The 15 Best Sports Video Games Ever: From a Retired Gamer

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The 15 Best Sports Video Games Ever:  From a Retired Gamer

After a long run of buzzer beaters, winning championships and on-line battles, I've decided to hang the controller up.

Over the years, I've found much enjoyment playing sports related video games. 

I've been Michael Jordan on a hot streak. Barry Sanders running wild. Or Bo Jackson mistifying the defense.

What's the reason for what some would consider an early retirement?

A little burnt out yes. A little disappointed, yeah that too. One to many hotties calling me a dork?

Frankly I think that I'm too busy to be really good any more and after the millions of thrashings I've laid on my friends and foe, I felt like it was time to turn it over to the young bucks.

In honor of my glorious run I've put together this list of the best sports video games ever. In my opinion that is.

Now remember, I'm sure there's some great hockey games out there it's just I never really played them. They looked fun though. 

 

15.  PELE's SOCCER: 1981 ATARI 2600

I thought it would only be right if I stated out by going back to my roots.

I don't remember a great deal about this game other than I got really excited when I got to got it and got to go to my friends house and play it against another person. 

The graphics and game play were actually very good for that time period.

When you scored a goal there was an elaborate scene and GOAL would flash. It created a good feeling for a boy my age.

 

14. JOE MONTANA'S SPORTS TALK FOOTBALL: 1993 SEGA GENESIS

The game play was pretty good, but I loved the commentary. The voice sounded super-funny and it didn't always coordinate with the play that had just happened. 

The game had all 28 NFL teams and used the playoff format consistent with the league.

Another great feature of this game was that you could save your league and then continue it later by entering a code.

No more leaving the console on over night anymore.

 

13. MIKE TYSON'S PUNCH-OUT: 1987 NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM

I've tried other boxing games throughout the years, but looking back I realize that I had the most fun playing this game.

Working my way through Glass Joe and Bald Bull to get to Mike Tyson was sweet.

Each boxer had a "tell" when they were about to leave their sweet spot open.

 

12. NBA LIVE 2005: 2004 ELECTRONIC ARTS (EA SPORTS) XBOX

Played this game quite a bit both on-line and with friends.

The freestyle control for moves while dribbling was nice.

The dunk contest was actually fun as well. 

The graphics and game play seemed to make a pretty good leap to this version of the Live series.

 

11. DOUBLE DRIBBLE: 1986 KONAMI NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM

This was truly the first 5-5 basketball and my friends and I loved it. We balled for hours.

Who could forget the fade-away from the bottom right corner for three. Or the shot from the screws on the wing.

Or when you missed a dunk, the funny sound it made. This game got every kid my age interested in video basketball from that point forward.

 

10. SUPER TECMO BOWL:  1991 TECMO NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM

We all had to have the sequel to one of the most popular games of the video boom. Super Tecmo Bowl was the first game to have actual NFL team names and players. The game had all of the classic players like Elway, Montana, Marino, Barry and more. Full 1990 roster with 30 players per team and my favorite part, statistics tracking.

 

9.  Wii TENNIS (Wii SPORTS): 2006 NINTENDO Wii

Despite my retirement, my son still seems to pull me into a few exhibition matches from time to time on the Nintendo Wii that Santa brought him.

I played some tennis, for fun with some friends back in the day and I actually got decent at it.  Good enough to understand that the timing and shot making on this game is pretty damn close to the real thing.

We make one heck of a doubles team too.

 

8.  LAKERS VS. BULLS and the NBA PLAYOFFS:  1992 EA SPORTS SEGA GENESIS

This is the second edition of what ended up becoming the NBA Live series. 

This game had all 16 playoff teams from the 1991 NBA season which was twice as many as the first one (Lakers Vs. Celtics).

One of the few games to have Michael Jordan and at that time there were many, many future Hall Of Fame players that made it super fun times to play.

Graphics and game play upgraded as well.

 

7.  NBA LIVE '95:  1994 EA SPORTS SEGA GENESIS

This was the first of the Live Series of games and had all of the NBA teams. 

We would have tournaments for money playing this game so it has lasting memories for me.

I was a big fan of Hakeem Olajuwon and he was awesome in this version. Did you know he once had a quadruple double! I was always trying to do that with him.

 

6.  MADDEN '94:  1993 EA SPORTS SEGA GENESIS

Probably the version of Madden that i played the most in my time as a gamer. 

I had a copy with the New York Rosters switched which was always funny to see my friends' reaction when Phil Simms was on the Jets.

