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Athletic Arena Level

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"Our tireless research has resulted in a thrilling discovery! Yes, today we learned that Inklings play basketball! The existence of a new stage, Goby Arena, indicates that Inklings may even play the sport competitively. [...] Furthermore, it appears that the arena is converted into an ink-battle stage during the offseason, and this unique location should make for exciting battles indeed."

The hero steps up to bat. The boss throws the pitch. The hero kicks, TOUCHDOWN! Wait, what's this? The referee is calling on the hero for goal-tending. The hat trick was no good.

An Athletic Arena Level is a sports-themed video game stage.

This isn't simply the arena that you play sports games in. Some games, especially action, adventure, and platforming games, design entire levels around the theme of sports. Expect to see linebackers barreling towards you, pitchers hurling baseballs at you, mooks lobbing tennis balls at you with a mean back-hand, hockey players picking a fight. Everything it takes to keep you from reaching the GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLL!!

Sometimes a gym or locker room, or even a coliseum might be the setting instead.

In short, expect to see Artistic License – Sports, Gretzky Has the Ball or Calvin Ball as the visual setting. Taking the concept beyond Video Games may result in a Tournament Arc or its bloodier cousins, The Thunderdome and the Gladiator Games.

Examples Include:

  • Strike Man's stage in Mega Man 10 starts off innocent enough. You're running your way through a giant baseball stadium in the background, and the first enemies you come across are baseball pitchers throwing curveballs at you. Soon enough there are enemies like robot ball storage containers, lobbing bouncing baseballs and footballs at you, giant robot goalies trying to crush you, sentient lockers, spike-covered rocket-propelled soccerballs that you need to activate and run underneath just to advance your way to Strike Man at the end. Strike Man himself is a personified walking baseball who not only uses himself as a weapon, but throws bouncing dodgeballs at you as well.
  • Asterix for the SNES has a level adapting Asterix in Britain which of course includes a stage centered on the Rugby match, where the player is meant to reach the end of the level. While holding a ball. While avoiding Roman rugby players. Playing Rugby.
  • In Ninja Baseball Bat Man, nearly every level is baseball-themed. Some enemies are actually baseball bats wielding baseball bats.
  • The Disney's TaleSpin game for the NES has a level set in a baseball stadium.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!, Stage 4 is the final part of a football game.
  • The final boss fight of Duke Nukem 3D/first level of Duke Nukem Forever takes place in a football stadium. If you succeed in killing the monster there, Duke even gets to rip its eyeball out and kick a field goal with it.
  • No More Heroes has Destroy Stadium, a setting visited twice in the game. What happens there includes killing bad guys by deflecting a pitch, battles in the vast outfield, and a Tennis Boss via a man-launching batting cage.
  • In the Aaahh!!! Real Monsters platformer for the Sega Genesis, the second level is a school Gymnasium. Obstacles include basketball hoops, arena stands, and basketballs bouncing everywhere.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee: Starting from this game, the series has featured a stage based on a Pokémon Stadium, based on the arenas used in Pokémon battling (a fictional sport). Melee also has two F-Zero stages based on that series' racetracks (namely one based on Mute City and the other in Big Blue), with the second being one of the unlockable hidden stages. Lastly, Adventure Mode also features an F-Zero platformer stage as its 9th level, where the player has to keep an eye on the incoming vehicles from behind to avoid being run over by them and reach the goal line safely (there's an Event Match set in this stage, only now the vehicles travel with exceptional speed, thus requiring near-perfect reflexes to quickly reach the safe platforms right before being run over).
