Some fictional worlds are so well fleshed out that the people within them have their own hobbies, passions and pastimes. Oftentimes the creators of these worlds also create fictional sports and games for the characters to partake in, in part to reinforce that their world is different from our own. Sometimes the fictional sport in question is the device that the entire story hangs on. And some of these made-up games are totally badass. Hell, some of these made-up games have crossed over into the real world, and are played by devoted — and obviously very nerdy — fans.
The following 10 sports and games are our picks for the 10 best in all of nerd-dom. Please note that fictional sports from videogames aren’t being considered — since we could easily pick 10 interesting videogame sports alone, and we didn’t really want to deal with it.
Created in the movie of the same name, BASEketball is basketball with baseball rules. According to the movie, the ideal behind its creation was to make a game that the average person could play. The most awesome part of the game is clearly its use of “psyche-outs” – distracting your opponent with ridiculous insults is allowed and encouraged.
9) Pyramid, Battlestar Galactica
A shocking number of the games on this list have been adapted for the real world by fans, including Battlestar Galactica‘s Pyramid. Check out said fans in the video above. Popular throughout the Colonies, Pyramid is a team-based ball game played on a triangular court in which players can only take three steps at a time and tasks them with throwing the ball through a hole at the top of a pyramid. Sensing a trend? Like all truly awesome games, Pyramid is a full contact sport, and you can check out a shockingly detailed wiki about it right here.
Like many sports, the goal is to throw a ball into a goal. But unlike most other sports, Rollerball it made extra awesome by the fact that it’s on wheels, full contact and also features dudes on motorcycles driving around the track and messing fools up. It’s roller derby taken to the extreme – and we love all things extreme, whether we’re talking about sports or Doritos flavors.
7) Death Race
The clip above sets up the rules of Death Race pretty clearly, then devolves into a bunch of clips strangely dubbed in German. So, in other words, it’s awesome. And you really don’t need to understand the dialog to get the point of Death Race — the world’s best drivers compete in a cross-country race, earning points by killing pedestrians as they drive. The drivers are so popular that many fans consider it an honor to be crushed under their wheels. Hey, if NASCAR is a sport, so is this.
6) Blernsball, Futurama
In the future, baseball gets “jazzed up” and Blernsball is born. At first, Blernsball seems basically the same as baseball with the addition of an elastic tether attached to the ball, but every time it’s appeared on Futurama, new rules seem to be discovered. The best? Hitting enough balls into a hole in the field triggers “multiball,” which floods the field with blernsballs – and gives the batter a Tron-style light cycle to navigate the exploding bases.
5) Quidditch, Harry Potter
The chosen sport of wizards would have been ranked higher if it weren’t totally screwed up by the Golden Snitch — since who ever catches it wins, no matter how many points have been scored, there’s hardly any reason for anyone on either team to do anything else. However, it still involves wizard and witches flying on brooms playing rugby, which is pretty cool. And more importantly, it’s arguably the most popular fictional game to cross over into the real world — we even have an official champion in the Quidditch World Cup. Hell, they’re even trying to get NCAA recognition for the sport, although trying to legitimize a nerdy hobby kind of kills whatever “cool” factor it had going for it.
4) The Running Man
The future’s most popular game show, The Running Man is basically American Gladiators with fatalities. The contestant must survive through a gauntlet of challenges while being hunted down by adversaries who are basically lame super-villains. Very few contestants survive, but then again, very few contestants are played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
3) Lightcycle Racing, Tron
You could argue that since Lightcycle racing takes place inside a videogame that it’s not really a sport, but come on — it does use real people as contestants, thanks to a very unexplained laser thingie, and if you die in the game, you die. It’s the same deal as NASCAR and Death Race. Yes, Tron‘s disk-joust might be a more traditional sport, but come on — if any of us had to pick one Tron game to play, it’d be the Lighcycles, because it is awesome as hell. Hell, if Light Cycles were real, you’d be riding one right now. And reading this article on your phone. So you’d probably be dead.
2) Calvinball, Calvin and Hobbes
Other kids’ games are all such a bore! They’ve gotta have rules and they gotta keep score! Calvinball is better by far! It’s never the same! It’s always bizarre! You don’t need a team or a referee! You know that it’s great, ’cause it’s named after me!
The official theme song of Calvinball spells it out pretty clearly: it’s a game with no set rules that is never played the same way twice. In other words, it’s the game we all played as kids, in which new modifications are created on the spot to alter the rules in our favor.
1) The Game/Jugger, The Blood of Heroes
Blood of Heroes is easily the most obscure movie on this list, so why does it deserve the top spot? It’s easy — because this post-apocalyptic sports movie is totally badass. The goal of the game is simple: to place a decorated dog skull on the post on the opposing team’s end of the field. Only one player on each team can touch the skull, the “qwik.” The qwik is joined on the field by one player called the chain and three more called enforcers. The chain carries (obviously) a chain weapon, and the enforcers are armed with various weapons like swords and pole arms. Their goal is to beat the living hell out of the other team and prevent their qwik from getting pounded into the ground.
The movie (also known as Salute to the Jugger) lays out the rules pretty clearly, and the fact that this brutal end-of-the world sports movie even exists would be enough to earn it a place on this list. But what propels it firmly to the top spot is the fact that The Game has actually made the leap to the real world as a game that still seems pretty cool. Yes, Quidditch may be the most popular fictional game-turned-real, but Jugger is much, much more badass. In Quidditch you ride a broom. In Jugger, you beat the other guys with it.
The first organized Jugger league started in Germany in 2007 and has spread throughout Europe, the US and Australia. There have even been Jugger tournaments, official rule sets and even a book written on the sport. It truly is the activity where nerds and jocks come together as one.