First Madden where you could flip the play and if you put your fastest receiver in at running back and threw a screen pass (flipping it to the wide side), you were unstoppable.

I had more huge games with no name players then in any game before.

 

5.  TECMO BOWL:  1988  TECMO  NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM

The grand daddy of all football video games.

You had four plays to choose from on offense. Usually two running and two passing plays.

Had 12 of the top teams in the NFL, but did not have the team names.

Featured most of the legendary players of that era. Players like Elway, Payton, Marino Montana and Jerry Rice. The studs of the game were Lawrence Taylor and Bo Jackson.

We talked about this game at recess for months. 

 

4.  NFL GAMEDAY '98:  1997 GAMEDAY  SONY PLAYSTATION

I was always a big fan of the Gameday series and played this one whenever I could.

The plays were good and each team had a set of it's own special plays that were usually pretty tight.

In fact, a local sports radio station had a tournament and that I entered and I was rolling with the Denver Broncos until in the semi-finals I played a cat that used the Oakland Raiders.

He used this running play that they had that I couldn't stop for anything.  I tried blitzing the house, 5-2 defense, even punt block and nothing would stop it.  It was either Nap Kaufman or Charlie Garner but which ever one it was I got blown out.

Probably the most upset I ever was after a video game loss.

 

3.  LAKERS VS. CELTICS and the NBA PLAYOFFS:  1991 EA SPORTS SEGA GENESIS

Someone my age could pick this game up today and have fun playing it for sure.

When I was a youth, my friends and I got stupid with this game.  It was my reason for getting a Genesis in the first place.

The game featured the eight playoff teams from the 1990 season.  Each teams' best player had a special move and those players ended up being some of the best to ever play the game.

You had Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Larry Bird and Tom Chambers.

At that time in my life I was a huge fan of Tom Chambers after I saw him dunk over (and I mean literally over) Mark Jackson in a highlight. Look it up on YouTube.

Chamber's special move was absolutely unstoppable. It was a double pump dunk from just inside the three point line. When playing with friends, we deemed the Suns unusable. You can probably look it up on YouTube too.

We used to track our own stats on paper and fell in love with the series from this game on. Once seeing the sunlight after a night of playing. The only video game all-nighter of my life.

 

2.  COLLEGE HOOPS 2K8:  2007 2K SPORTS XBOX 360

This game had the best and most accurate game play of any basketball game I have ever played.

I'm a huge fan of college basketball and this game featured every division one program in the NCAA.

After getting the top file share for the rosters that put the names with the players (which you would see when playing on-line), EA did a very good job on rating the players.

Even the stars of the little schools were rated accordingly.

I only played this game online and had some of the most fun I ever had in my life as far as video game play goes. Many games realistically going down to the wire.

When I left I was on of the top rated players on the game cracking the top ten in the world. 

When I heard news that EA had lost rights to the game for last season it felt like when I heard Biggie had been slain. I lost interest in Rap music for a long time after that happened and comparatively speaking I did in video games as well.

 

1.  MADDEN '06:  2006  EA SPORTS  XBOX

Without a doubt not only the best sports video game ever, but the best game overall ever made period.

I played this game exclusively on-line and when playing against the top players, it was more like a chess match than a football game.

This game had the best features Madden ever had. Some of which are not on this years version which caused me to use it as a coaster more than I play it.

It was the first Madden to have the "truck stick" which was sick, but that was just the beginning.

The introduction of "QB Vision" and "Precision Passing" were insane.  To me the best innovation the game had ever seen.

You had to use a highlighted portion of the field when looking at receivers to make a good pass to them. Players like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady had the entire field lit up while some of the lesser players only had a sliver.

You could hold the trigger button, press the receiver icon button and the vision would go to that player, then you let go of the trigger and hit that button again to throw.

Bad defensive players would bite on this action allowing your receiver to get wide open.

Two other features on defense were just as important to me calling Madden '06 the best game ever.

Over the years, players would put their best WR in at the third receiver spot leaving you to cover them with a safety or nickle corner. 

In this game you could go into the settings and cover Randy Moss with Champ Bailey where ever he went on the field. Brilliant.

Also, after choosing your play you could double team any player you wanted to before the snap of the ball even if the play you chose didn't call for this coverage.

These things in my opinion created the most realistic game play ever.  Truly a masterpiece.

I feel that EA has since dumbed down Madden for gamers that could not handle the intricacies this game provided. In doing so I feel it's a major disappointment.

 

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