10 Really Awkward Old School Sports Video Games

Giancarlo Ferrari-King@@GiancarloKingFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2015

10 Really Awkward Old School Sports Video Games

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    Jeff Daly/Associated Press

    The aging process isn't always graceful. That applies to people, animals, furniture, cars, and yes, even video games.

    Over the years, games we grew up playing with our friends have gone through the old aging process. And because of the times and how life tends to change, some of those games have spawned some hilariously awkward moments.

    With a flashlight in hand, we went back into our dingy vault of old school video games—also known as the Internet. Pulling some of the best and worst titles from years past, we found a whole bunch of things that don't really fly nowadays.

    It's time to take a look at what we mustered up.

WWF No Mercy

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    There's no question that WWF No Mercy is the single greatest wrestling video game ever made. The gameplay was groundbreaking, the character roster was deep and the storyline mode set the tone for all other WWE games moving forward.

    But for as well as the game holds up 15 years after its initial release, there are some really awkward moments that are hard to get past.

    When No Mercy dropped, the WWE was heading toward the end of the Attitude era. It was a time when wrestling was crude and sometimes even teetered on outrageous. Storyline mode in No Mercy reflects this. When you start a quest to win one of the company's main titles, your wrestler is immediately pushed into that world all over again.

    Promos where characters go out on stage and unleash NSFW tirades against women highlights that "old school" way of doing business.

    No Mercy is a terrific video game when we're talking about gameplay. However, obscene commentary and finicky storylines give this Nintendo 64 classic enough uncomfortable moments to warrant a spot on this list.

NFL Blitz

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    In 1997, Midway Games created NFL Blitz. The arcade-style football game was completely different from what fans were accustomed to seeing.

    Taking elements from the popular NBA Jam series, NFL Blitz was made purely for fun, without any sort of realism to bog it down.

    The result of that game was one of the best experiences you could have with a controller in your hands. Chilling hits, deep passes and heroic touchdowns were all part of a good day's work.

    Changes in the NFL have most certainly occurred since '97. The league's concussion problem and player's safety issues have rightfully become topics of conversation. Knowing what we do to today, the innocent fun NFL Blitz brought with it isn't so innocent anymore.

    It's feasible to believe that selling Blitz in 2015 would be challenging because of all the real issues that are currently going on.

Slam City with Scottie Pippen

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    All '90s games have their quirks. For Lord Disick's sake, it was the decade of a lifetime. Slam City With Scottie Pippen was as '90s as it gets.

    Apologies for the length of the YouTube clip featured above, but in order to really get a feel for how awkward this game was, you have to see it in motion.

    Taking the experimental approach, Slam City was a jumbled mess from the get-go.

    For starters, it lacked a real game engine. If point of this title was to invoke realism into your video game experience, that concept didn't work.

    When you watch Slam City nowadays, you can't help but get sucked into a vortex of '90s nostalgia. The cheesy commentary in between baskets is like watching an afternoon special. Add in the weirdness of playing with a sepia-toned character named Ace, and what you have is a bizarre gaming experience.

    Slam City With Scottie Pippen was awkward then and it's even more ridiculous nowadays.

Tecmo Bowl

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    Tecmo Bowl will always be revered as one of the all-time iconic video games. Before it released in 1987, we never had a football game that could be enjoyed for hours on end.

    Sometimes with anything classic, it doesn't always stand the test of time. Playing Tecmo Bowl now versus in '87 isn't for the feint of heart. The graphics are choppy, the gameplay feels stagnant and repetitive and despite being saturated in nostalgia, Tecmo Bowl has moments that are abrasively funny.

    A serious injury cues up this weird, depressing song. It's the type of song that you can listen to and wipe away your tears as your player is removed from the field by two "doctors" in white uniforms.

    Tecmo Bowl was groundbreaking and because of that it's tough to belittle. It created the basic game engine for successful football franchises like Madden to build off of. That being said, glitched-out touchdowns and barely being able to see the football at times give it an awkward edge all of these years later.

Knockout Kings 2000

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    Before Fight Night set the stage for all boxing games, EA Sports was tinkering with the Knockout Kings franchise.

    The precursor to all things great, Knockout Kings 2000 had glimmers of the sweet science packed into another wise unsatisfying game.

