The object (in the film) was for two competing teams of players armed with rudimentary weaponry to place a dog's skull on a spike at the opposition's end of the play area. Naturally, the means by which this was achieved was pretty much left to the conscience of the team members. The movie then went on to inspire a group of German's to form their own "jugger" league, which has received considerable amateur recognition, and has since spread to Australia and the U.S. Naturally, the weapons are well padded and contact is limited, but the mere existence of independent jugger teams exemplifies the feeling of dissatisfaction permeating the global super-sport business.
As the Jugger first took to the nuclear wastelands, a U.K.-based software developer, The Bitmap Brothers, released a sequel to one of their debut games, Speedball, and redefined brutal-sport entertainment in a way that has yet to be surpassed.
In 1990, the beauty of mayhem, allure of destruction and glamour of violence were skillfully woven into Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe: a Commodore Amiga game of pure, knuckle-whitening carnage capable of corrupting even the most devout pacifist into a blood hungry, designer-sport savage.
Taking control of the newest, most pitiable team in the Speedball leagues, Brutal Deluxe, it's the player's misfortune and privilege to take this down-at-heel gang of miscreants to the top, by fair means or foul. A multitude of upgrade attributes, such as aggression, intelligence, speed and power, built the impoverished team into the fighting force of your design. Whether you preferred to run rings around the opponent with light-footed intellectuals or score points by brutalizing the opposing players with lumbering animals, the team's ability and direction were first decided in the gym and not the arena.
The frantic, non-stop engagement puts the player through a distinct physical and mental ordeal while endeavoring to enact the simple task of carrying a metal ball to the opposite end of a steel-clad pit and post it in a narrow goal mouth. Due to the abundant lack of rules, this high-speed passage into enemy territory is no small task. There is nothing the opposition cannot or will not do to prevent enemy access. In fact, players are actively encouraged to inflict sufficient damage to have unfortunate competitors carried away on stretchers by robotic medics, being lavished with points for such vicious conduct.
Available for a plethora of different platforms from 1990 to the present day, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe is the yardstick by which every game connoisseur should measure sports simulation and, by extension, come to terms with the savagery of human existence and learn to revel in it.
There are no apologies to make for acknowledging all aspects of your animalistic psyche, and though we are unlikely to see any true form of the promised amusement this side of a nuclear war, there is a wealth of material out there for the discerning violence junkie. This unique, unbranded genre which has subtly permeated our media for over 30 years is the unforgiving, shameless pinnacle of raw entertainment, where sport is no longer about winning and losing: It's about living and dying.
Spanner has written articles for several publications, including Retro Gamer. He is a self-proclaimed horror junkie, with a deep appreciation for all things Romero.