NHL 12 does something quite unique that sports games don't normally let you do. It allows you to create female pros.
This doesn't happen too often, and sometimes it's because the leagues the games are made to represent won't allow it — but the industry can do better.
Why do we not have the ability to create more female pros in our sports video games? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that plenty of popular women and women's sports could be included in the male-only titles…or in their own.
The FIFA Women's World Cup just finished this past summer. It's insanely popular — especially in America. People get into the men's team during World Cup time, but is their keeper on Dancing With the Stars? No.
Here we have Hope Solo, one of the greatest female athletes to ever play the sport. She's in FIFA 12 ads, Dancing With the Stars, and all over talk shows during the aftermath of the United States' defeat in the World Cup final.
You could argue that she's more popular than any current USA player — possibly more popular than any male player, ever — yet she isn't in FIFA 12, even though she makes appearances in commercials for it.
Apparently, at least one development team at EA Sports succeeded at getting women into a hockey game. Developers for other titles should try the same. The United States has a professional women's soccer league (I know I'm focusing a lot on soccer, but that's what I know), and women star in countless other sports around the world.
And though including some women's leagues may present roadblocks, FIFA represents women and equality — a good reason to try and include the women of the sport in a game.
For all the U.S. women's soccer team has done to popularize the sport, being in a video game — in however large a role that may be — seems like a no-brainer. I don't mean for EA to take a huge gamble and have a game just about the Women's Professional Soccer league (though down the line that would be nice if the league doesn't fall apart). But maybe they could just add the women into the men's game, much like indoor soccer was added in FIFA 11.
The option should be there; it's amazing that this doesn't get talked about a lot more often. If I can do something asinine like put my star striker in goal to block shots in Pro Evolution Soccer, I should be able to play as Hope Solo or unlock a classic team starring Mia Hamm in the next release of FIFA.
And although a game like FIFA 12 is all about realism and having the most accurate physics system, video games excel at one thing: allowing us to experience things we normally can't. I would love nothing more than to have a digital Hope Solo line up against the U.S. men's national team in a match to see just how many of Landon Donovan's shots she could block.