These are in chronological-ish order. It’s unfair to compare them against each other because of the different platforms and eras. The games on this list are the ones I wasted the most hours playing.
1. Tecmo Bowl* (NES) The first sports game I ever played. The game play was incredibly simple.
You could only pick one of 4 plays on offense (two runs and two passes). On defense, you didn’t choose a defensive formation or play. Instead, you had to guess which play the offense was calling. If you guessed right, the play got destroyed in the backfield. There was also no such thing as an incomplete pass. Every ball was either caught or intercepted. It was pure chaos. And it was great.
*Special mention to Super Tecmo Bowl and Super Tecmo Bowl III. (SNES) I still play these games thanks to the Wii. Each version of Tecmo Bowl was better than the last.
2. Ken Griffey Jr’s Winning Run (SNES) Because businessmen in the ‘90’s sucked at their jobs, Griffey Jr. is the only player listed in the game. I had more fun reading the nicknames of the players and trying to figure out who they were. Bolt Lightning (Randy Johnson) was untouchable.
3. NBA Jam* (SNES) I shouldn’t have to spend much time on this. You’ve played it. It’s everything a video game should be. I’ll just say I was partial to the Charlotte Hornets duo of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. Side note… What would it have been like if Jordan was in that game? Would anyone have picked a team other than the Bulls?
*Special mention to NBA Live 95 (SNES) Obviously a much more realistic game than NBA Jam. You had to be a pretty big sports junkie to play this game to it’s full potential.
4. Ken Griffey Jr Slugfest (N64) After we got tired of Andy Buchanan beating the tar out of us in Goldeneye, we had Slugfest tournaments. Obviously this was before we realized we were supposed to be out talking to living, breathing females. This game prevented me from losing my virginity prematurely. And Andy beat the hell out of me at this game too.
5. MVP Baseball 2005 (PS2) The last baseball game EA sports made before the MLB 2K assholes ruined my life by signing an exclusive deal with Major League Baseball.
(The 2K Sports games are the most unimaginative games I’ve ever played. Don’t waste your money)
Back to MVP…. I once played an entire season while staying awake on Red Bull, Busch Light and steak from 10 pm to 9 am the next morning (oh college). This is by far the best baseball game I have ever played. I even enjoyed playing the minor league games. I don’t own a PS2 and had to use Joshua’s while in college. I would pay a hundred dollars cash money to own this game for my Xbox 360. If you are a bigger geek than me and know how to do this, by all means, let me know.
6. FIFA 10 (XBOX 360) The only soccer video game I’d endorse. You can play any of the leagues including the MLS and the game can be as simple or as complex as you like. Every soccer game has been sub par in my opinion until the hardware caught up to the game. FIFA 11 might be better but I wouldn’t know. You think I’m made of money? Until Grantland picks us up, this is the kind of crap you’ll get.
7. The Entire Madden Series (XBOX, XBOX360, PS2) I freely admit I was late to playing Madden compared to everyone else. I was hard core into Tecmo Bowl and then played NFL Quarter Back Club for the Nintendo 64 before I realized what I was missing. Madden was so much better than anything I’d ever played. For the most part, the game has improved each year. Every version has things I don’t like and it has become a bit gimmicky. I’ve played each one from 2000 until now. It’s the only game I buy the day it’s released. I can’t wait for football season to start back up. Until then, I’ll have to just keep playing.