Everyone loves to play outside… inside. So what are the best sports video games?
In the words of the great Andy Samberg: ‘We like sports and we don’t care who knows’. We also like video games, so we LOVE sports video games.
For someone who is so mediocre at all sports, it’s wildly enjoyable to pretend to be a professional athlete from the comfort of my own bed with no consequences but plenty of emotional attachment. It’s also really soothing to know that if you’re losing you can always just turn off the PlayStation and start again. I’m a sore loser.
So, with that said, here is my totally biased top five favourite sports video games.
5) Ricky Ponting International Cricket 2005
Now a source of endless memes for its use of ‘close enough without getting sued’ player names, there will never be a cricket game quite like this. The simple arcade style gameplay made it so fun and exciting that you were happy to sit through an entire five day test match.
Even though getting a wicket was almost pure luck and the commentators didn’t actually commentate the match if they were in the middle of a story, these glitches only added to the games character. Ricky Ponting Cricket 2005 deserves to be on this list if not for the simple fact that I genuinely think I will never in my life feel the same disappointment as dropping a catch after bowling 6 straight hours without a wicket.
I know a lottttt of people hate NFL, and while I do think those people are stupid and ignorant, I understand why. It’s slow, arguably boring and not a lot actually goes on. But Madden is the exact opposite. The game manages to take out all the bullshit and just let you go for Hail Marys or sick runs every play.
There’s no feeling quite like returning a kick off 109 yards to the house, or breaking out the spin move to get past the last defender. This is especially fun because I’m so absolutely terrified of ever playing real NFL, but playing Madden still allows me to taunt the (fake) opposition and pretend like I actually have some athletic ability.
3) AFL (Pre 2008)
Okay, so I did warn you I’m a little bit biased. I’m an Aussie, born in Victoria, and therefore it is my legal obligation to love AFL with every fibre of my being. Yes, these games may not have had the best graphics, or gameplay, or commentary, or special features or absolutely anything that makes a great video game, but I still adore it.
In the game’s defence it is very difficult to create a video game for a sport with so many different aspects, so the developer, IR GURUS, did a pretty decent job. But overall, it’s the feeling of nostalgia and the shiver down your spine when you hear Dennis scream ‘HE’S KICKED THE COVER OFF IT’ after unloading a barrel from 75m out, that make this game so great.
Whilst some may argue AFL doesn’t deserve to be on this list, I don’t really care, because I’m writing the article, which I’m pretty sure makes me objectively correct. I think.
2) NBA2KIt’s a yes from me. Source: NBA2K17 World.
It’s really a two horse race for the best sports video game franchise of all time, and unfortunately for NBA2K it finished last in that race.
One of the few games that actually gets better with every new version, 2K has mastered so many different game styles as well as incredible graphics and extremely realistic gameplay. It’s also very fun for a 170cm white boy to pretend to be a seven foot tall African-American and dunk from anywhere on the court.
This was the first game that really blurred the lines between video games and reality, and its single player career mode revolutionised the sports gaming industry. The 2K series as a whole both celebrates the athletes and taps into the excitement of the NBA. And the fact that it is so realistic makes it one of my all-time favourite games to play.
Was there ever any doubt? If you don’t think FIFA is the single greatest game ever created in the history of mankind, I have no time for you and we can no longer be friends.
If God came down to Earth and morphed him/herself into a small disk shaped object, that would be FIFA. If aliens came to our planet and asked us to produce our single finest product, we would sit them in front of a TV and set them up as Real v Barca on FIFA 12. It’s the game where absolutely everyone thinks they’re the best and nobody remembers their losses. The game that can divide friendships and unite teammates more than any other. And most importantly, it’s the game that can make you either throw your remote into your TV in frustration or jump off your chair so high you tear your ACL celebrating.
From being able to run from the referee when he was trying to book you in FIFA 94, to the glory days of Ultimate Team and The Journey in FIFA 17, there will never be a game quite like FIFA. It simply is the GOAT.
So there you have it!
If you agree with this list of the best sports video games, hooray! If you hate this list and me personally, please leave angry abusive comments in the comments section and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.