The 7 Best Sports Video Games (Period, no asterisks)

Unlike the previous blogger post on this topic, I have listed them in order of greatness.  Games are relative to the technology at their disposal.  I would further argue that newer games lack the re-playability simply due to the ability to save information-or just our ADHD culture that can’t hold anyone’s attention for more than a month of gameplay. So here is my list:

  1. Tecmo Super Bowl (SNES)– Way ahead of its time.  Made a good game (Tecmo Bowl) into a great game.  I gave the SNES version the nod over the NES version because of the updated rosters and game play. Key improvements were made including: passes could be dropped (which unfortunately us Seahawks fans can understand), upping the ante to 8 plays on offense, and Dan McGwire (HAHA!!!).  Unfortunately the previous blogger had enough sense to get the franchise right, but Tecmo Bowl III they tried to do waaaay too much for what was supposed to be a simple football game.  Let Madden do the complex things.Seriously though.  I can’t count the number of times I have gone through and played this game.  Season after season.  Some teams are completely frustrating to play with and there’s NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.  Want a challenge, play as Tampa Bay.  Want to rush for a ridiculous amount of yards, play with the Lions and tear up defenses with Barry Sanders and pray he doesn’t get injured in the playoffs.  Use the dive play with caution.  1 out of 4 times you’re probably going to hurt your Running Back!
  2. Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (SNES) – Again, close but no cigar.  Jeff, you picked the right series, but the wrong game.  This by far the superior Ken Griffey Jr. game.  The winning run sequel was awkward and overall unimpressive.  Even the N64 Slugfest version couldn’t live up to its predecessor.  With clever name changes/themes for all the players (and editable if you wish to make them accurate or customize to match your little league team). Players were designed with a limited number of stances / sizes (my favorite being the ridiculously small speedy players).  Interestingly enough, the verdict is still out on whether where you stand in the box for each stance helps.
  3. Little League Baseball: Championship Series (NES) – Childhood dream realized!  Made a strong bid for the number 2 spot, but lacked the replay-ability of a MLB game.  There are only so many teams out there (and some are horrible).  Great concept for the time and great gameplay for the NES.  Although Graphics have come a long way, I just haven’t seen the benefits of playing out baseball in modern games.  You end up simulating more games than you play because the season is too long.  No problems here.  You can either do a one-off match or start-up a world series tourney.  Simple as pie!
  4. NBA Jam T.E. (SNES) – Can’t argue with this one.  NBA Jam was a great one, although I have the Tournament Edition listed.  This game was awesome.  Before the internet was readily accessible, you had to get the Nintendo Power Guide to get cheat codes.  NBA Jam had a bunch of hidden things in it to keep you coming back for more.  Basically the same as NBA Jam, except you had three players to choose from instead of having to play with the 2 they gave you.
  5. NCAA ’11 (Xbox) – I personally own this on the Xbox, but assume it’s just as amazing on the PS3.  I had shied away from college football and leaned towards Madden until this past installment.  Online Dynasties are AWESOME! If we had this back when I was in Junior High / High School, I would probably still be living at home and not married.  I mean come on!  Recruiting where you have to pick and choose between all the High School Seniors and JC Transfers year after year, trying to build up your school of choice to become the place where recruits want to be and playing for National Titles every year.  Even more exited for ’12 to come out (NEXT WEEK!!!) with all the conference changes and Pac-12 Championship game.  A must have for anyone who likes football and has any interest in College Football.  Way more dynamic than Madden and way more teams to choose from. The only thing that sucks about this game is the cover…
  6. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 (PS2) – Before Tiger was known for being an animal off the course, he dominated the field of golf, and so did his video game.  This game is another put out by EA Sports every year, so really not much has changed from then until now.  Maybe a couple of couple / golfer changes, but who really cares when you always create your own golfer and start out as a rookie and work your way up.  Great store model where you need to win money to buy better clubs, clothes, and upgrades to help your skills increase on the tour.  Definitely a good way to lose hours of sleep over during your college years.
  7. Pro Wrestling (NES) – Even if this game wasn’t good it would be on here.  80’s and wrestling, that’s all I have to say.  Hours of fun!  No explanation needed.  The beginning of a long list of successful wrestling video games.  Star Man leads the cast with a list of completely unrelated wrestling monikers. Completely frustrating when you lose, but amazing when your hand is raised in victory.  Nothing better than jumping off the top rope!

Note: I intentionally didn’t put any soccer games on here.  I did enjoy FIFA 2001, but that was 2001 and haven’t played since.  FIFA definitely doesn’t live up to World Cup Soccer (NES).  And I would definitely place Super Dodge Ball (NES) above World Cup Soccer, so there you have it.


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