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: This game not only features new Pokémon Stadium (Pokémon Stadium 2) and F-Zero (Port Town Aero Dive) stages, plus Pokémon Stadium 1 and Big Blue as Nostalgia Levels, but also introduces a stage based on Figure-8 Circuit of Mario Kart DS fame; since then, it became a tradition for the series to have at least one Mario Kart stage.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U: Thanks to Little Mac's playable debut, both versions of the game introduce the Boxing Ring stage from the Punch-Out!! series; the catch is that the platform on which the ring's lights are suspended can be brought down to cause damage to any unlucky fighter who's right below. The 3DS version also features a stage set in Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 7 and another based on the SNES version of Mute City, while the Wii U version has a stage based on Mario Circuit from Mario Kart 8.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Besides bringing back several sports-based stages from previous game, the game also has a The King of Fighters stadium which is included with Terry Bogard as DLC, which has barriers that prevent KO's from the sides of the stage unless a fighter is hit hard enough to break through. Also as DLC, Ultimate has the Spring Stadium, which is included with Min Min and has special platforms that, when active, allow a player to jump higher and do so with a strong offensive impact.
  • Mischief Makers had a sports or rather Olympic-themed stage where you had to win a certain amount of competitions to advance. 100-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes, hurdles, long jump, some weird ball catching game, and math problems were among the tasks.
  • Sports Gym and Space Ball Stadium in The Jetsons: Cogswell's Caper.
  • Sports Bear's route in the Glider PRO CD house "Teddy World" features soccer, football, baseball and basketball.
  • Lollipop Chainsaw had an Escort Mission "minigame" in the baseball stadium, in which you help a runner (whom Nick's head is attached to) round the bases three times while fending off zombies with the Chainsaw Blaster.
  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • Banjo-Tooie: Mayahem Temple features the Stonies' kickball stadium as one of its main features. Banjo and Kazooie must turn into a Stony (courtesy of Humba's magic) in order to participate in the kickball tournament. It consists of three rounds, and winning in all of them (by scoring the highest) will net the duo a Jiggy. A second stadium appears in Hailfire Peaks, having three rounds as well, only there the rules are reversed (whoever scores the lowest wins).
    • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts has the Jiggosseum. The level is a Roman-style colosseum/stadium with a sports theme. Most of the missions are also based around sports.
  • Rival Schools and its sequel, Project Justice have these as the Gorin High School Team's stages. The first game has the inside of a High School gymnasium (complete with squeaky noises from the characters running or jumping) and the second game has the characters fighting inside an outdoor stadium... Against a baseball player (Shoma), a volleyball player (Natsu), a soccer player (Roberto), a tennis player (Momo) and a swimmer (Nagare).
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Black and White and their sequels have these in Nimbasa City. You can battle trainers playing various sports on different days.
    • In Pokémon X and Y, the Cyllage City Gym is a giant rock-climbing structure and the Shalour City Gym is a skating park.
    • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, almost every Gym has a massive stadium where battles against the Gym Leaders are held, with spectators cheering you on from the stands. The only outlier is Spikemuth, which lacks a Power Spot and thus can't support Dynamaxing. The Spikemuth Gym consists entirely of a small court with only a relatively paltry number of Team Yell members as spectators.
  • The essence of an entire world in James Pond 2: Robocod.
  • Soccer Stadium in Saturn Bomberman turns soft blocks into soccer balls, and comes complete with nets.
  • The Sports levels from Lemmings 2. Most of the skills you get on those levels are athletics-based, such as the Pole Vaulter and javelin-throwing Spearer.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Kart: The game set the tradition in itself and subsequent installments of the Mario Kart series of featuring at least one Mario-themed racetrack or circuit, being usually designed in the style of real-life Formula One circuits (many other courses in the series are based on other gimmicks and/or thematic settings, thus deviating from the conventional idea of racetracks). Super in particular also holds the record of having four Mario Circuits (the most in any Mario Kart game when only counting brand-new courses in later games), each being more complex layout-wise than the last. Later games introduce similarly-styled circuits hosted by other characters like Luigi or Princess Peach. And with rare exceptions, such tracks are found in the Mushroom and Flower Cups (Shell and Banana Cups for the revisited courses).
