Sports games constitute of the most financially successful genres of the video game world. The wide appeal to fans of real life sports is clear, and fans will buy their game system just to get their hands on the newest NBA 2K or Madden title.

Many of these franchises have been going for years, and it’s interesting to look back and see how far we’ve come. Here are five sports games that we will always cherish for their playability and features that were never seen before in gaming.

UFC 3 (MMA)

UFC 3 is widely considered the best MMA game thus far. Even though it has been over two years since it has launched it’s still being updated with the latest in roster changes and skills of the fighters. If you followed the UFC 249 odds, picks, and predictions, you would know that Justin Gaethje was a +250 underdog versus the well-respected Tony Ferguson before they met in the octagon last month.

After Justin’s incredible performance, his rating in UFC 3 was updated to reflect his skills and status as the new interim champion. These updates provide the game with a lot of depth, and keeps it from going stale to fans as well as change up the online play. MMA fans have greatly enjoyed the UFC series and cannot wait for the upcoming release of UFC 4. 

Madden 2004 (NFL Football)

The Madden football series is the ultimate sports game franchise and has enjoyed great longevity as a result. The roots of this series will take you all the way back to 1988 with John Madden Football on Apple II, MS-DOS and the Commodore 64. With so many legendary releases that have pushed the expectations for video games as a whole, it is certainly hard to pick the most influential Madden title of all, but fans of the series would all agree, there is truly something magical about Madden 2004.

This installment brought many industry changing features that would set the groundwork for future releases. By 2006, the game had sold over 3.5 million copies and grossed $170 million in the US alone, making it one of the best selling games of all time.

FIFA 14 (Soccer)

Another beloved series, FIFA is essentially Madden for soccer fans. Critics gave this title top marks across the board, and the game was a huge financial success for EA Sports. FIFA 14 brought the series to the newest generation of game consoles, the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. With more licensed leagues and stadiums than ever before, signature goal dances, realistic ball physics, and numerous other features, FIFA 14 holds up to this day and is still played by fans. The title is also one of the best-selling in the series with 15 million copies sold in under a year.

Wii Sports (Various)

Sometimes video games are successful not because of groundbreaking features or hyped up releases. Sometimes, it’s because they are just plain fun. Wii Sports was an absolute smash hit for Nintendo because of the captivating gameplay that friends could enjoy together, utilizing their new wireless motion technology. What’s incredible is that the game was free, bundled with the release of the Nintendo Wii.

What in turn happened was millions of Nintendo Wii units were sold just for this title alone. The game contained several sports mini games that were simple and enjoyable. With Wii golf, tennis, boxing, bowling and more, there was something for everyone and the casual nature of the game turned into a memorable and enjoyable experience.

NBA Jam (Basketball)

All kids growing up in the 90s can recall this illustrious title. From its realistic graphics that accurately represented the NBA basketball players, to the “heating up” power ups that allowed you to sink baskets from across the court, this game presented new elements that made it exciting for players. Famously, it also brought us the all-time greatest catch phrase in video game history:  BOOM SHAKA LAKA!!

The game NBA Jam is as synonymous with this era as Street Fighter or Super Mario World. Between the home title release and the popular arcade cabinets, the game is rumored to have grossed over $1 Billion, a staggering amount for an early 1990s game. The gameplay was fast-paced, high-energy, captivating with the bright graphics, and overall just incredibly fun to play. Over 25 years later many fans still consider this to be one of the best sports games ever.