There’s so much bad in the world that we need to take the time and appreciate the good and have some fun doing it.
While not every game that comes out falls into the “best game of all-time” category, there are some games that, no matter what, fans of a genre need to play before they die.
I’m Mike from Sports Gamers Online, and these are 10 sports games that everyone needs to play at least once. For this list, we look at games that are memorable for one reason or another that justify any sports fan playing. We’ve also limited it to just one entry per series.
If you are ever upset about what Franchise Modes have become in sports games, go play Madden 99. This was the first Madden game to ever feature the mode, and while it wasn’t the greatest version of the mode, it was a damn good first effort.
Madden 99’s offering allowed a user to control their team for up to 15 seasons, and came with realistic NFL type schedules consisting of alternating inter-conference divisional opponents. In what’s become custom in any like mode, players were also able to make trades, draft, and sign/release players.
Everyone who owned a Nintendo Wii owned Wii Sports…well, because that’s the game that came packaged with the system. It was the perfect way to showcase what motion controls could be, and was as pick-up-and-play as any game could ever be. Whether it was you 80-year-old Nana or your five-year-old son, anyone could enjoy the fun that was Bowling or Baseball. Even games like Boxing and Tennis were enjoyable. Plus, boxing was a damn great way to blow off steam instead of actually hitting someone or something…provided you held on to the controller.
3-on-3 NHL Arcade
As the NHL series began to get a bit complicated for casual players after the introduction of the skill stick, EA Sports decided to release a fun and simple big head arcade version for everyone to be able to pick up and play, and the result was phenomenal.
From the various power-ups that included the ability to make miniature goalies or get two goals for the price of one to the back and forth gameplay, 3-on-3 arcade offered endless fun with your drafted teams. And though the game is over 10 years old, it’s still as fun today as it ever was.
If you don’t think you know what Golden Tee is, believe me, you know what Golden Tee is. Golden Tee Golf is the game you see at any Sports Bar in America. You know, the golf game with the trackball that you use to swing the club? Starting to ring a few bells?
This is a game that everyone has seen hundreds of times, but many don’t want to spend the money on each hole. But, take it from someone who considers himself a Golden Tee : you need to experience the feeling of rolling that ball back and pushing it as fast as you possibly can with the hope of hitting a perfect drive. Until you do, you haven’t lived!
All-Pro Football 2K8
In the decade-plus since it’s release everyone still talks about how NFL 2K5 is the best football game ever. Well, have you ever played All-Pro Football 2K8?
Even without the NFL license — the game did have legends like Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, John Elway and more — this game was damn good. It took the gameplay elements we all loved from 2K5, and made them that much better.
There may not be a multi-season franchise mode available, but if you look at what the APF community has done over the years to keep the game alive, you can have hours, days, and even months of fun yourself.
Pablo Sanchez. Pete Wheeler. Angela Delvecchio. The list goes on and on.
The Sandlot of baseball games, everything about Backyard Baseball was simple yet fun. It was a game geared towards kids, but even teenagers and adults can find enjoyment with the game. There were different pitch styles, different bats, and different powerups that made each game feel fresh.
From the list of unique characters and personalities to season modes that mixed the fictional players with real-life players (as kids), there are hours of fun to be had with this franchise. Tell me you didn’t love whipping out a crazy bunt on your opponent to knock in some runs?
Another simple to play game, NHL 94 is the hockey game that most people in their early 30s and up remember as being the first hockey game they played. A simple three-button control scheme with easy to learn, hard to master gameplay made NHL 94 one of the deepest sports games at the time. The game introduced the one-timer to hockey video games, and nothing would ever be the same again for players.
The AI kind of sucked, but when you play the game with friends, it was couch play at its finest. Plus, that person who decided to pick the Chicago Blackhawks was well within punching distance should they deserve it. Which, to be honest, they did just by picking them in the first place.
Tecmo Super Bowl
Tecmo Super Bowl was the very first football game to feature both the NFL and NFLPA licenses allowing the use of players and team names for the game.
It featured 9-on-9 football, full season mode, play now mode, some of the best gameplay of its time, and there’s just nothing to hate about this game. Unless you were facing Bo Jackson, but that’s for a different video altogether because he’s the greatest player in Tecmo Bowl history.
The game gets updated every year with new rosters, and you can still buy cartridges with the updated rosters every year. It’s stood the test of time, and is still great. It’s hard to put into words just how great this game was and still is.
Mike Tyson’s PunchOut!
One of the greatest boxing video games to ever come out and, to this day, is still talked about by many boxing fans and casual fans alike.
With iconic characters and an underdog storyline, Mike Tyson’s PunchOut was a video game that brought together people who weren’t even close to being boxing fans to the TV stand to try out and eventually take a shot at one of the most feared punchers on the planet in Tyson.
PunchOut was more of a patterned based fighting game where the user had to rely on cues and hints to beat the characters in the game. From King Hippo getting punched in the mouth to trigger his pants falling to Don Flamingo baiting you into punching him in the mouth and countering you with the nasty uppercut, the game was never short of entertainment for all who played it. Even though it lacked 3-minute rounds and, at times, believability (I mean, come on, I love Little Mac and that pink jumpsuit getting road work in behind Doc, but no way a tiny dude like that is beating a beefcake like Super Macho Man in real life with that Tornado Spin Punch let alone Mike Tyson), but what it lacked in realism it made up for with countless hours of fun for millions of people to enjoy.
And if you want to play it and have a Nintendo Switch, you can just sign up for Nintendo’s online service and you can play the game for free along with the other classics like Tecmo Bowl.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
While many will look back fondly on the original, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is the game in the series that really took it to new heights. From a great soundtrack to incredible gameplay depth, there was nothing that Pro Skater 2 didn’t offer players.
The game took almost everything great about the first installment and improved on it. Graphics took a nice step up, the game allowed players to pull off manuals to string tricks together, and players could even build there own skateparks.
The game was one of the few revered titles that was available to almost everyone whether you were on PlayStation, Nintendo or PC; the best part was that it played nearly identical in every version. It’s one of the highest-rated video games, let alone sports games, of all time, and is still played by many to this day.
So sports gamers, what do you think is one sports game that everyone needs to play at least once? Let us know in the comment section below, and stick with Sports Gamers Online for more great gaming content.