    • Mario Kart 64: This is the first game in its series to feature a race course inspired by extreme sports, in this case Wario Stadium. It's a muddy, maze-like monster truck circuit that takes a long time to traverse (usually 5 minutes in lower speed tiers). It uses the same background music as the Luigi, Mario and Royal (Peach) Raceways, which in turn are more traditional circuit tracks.
    • Mario Kart: Super Circuit: The game features circuit tracks hosted by Mario, Peach and Luigi respectively, with the latter one standing out for being raced on during rain (which affects the road's friction and leads to the presence of slippery moats). The game is also the first in the series to bring back old tracks, including the four Mario Circuits from Super Mario Kart.
    • Mario Kart: Double Dash!!: In addition to having the usual Mario and Luigi Circuits (plus a Yoshi Circuit shaped like the hosting character), as well as Waluigi Stadium which has a more diverse take on a monster truck circuit than Wario Stadium from Mario Kart 64, the game also has Wario Colosseum as part of the Special Cup. It's a long, intricate mechanical circuit whose road combines parts made of asphalt with chainlinks, and features a huge Globe of Death in its center.
    • Mario Kart DS: This became the first game in the series to feature a traditional racetrack that isn't named after Mario or any other character, the Figure 8 Circuit (which, as the name suggests, is an 8-shaped racetrack). There is a circuit hosted by Mario, but it's noticeably more challenging layout-wise and has special features like Piranha Plants that shoot fireballs and paths that go through grassy hills, thus making the track veer closer to Green Hill Zone than this setting (it's the reason why the track is part of Star Cup instead of Mushroom). The game also brings back Mario Circuit 1 (Super), the Luigi and Peach Circuits (Super Circuit), and the Luigi and Yoshi Circuits (Double Dash!!) as retro tracks.
    • Mario Kart Wii: This became the first game in the series to feature an athletic battle course, namely Funky Stadium. It is based on skateboard parks, and its primary focus besides the wide space it covers is the various ramps and half-pipes that can be used to perform tricks and gain extra speed. Within racing courses, the game not only has its own Luigi and Mario Circuits, but also brings back the Mario Circuits from Mario Kart 64, Double Dash!! and the third from Super (there's also a Daisy Circuit, but it's themed around Port Town instead), plus Waluigi Stadium from Double Dash!!
    • Mario Kart 7: In addition to having circuits hosted by Toad and Mario, the game also has two courses set within Wuhu Island, of Wii Sports Resort fame. Specifically, the tracks are based on the Cycling tracks. These courses are so long that they only have to be traversed in one lap each (the only other course to have this distinction in the game is Rainbow Road). Among the retro tracks, the game has the second Mario Circuit from Super and Luigi Raceway from 64.
    • Mario Kart 8: Only three traditional circuits are featured in the game: Mario Kart Stadium, the usual new Mario Circuit and the one from Super Circuit; DS Wario Stadium makes a return as well. However, they stand out for taking advantage of the game's gravity mechanic, with the new Mario Circuit taking it to the extreme by tracing its layout in the style of a Moebius strip (making it so the drivers go through both vertical sides of the road); since the game's Battle Mode reuses race courses instead of having dedicated battle arenas, the new Mario Circuit is also used in that mode. The game's Downloadable Content adds Excitebike Arena, a giant motorcycle obstacle course based on, well, Excitebike. For the Updated Re-release Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, proper Battle Mode stages are added, one of them being the deathmatch-inspired Battle Stadium; and by way of the Booster Course Pass DLC, 3DS Toad Circuit, SNES Mario Circuit 3, GCN Waluigi Stadium, DS Mario Circuit, and all Tour courses featuring sports stadia are added as well.
    • Mario Kart Tour: A bevy of athletic tracks from past Mario Kart games are brought back in the game, including special remixes for the first SNES Mario Circuit, though no brand-new circuit based on this trope has been added. However, the game does introduce Madrid Drive, which briefly goes through the interior of Real Madrid's stadium with Shoe Goombas playing with soccer balls in one of the course's variants. Other city courses feature sports stadia (like the Float @ Marina Bay in Singapore Speedway, the Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles Laps and the Rogers Arena in Vancouver Velocity), but they have a smaller impact on gameplay.