    In the awkward department, everything about Knockout Kings 2000 stands out. Mainly, defensive stances barely matter and boxer's feet never leave the canvas. Look them out there gliding across the ring like they have ice skates on.

    The graphics aren't terrible, but they borderline on being too cartoon-like. When you stack Knockout Kings 2000 with any of the Fight Night games it becomes an awkward journey through the EA Sports vault.


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    Jammit may have been kind of cool in the '90s, but today the game has aged like a bottle of old milk. It's sour and there's nothing you can possibly enjoy about it.

    It's troubling as a people that in the '90s we played games and considered them to be awesome, regardless of how bad they were. I guess before the Internet games weren't subjected nearly as much criticism.

    In the case of Jammit, a thing like the Internet would have stopped young kids from hitting their local Toys R' Us, scooping the paper slip with that title on it and running up to the counter, cash in hand.

    Watching footage of Jammit shows you how ridiculous the concept was. Minus the fire '90s outfits, the characters you could choose from—Slade, Chill and Roxanne—were all terrible.

    The game is awkward now because you can barely score. It's more of just a one-on-one melee that lasts for what feels like an eternity.

Blitz: The League

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    Warning: Video has possible NSFW lyrics and images.

    Blitz: The League packed a sizable amount of fun into one addicting game. It took a lot of what we loved from the first installment of NFL Blitz and managed to tie a darker storyline into it.

    Using fictional teams, an individual's goal was to go through a season and win the league championship. But unlike Madden's franchise mode, Blitz: The League had crazy escapades tied to it. Athletes would gamble, lay brutal, bone-crunching hits and because of that, traditional NFL rules didn't apply.

    While the game may be a ton of fun—trust us, it is—adding that person conduct element to the game is awkward nowadays considering some of the off-field issues the NFL has faced in recent time.

    Avid players of the Blitz franchise will rave about Blitz: The League for all of the memorable aspects it brought to the world of football. However, even those faithful Blitz gamers have to admit it gets a tad bit uncomfortable at times.

WCW/NWO Thunder

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    You can always turn to the world of wrestling games for hilariously awkward moments. After WCW vs. NWO Revenge enjoyed mountains of success, the company released WCW/NWO Thunder.

    A game named after WCW's secondary television program—Thunder—this game was the complete opposite of Revenge.

    The actual wrestling was suspect. Moves felt sloppy and the back-and-forth banter that made Revenge so great was lost in the process of creating Thunder. Instead, the developers focused on cinematic effects and awkward player rants to carry this title.

    A player rant is the stuff that's in the video above. Before you chose a superstar, you could watch him rant about why you should select him over his peers. The result of that was comedic gold—Scott Norton and Alex Wright's rants take the cake.

    WCW/NWO Thunder is a big bag of hot rubbish. The good news is, all these years later, you can still get a few moments of happiness by focusing on rant element of the game. Watching those guys cut promos in-front of a green screen never gets old.

John Madden Football '92

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    John Madden Football '92 is one of the very best old school video games to ever descend on us. It packed a heck of punch when it finally came out.

    Before this edition of Madden, football games were getting stale. John Madden Football '92 changed all of that with its tackling mechanics, the way it kept track of plays and of course, the way real-time injuries occurred.

    Speaking of injuries, does anyone here remember that rambunctious ambulance? It was the one that would rip out onto the field and pick up players after they went down for the count.

    Besides the ludicrous notion that every single injury requires the services of an ambulance, people may forget that this poor excuse for hospital transportation flattened random players as it barreled out onto the turf.

    Please, watch the clip above. Tell me that stuff isn't gold.

FIFA Soccer 95

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    For anyone that plays FIFA soccer nowadays, we need to you to go ahead and pray to the video game overlords for what you've been able to do on the digital pitch.

    Because back in the '90s, games like this were actually considered to be the standard.

    FIFA 95 is one game that aged horribly. The gameplay was laughable, the camera angles were horrendous and the tackling was accompanied bone-rattling sound effects for no good reason at all.

    Most classic games are still playable today amongst friends. FIFA 95 isn't one of those games. All that's left of this version of the FIFA franchise is a hot cup of awkward stew.

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