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5 secrets you didn’t know about famous sports games

3. The courses in Wii Sports Golf are from a 20-year-old NES game

Nintendo is the master of game development and design, but it’s also the master of saving a few bucks whenever it can.

In 2009, Nintendo development boss (and Mario creator) Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that it used two generic Toad characters in New Super Mario Bros. Wii because they move like Mario and Luigi. He didn’t want to spend time and resources developing characters like Peach or Wario, since they would have to play differently.

It turns out that New Super Mario Bros. Wii wasn’t the first time the company cut corners.

When Nintendo made the 2006 Wii launch game Wii Sports, it looked to its past for inspiration and cost-saving measures. In fact, the company looked back more than 20 years to its game known simply as Golf for the NES, and it took the courses from that game and reused them in Wii Sports Golf

Check out the following gallery (via Reddit user Onus111) that compares the holes from the 1984 release Golf and Wii Sports Golf:

Of course, maybe this had nothing to do with saving money. It’s possible Nintendo thought it was an interesting Easter Egg or that it couldn’t improve upon the design of the original courses.

More likely, Nintendo decided to reuse old content just like a number of other sports franchises do.

2. EA’s answer for Madden’s dumb defense? Turn running QBs into fumble factories

Artificial Intelligence is a bit of a misnomer. The brain is way more complex than a PlayStation 2, and it’s difficult to make computer-controlled characters behave realistically.

Fans of Madden are very familiar with the shortcomings of A.I. They’ve witnessed first hand a fullback completely miss a block or a defense break down because it doesn’t understand what the offense is doing.

Michael Vick getting ready to throw or scramble ... the defense certainly doesn't know.

Above: Michael Vick getting ready to throw or scramble … the defense certainly doesn’t know.

Image Credit: EA Sports

Things are a little better now, but the defensive smarts in previous Madden games got pretty grim. How grim?

Well, no matter what Madden’s developers did, they could not get the defense to respond quickly enough if a player decided to use a scrambling quarterback to run a lot. The only way the studio could solve this problem was to drastically increase the likelihood that the QB would fumble if they decided to start running.

In Madden 04, if a player decided to start running with Vick, his fingers would magically (and figuratively) turn into buttery cobs of corn. If a defensive end even whispered Vick’s name, he would cough up the ball.

In the following years, EA Sports would continue to jack up the fumbling chances, but it would also increase the likelihood that the QB would get injured.

1. A Detroit Pistons fan rigged NBA Jam against the Chicago Bulls

A dunk in NBA Jam.

Above: A dunk in NBA Jam.

Image Credit: Midway

I wish someone could explain sports to me. I’m a fan. I get really invested in my teams, but I don’t really understand why I care about the fate of a bunch of sweaty guys playing a game.

Sports fandom makes us behave strangely. We yell at our televisions. We sneer at people we’ve never met who are wearing Green Bay Packers’ jerseys. We even program NBA Jam to favor the Pistons over the Bulls because the Bulls are a bunch of punks.

OK, maybe we don’t all have the option to do that last one, but Mark Turmell did. Turmell was the lead designer on NBA Jam, Acclaim’s famous 1993 arcade basketball title, and he used his position to get a bit of revenge against the Chicago Bulls on behalf of his beloved Detroit Pistons.

Back in the early ’90s, the Pistons and the Bulls were heated rivals. As a fan of the Pistons, Turmell had an ingrained hatred of the Bulls, so he took it in his hands to ensure Detroit’s basketball team always had the edge.

“If there was a close game and anyone on the Bulls took a last-second shot, we wrote special code in the game so that they would average out to be bricks,” Turmell told ESPN The Magazine in an interview. “I was always a big Pistons fan, and that was my opportunity to level the playing field.”

That’s not all. Turmell also coded NBA Jam so the game would lower the stats of Bulls forward Scotty Pippen when he played against Detroit’s Isiah Thomas or any of the other Pistons.

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More information:

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the Company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for ... read more »

Nintendo of America is consistently amazed and humbled by the passion and loyalty of our fans. Our hope is that this Page can be a place where that excitement can live, thrive and be shared. And while we love your creativity and are he... read more »

Shigeru Miyamoto is a Japanese video game designer and producer for Nintendo. Sometimes called "the father of modern video gaming,"he is best known as the creator of some of the best-selling, most critically acclaimed, most enduring, a... read more »

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