    • Mario Party 2: There's a special board made for the mode Mini-Game Trial that takes place in a multi-disciplinary sports stadium. Unlike in the standard boards, here players don't get Stars and the spaces don't grant or deduct coins. The objective is to gather as many coins as possible by winning minigames, and when all turns pass the player with the highest number of coins will win the mode. When a character completes a full lap across the marathon track, they receive 10 coins as a reward.
    • Paper Mario: Color Splash: The Golden Coliseum is an old, crumbling Roman-style arena used for chariot racing and gladiator duels. The Yellow Big Paint Star is located here, and Mario has to defeat Iggy, the champion, to claim it.
  • Trap Hideout in Freedom Planet begins as an underground ninja base, but in the second half, Carol and Milla emerge back to the surface and outside—and into the ninjas' enormous motocross stadium that, somehow, has remained hidden to the rest of the world. The boss battle against Spade, their leader, is set to a crowd of ninja spectators.
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops, the first DLC pack includes the map "Stadium", which is set around a hockey rink.
  • Splatoon 2: Goby Arena is a stadium for the Inklings' version of basketball. The court and its surrounding areas get repurposed for ink battling, which is where Splatoon 2 is concerned.
  • Ganbare Goemon 4's main villain is a galactic sportsmaster who has traveled all over the known cosmos mastering all the sports he's came across. Naturally, all the enemies and most stages, particularly the castles, have a distinctive athletic motif to them. For example, the Desert planet Castle is a giant stadium where you travel via giant soccer balls headed by HumongousMechas, then you get into a labyrinth where you must get all the baseball bases in the correct order to unlock the next stage where you run away from a giant robot in a hurdling track. Other new sports-themed levels include Humpback Pump Track (an indoor bike track), and Musselforge Fitness (the rock climbing area within a sports club).
  • Cartoon Network Racing: Both Cow and Chicken tracks have the racers go through the school gym at some point, and they have to dodge balls, puddles, and floor cleaners running amok.
  • Pizza Tower has a level that takes place on a mini-golf course, simply named Golf. The level's main gimmick is Greaseball, the owner of the facility who you need to knock around the courses into basketball hoops in order to open gates and score points. (Word of God says that Greaseball couldn't afford golf balls.) In addition, the level also features Big Cheeses — large Cheeslimes that pick up Peppino and pitch him like a baseball when he gets close, which he needs to do in order to take out enemies shaped like bowling pins. It's that kind of game.
  • Footbot minigame in Jetpack Joyride 2 takes place in a soccer-themed hallway of Legitimate Research lab, complete with crowds of scientists cheering in the background and In-Universe ads on the small boards. Barry is set up as the goalkeeper and has to defend the goal from striker bots, a set of robots that can fire soccer balls.
  • Due to the sports theme of the bosses (and half the enemies), every stage in Bat Boy mixes this trope with various other video game levels, e.g. the Molten Cave is a Lethal Lava Land with football players charging around and kicking balls at you. Naturally the winter sport theme is integrated a bit more elegantly into Slippy-Slidey Ice World (also featuring a Stealth Pun in the flying manta enemies — ice skates).
  • The largest town in Fallout 4 is Diamond City, "the great green jewel of the Commonwealth." It's built in the ruin of Fenway Park, with the market square on the infield (including Player Housing, "Home Plate"), residences, utilities, and encampments in the outfield. One side of the dugout is the jail and home base for security (and Diamond City Security wear umpire outfits as uniforms, complete with chest pads), while the other is a bar. The stands hold the high class housing (and their own bar), and the announcer's box is where the Mayor's office is located.


Video Example(s):


Mega Man 10

Strike Man's stage takes place on a stadium, features enemies throwing balls, giant robot goalies, soccerballs, and other sport amenities.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / AthleticArenaLevel

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