The voting is in for the SGO game awards. 2022 was a quiet, yet balanced year in sports gaming. The top publishers all showed up with gameplay improvements to their flagship games. Here is who took home hardware for each category.
SGO Game Awards 2022
Best Sports Game for Mobile/Tablet: Retro Bowl, Nintendo Switch
First up is the award for the best game on mobile or tablet. There were not many options in this category, so we even expanded it to include Mario Strikers and Switch Sports on Nintendo Switch. Perhaps sports gaming has not fully matured in mobile form, although Konami’s power pro baseball in Japan is big in the eSports scene. We will see what the future holds for the category that holds so much potential.
To note, NBA2K and Madden exist in the mobile space. Both titles look like older generations of console games ported to mobile. Both games are decent offerings if you are traveling, but there is not much else reason to play the games when the console versions offer so much more.
With that said, Retro Bowl out-edged the competition to win the category. Retro Bowl, developed by indie studio New Star Games, deserves credit for excellent design choice. Like Legend Bowl, the SGO indie award winner in 2021, Retro Bowl’s pixel art can make waves when it is done right. The game made its way to Nintendo Switch in 2022 after releasing on Android and iOS in 2020.
Most Anticipated Non-Undisputed Game: EA Sports College Football
Undisputed is surely a game we have been patiently waiting for. The game’s trajectory has changed significantly over its development lifecycle and Undisputed is expected to debut on Steam Early Access in 2023. Since Undisputed has been on this list before, we did not include it as a candidate for the category this year.
EA Sports College Football is supposedly launching in 2024, and it still was able to defeat AEW: Fight Forever for most anticipated game. College Sports have recently changed and athletes can potentially make income from their player likeness in the digital form. This change is welcome, and has opened the door for college football to return to gaming.
NFL 2K football is worthy of honorable mention. A 2K football game would mark 2K’s return to football after over a decade. The 2K football game will be more arcade-style, and the publisher has yet to release any more details. Considering there is a vacancy in the arcade football genre that NFL Blitz used to own, a 2K football arcade game has exponential potential.
With Undisputed, EA Sports College Football, AEW: Fight Forever, and NFL 2K, the future of sports gaming looks as strong as ever.
SGO Game Awards Best Racing Game: F1 2022
F1 2022, developed by Codemasters and published by EA Sports, comes in white hot to defeat Gran Turismo 7, by Sony and Polyphony Digital studios. Here is how F1 got it done. From our SGO Review:
For what F1 22 lacks off the track in newness, it makes up for behind the wheel. The racing feels authentic and the changes to the physics model makes for a challenging yet rewarding experience…It’s a new physics model that changes the way you’ll drive on each track.
SGO Game Awards Best Indie Game: Retro Bowl, Nintendo Switch
Retro Bowl wins again as best indie sports game, demonstrating the versatility of its design to win multiple categories.
Pixel art games have been improving and the sports genre is no exception. We have seen the game engine Game Maker lower the entry barrier to creating new games. We have even begun to see more storytelling and role-playing game elements in the sports genre as a result.
Retro Bowl is a game that fits right at home on mobile and tablet, including Nintendo Switch. It is an excellent pick-up-and-play option.
The Best AAA Sports Game: Tie between NBA2K23 and Gran Turismo 7
Gran Turismo 7, which came up short in the best racing game category, ties for best AAA sports game. Sony’s simulation racing game has the realistic race physics and photorealistic graphics to compete with any game on the market. The gameplay, founded in driving simulation, is cut with laser precision. And GT7 has an endless lineup of cars and automotive information to educate players. Sony’s driving simulator is a worthy challenger to SGO’s 2021 game of the year, Forza Horizon.
Not to be outdone, NBA 2K23 showed up this year and is consistently able to capture the sport in an authentic way. SGO Writer Christopher Walker gave NBA 2K23 high praise in his review:
2K achieved what those of every sports game wishes. While the game has its microtransactions, all the other modes, and most importantly, the on-court experience, have seen major improvements. The gameplay is definitely more enjoyable than last year, and the addition of the Jordan Challenge and eras in MyNBA adds a lot more replayability.
SGO Game Awards Sports Game of the Year:
NBA 2K has always had sound gameplay. The endless animations have always been a joy to unlock, game after game. 2K also performed well in its transition to newer consoles on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.
NBA 2K’s excellent gameplay and variety of deep game modes “set a new standard” in sports gaming. And for that, 2K23 wins the Sports Gamers Online Sports Game of the Year award.
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