As sports fans around the world gear up for this year’s Super Bowl, you may think, what makes it so “super?” There aren’t any robots. No one flies. Everyone lives at the end. Sure, it’s the two best football teams playing for a championship, but is it really “super?”
We say “No!” At least, not when you think about the cross-section of sports and science fiction. With the Super Bowl a few days away, we thought we’d remind you there’s a great tradition of sci-fi sports out there. Some are the subjects of a full movie, others are just scenes. But these, our friends, are actual super sports.
Robot Boxing from Real Steel
Real boxing is dangerous. People get hurt, even killed. So why not get robots to do it? That was the plot of the underrated 2011 film Real Steel, and it showed that not only are robots great fighters, they can also bring families together too.
Disc Wars from Tron: Legacy
Light cycle racing is certainly extremely cool, but if I had to pick just one sport inside of Tron, it’s Disc Wars. This sport, which amounts to basically fighting with frisbees, just feels like more of an athletic competition. Plus there’s such good chanting!
Rollerball from Rollerball
Roller skates, motorcycles, and murder—what’s better or more intense than Rollerball? Plus, it’s corporate-owned and rigged, so obviously, it’s just an evolution from modern professional sports.
The Hunger Games from The Hunger Games
For this one, we’d definitely remove the whole “children taken against their will frighten a society into submission” aspect and focus more on people competing against each other in an arena. It’s the true test of who is the best. A winner-takes-all, fight-to-the-death rumble where people who watch from home can bet and interact with the game. Think live Survivor with weapons and no teams. (Also, you could sub the movie Battle Royale here if you don’t adhere to the “no kids” rule.)
The Running Man from The Running Man
Sure, this is similar to The Hunger Games in that it’s a televised battle to the death, but what we like about The Running Man is the spectacle of it. Those outfits! That music! Plus the violent carnage? That’s just good television.
Podracing from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Big, growling engines. Life or death stakes. Great racer introductions. Excellent announcers. Intense speeds and a little dose of the Force? Yup, this is podracing and we love it.
Space football from Starship Troopers
This sport is so super, I’ve covered it before.
Basically, it’s like arena football if all the players somehow ran faster, and could jump and do flips. Fast-paced, hard-hitting, the next generation of our NFL.
Death Race 2000 from Death Race 2000
Though Roger Corman’s blend of speed, metal, fire, and mayhem has regularly been imitated, it’s rarely been duplicated. Basically, any kind of racing where destroying cars is encouraged is a good thing.
The Quidditch World Cup from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Quidditch at Hogwarts is one thing. But that’s like a high school sport. We like professional Quidditch. The good stuff. And the biggest professional Quidditch tournament is the World Cup. It’s just so epic. It’s the Super Bowl of the Wizarding World, as teams from all over compete and finally whittle it down to the two finalists.
Monstar Basketball from Space Jam
Basketball is cool, but you know what’s cooler? Basketball against aliens who bodysnatch professionals and then play against cartoons. Plus, then you have cartoon rules, with all the stretching and the humor! It’s truly super.
Of course, these are just our favorite super sci-fi sports. What are yours? Do you like some Robot Jox? Battling in Mad Max’s Thunderdome? Let us know below.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our new Instagram @io9dotcom.