Most sports games concentrate on simulating actual matches, but many also include a number of management functions as well—the challenges of managing a team or an athlete's career. A few sports games implement only this aspect of the sport and don't allow the player to control individual athletes in matches. Occasionally called manager games, these are particularly popular in Europe.
A NOTE ON SPORT GAMES TERMINOLOGY
Because sports games simulate other games, as opposed to a war, a race, or an economic competition of some kind, the words player and game are ambiguous. Does player refer to the person playing the video game or to one of the athletes playing the game on the field? This chapter uses the following convention: Player refers to the person playing the video game, as it does throughout the rest of the book. The people in the game are the athletes. Game refers to the video game. Match describes the contest being simulated by the game. The type of match that the athletes are playing (basketball or soccer, for example) is called the sport.
A great many sports involve a playing area with a goal at either end and athletes trying to manipulate some object into the goal. Basketball, ice hockey, water polo, and soccer are all examples. These are referred to collectively as soccerlike games.