We’re back in the realm of sci-fi for another futuristic game, this time from Battlestar Galatica. It’s a variation on basketball, played on a pyramid-shaped court and the object is to get the cantaloupe-sized ball into a basket on the top of the pyramid. It’s played at close quarters and so physical contact is not just allowed, but encouraged. Given the skimpy outfits worn by players, the full contact aspect probably gets a little personal. There are several pyramid teams, including the Caprica Buccaneers, whose star players Samuel Anders and Sue-Shaun eventually suffer horrible but heroic deaths (never forget that this is a sci-fi show, not a sports show!)
Confusingly, the game known as pyramid in the original series is a card game, while the court game is known as triad (above). In the new series, the court game is known as pyramid, while the card game is known as triad. But let’s just assume it’s all the same really…
Meanwhile, here’s an enticing-sounding game from a sci-fi novel – The Face by Jack Vance. In Hadaul, the prize money is placed in a circle in the middle of three other circles. The contestants (“roblers”) try and throw each other away from the prize money, using any force necessary. They all start in a yellow circle, closest to the prize and try and throw each other into the outer circles, from which they can’t return. The rules are complex, but even once the game is finished it can be restarted…and that’s when things can get really vicious. The game is played with “knives, staves, or, on occasion, whips” and deaths aren’t uncommon. Still, the prize money makes it all worth it…right?
And here’s another sci-fi game, from the not-entirely-serious animated series Futurama. Blernsball is the most popular sport of the 31st century, after baseball was deemed too boring. It’s similar to baseball, but with some significant differences – like the elastic tether that ties the ball to the pitch and the giant tarantula who helps ferry balls about. Then there’s the multiball play, where suddenly the whole game turns into something resembling pinball, with balls flying everywhere and the batter floating over the bases on a motorcycle.
Teams include the Swedish Meatballs and the Atlanta Braves – of course, by the 31st century Atlanta is an underwater city, so the logo includes a trident, symbol of Poseidon. Futurama heroine Leela was the first female Blernsball player, but sadly her career was short-lived. Partly because she was only hired as a gimmick and partly because she proved to be the worst player in Blernsball history.
And here’s a sport that is popular, not in the future but a long time ago…in a galaxy far, far away. It’s podracing – a motor sport similar to Formula One, but in one-person airborne craft that could reach to 900km/h. Podracing mostly took place on planets in the Outer Rim of the galaxy, like Tatooine which was a desert planet and home to the Skywalker family. Of course, it was little Anakin Skywalker who made podracing history by being the first human to ever win a race. Most competitors were non-human, as they found the extra limbs came in useful when steering the pod. History doesn’t relate what became of Anakin Skywalker, though some say he changed his name. But sadly, it seemed that he never capitalized on his early podracing success.
And now for the most famous fictional game of all….Quidditch! The broomstick ball game of the Harry Potter books has become so famous that people have tried to recreate it in real life, using bicycles or on the ground. Recent comedy “The Internship” would have you believe that the technical masterminds at Google enjoy a game or two in their spare time.
For the uninitiated, the game involves seven players and three types of ball. There are chasers, who try and get the quaffle through the hoops, keepers who try and stop them, beaters who ward off the bludgers that try and knock everyone else off their broomsticks and then there’s the seeker. The seeker is Harry Potter’s position, and their job is to try and catch the Golden Snitch, which ends the game and gains the Snitch-catching team 150 points. Simple when you explain it, isn’t it? It may never literally “take off”, but with Harry Potter devotees around the world, Quidditch is a game that will be around for a long time.