Australians are immensely proud of their sporting culture, and quite rightly so, given they have achieved huge success across numerous disciplines internationally. But this is a country that also boasts its own important sports and competitions, although they have rarely been showcased to much fanfare in the video games industry.
Plenty of developers have sought to bring justice to the Aussie sports gaming sphere, yet while they have had some success in the domestic market, grabbing more attention overseas has often been challenging. Nevertheless, that appears to be changing and for the better, thanks to some intriguing releases in recent years, ready to captivate audiences around the world.
When it comes to AAA sports games, the biggest publishers have pretty much dominated the market in recent years, which is unfortunate for those who crave diversity and variety. EA has the stranglehold on soccer and American football, with FIFA and Madden, while 2k is unrivalled with their NBA 2K series for basketball. However, one Aussie developer is aiming to break the status quo, putting an iconic Australian sport front and centre of their attention.
Based in Melbourne, Big Ant Studios will finally launch AFL 23 shortly, promising it will be the most authentic video game football experience to date, capturing the very essence of Aussie rules competition like never before. They won’t be the first developer to have tried, of course, given that several attempts have been made over the last couple of decades, typically receiving mixed receptions from players and critics alike.
But attention to detail could be all the difference here, with developers consulting AFL coaches and players to ensure gameplay lives up to expectations. Likewise, they are keen to take the action online, with multiplayer and co-op modes becoming available upon release, meaning that players across Australia and around the world can get into the action together. Undoubtedly, AFL 23 is already one of the most anticipated games down under this year.
Right at the start of each year, Melbourne hosts the Australian Open tennis tournament, played over the iconic blue courts of stadium venues including the Rod Laver Arena. One of the four international Grand Slam tournaments, there hasn’t been an Aussie men’s winner since Mark Edmondson in 1976, although Ashleigh Barty did claim the women’s title in 2022 to much acclaim.
While there have been many tennis games over the years, even plenty with entertaining and challenging elements of gameplay, few have truly recreated the authenticity of the sport itself. But having already marked themselves as one of the most ambitious Australian developers, certainly in the field of sports games, Big Ant Studios rose to the occasion. Having already produced the original AO Tennis game, they vastly improved the sequel.
First released in January 2020, just ahead of the annual Melbourne tournament, AO Tennis 2 is all about gameplay and customisation, from career mode to unique online multiplayer and even co-op for doubles matches. Featuring numerous big-name Aussie tennis stars, including Nick Kyrgios and Ashleigh Barty, there’s plenty to keep fans entertained and swinging their virtual racquets.
Now if there’s one thing that gets Aussies into a spin of sporting fandom, then cricket certainly has to be up there amongst the most important, especially whenever the national team takes on their English rivals for The Ashes. Whether it’s test or one-day, perhaps even the T20 variety, cricket certainly engages and entertains the people of this country, which makes the sport popular amongst gaming enthusiasts.
As part of the Microgaming stable of sports themed pokies, Cricket Star features at the best rated online casinos for Australian players, based upon reviews covering the most reputable and trustworthy sites. The game itself has plenty to keep fans entertained, as they try to match the icons on the spinning reels, aiming to bowl or bat their way to jackpot prizes.
Cricket Star is packed with scatter symbols and free spins, plus a wide variety of other features, making it an entertaining addition to the pokies genre, along with additional bonuses to enhance the chances of winning. Some casino sites offer the possibility of playing for free, although the most appealing action is typically with real money at stake, making this a game a game to be enjoyed responsibly.