth the risk.
(TW: Foul/Bad/Dirty Language)
Frank: He might be on the waiver wire after the draft, so consider him if any injuries or busts occur. He puts the team on his back.
Nick: Well, that settles it. I know who I’m drafting.
Frank: I need to go over the notes more. Maybe play some Luigi’s Mansion.
Nick: Let’s not go down this road again.
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[Header Photo: Nintendo]