23. NBA LIVE 2005

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NBA Live 2005 marked the pinnacle of EA’s basketball franchise; according to Lead Designer Todd Batty, Live 05 was the end result of a three year plan for rebuilding Live’s core gameplay. Live perfected its “freestyle” control scheme; players retained complete control over cross-overs, spin moves, post moves, and even mid-air layups and dunks, all possible via right-stick maneuverability. Live 2005 also included an NBA All Star Weekend within its Dynasty mode or as a standalone option, featuring the NBA All-Star Game, Rookies VS. Sophomore game, three point-competition, and even the NBA Dunk Contest. The Dunk Contest proved particularly popular; users were allotted a robust tool-set to create inspired dunks not yet seen to man. In fact, dunks introduced in Live ’05 were attempted in the actual dunk contest in following years, including Steve Nash’s “flip-kick alley-oop” to teammate Amare Stoudemire. Live ’05’s All Star Mode aptly complemented a deep dynasty mode that added much-needed depth to the managerial aspects of being an NBA general manager. Unfortunately, the NBA Live Franchise never peaked beyond this iteration; its transition to the PS3 and Xbox360 bore poor results; its past prominence never giving rise to higher summits.

 

22. Wii Sports

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Sold as an appendage to Wii Consoles in 2006, Wii Sports found its way into millions of homes. In fact, Wii Sports is the second highest selling game of all time, behind only Tetris. Heavily marketed as a family oriented title, Nintendo sought to capture a new market – an audience of non-gamers. Wii Sports was simple. It was fun. And most importantly, it was accessible to all ages. The game was comprised of five separate sports games – tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, and boxing – all of which utilized the Wii’s motion sensing capabilities in an intuitive manner. Such intuitive controls helped Nintendo reach the once unreachable market of non-gamers. Bowling proved especially popular; a family could take turns knocking down as many pins as possible in a light hearted competitive environment. Wii Sports’ popularity eventually bred sequels like 2009’s Wii Sports Resort and 2013’s Wii Sports Club, and though the gameplay found in those titles was undoubtedly more varied and more fleshed out, they lacked Wii Sport’s influence over gamers and non-gamers alike.

 

21. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (Wii)

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Wii-motion-plus revolutionized golf games, granting users the ability to draw and fade, all with precise twists of the wrist. Its implementation in all facets of gameplay rendered PGA Tour 10 the most realistic golf game in history. Although PGA Tour’s Xbox 360 and PS3 counterpart looked better, the Wii version was the more authentic, and thus more highly regarded, version. It simply never felt so good smacking balls over 300 yards, adding natural hooks or slices, or even sinking intricate putts with pinpoint accuracy. But Wii-motion-plus wasn’t the only game-changer. Other important, yet lesser features included real-time weather that affected ball trajectory and traction, a television broadcast style presentation, expansive crowds, mini games, and a “Tournament Challenge” mode that allowed players to replicate famous shots and moments from the PGA Tour’s history.

Hope you enjoyed this, stay tuned next week for Part 2 in the Top 25 Greatest Sports Games in History countdown.