A league of their own


Photo Illustration by Korbl Klimecki

Korbl Klimecki and Korbl Klimecki

In a perennial glut of sports games, “Mutant League” was an outlier which could appeal to even the biggest jock-hating gamers.

In the ‘90s, a video game was produced for the 16-bit era called “Mutant League Football.” It melded the ever-produced football video game with monsters and mutants and criminals on a field where the players could actually die. It was popular enough that the franchise grew a cartoon adaptation, a toy line, and a sequel/spinoff, “Monster League Hockey.”

I only ever watched the cartoon, but I loved it. The basic premise was that some form of toxic tragedy befell a stadium during a game, mutating the players and fans. Given that these mutations were apparently stable, the league supposedly decided to create a new league for the players who mutated. A towering 12-foot-tall skeleton with the strength of a bull elephant possesses… shall we say an unfair advantage against normal players, to say the least.

The trademark, however, was abandoned. I cannot fathom why, given that titles such as “Blood Bowl” and “Dungeonbowl,” both based on the “Warhammer” franchise, are packed with players, and the original “Blood Bowl” miniatures game remains a nostalgic favorite with table top gamers. I can only imagine, given the trademark was owned by EA, gross incompetence led to it being abandoned.

However, the creative director for the games, Michael Mendheim, has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed to create a spiritual successor. This is a great idea, as I cannot be the only person who thinks “fantasy football” needs more orcs and goblins.

The franchise was more than just “football with monsters,” though. It lampooned sports and popular culture. Mendheim compares the humor of the new Mutant Football League to Family Guy or The Simpsons in its style or parody. The game needs this sense of humor, too. As Mendheim told the PA Report, “I can’t make a ‘Madden game. It costs like… $100 million dollars and there’s 100 people working on it, and the product is amazing. I can make a really competent football game though. And we can take a really competent football game with decent AI and give it personality. And that’s what “Mutant League” is all about. It’s all about personality and taunts, and it’s about you caring for them and really feeling pain when you lose your guy.” Players going in expecting a top-of-the-line, amazing football video game will probably be disappointed.

However, apparently going in and killing your opponent’s players until he cannot field a team is a viable strategy. So if it gets made, I’ll give it a shot. I may hate football, but I love monsters beating the snot out of each other.