Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Best and Worst Sports Video Games of All Time

Over the years, my interest in video games has dwindled. However, I still play most of the sports video games, usually a year or two old on Playstation 2 . Over the years sports games have become more and more life like, realistic and user friendly. Unfortunately, in my opinion, these games have become too realistic and get bogged down in minor details that make the games no fun. For instance, I was enticed to buy MLB '08 The Show because Ryan Howard was on the cover. This game is way to specific on how they want you to swing, and pitching has to be perfect. It is not any fun to play and I don't think I have used it more than twice. A shame. Vidja game designers need to take a lesson from Bud Kilmer and stick to the basics. He is a wise wise man. Usually, the easier a game is to play, the more fun it is. Here are my choices for best and worst sports video games of all time.

I have two choices for best baseball game of all time. The first game is Ken Griffey Jr. Major League Baseball for N64. This game was great for a variety of reasons. First, was that the batting circle was easy to use and a beginner could hit the ball in no time. Secondly, the pitching was awesome. Who could forget Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling throwing the signature "Super Fast Ball". Finally, this game was great because it had a memory device built into the game. No fancy and expensive memory paks required to save your season in KGJMLB.

The other choice for best baseball game was the college cult classic MVP Baseball 05. Some of the most heated baseball games of all time came in this game. Another very easy to use game, that was great in two player head to head mode. Unfortunately, this was the last year EA Sports had rights to baseball games I believe, and they have suffered since. Never were there more 13-12 nail biters than in MVP '05.

For the worst baseball game of all time, I will have to give the nod to "Mike Piazza's Strike Zone". If I'm not mistaken, this game was released around the same time as Ken Griffey Jr. Major League Baseball, and the also popular All Star Baseball '99 with Larry Walker on the cover, giving it instant street cred. Despite being contemporaneous with the other two, this game sucked. It's graphics hearkened back to Nintendo or worse, it wasn't very easy to play, and after every play you had to hear a sound clip of Mike Piazza's shitty band that sounded like it was recorded in a garage. Just a terrible game.

In football, there hasn't been much competition since the Madden franchise came about. Mike Ditka Power Football was sweet because if you replaced the punter with a fast guy and did a fake punt, he would score every time. Joe Montana Sports Talk Football was pretty fluid and tried new things like the "blimp view" which was a bust, but it was fun to play. NFL QB Club was fun because you could participate in the quarterback challenge, and perform late hits. Tecmo Bowl had some classic players like LT and Ronnie Lott who dominated the game. Despite all of these however, Madden takes the cake when it comes to best football game to play. Franchise mode is awesome, and the ease of use is pretty great.

Although it is the best NFL franchise, John Madden also takes the cake for the worst football game of all time with "John Madden 64". What a joke this thing was. Madden didn't get any NFL naming rights, so instead of the New England Patriots being led by Drew Bledsoe, Bledsoe trotted onto the field for the "Foxboro" team. Instead of playing in the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, the teams competed in the EAS Bowl and the Madden Bowl. Why put a game out there like this when fans are used to so much more? I blame fat lazy Madden.

With basketball, there is only one great. NBA Jam. I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I had because of this game. The dunks, going on fire, throwing elbows, the special players (who doesn't remember typing in ARK for Bill Clinton, or being Will Smith or the Suns gorilla?) the commentary, turbo; it was all amazing. For some reason I could never perform well with the Bulls, everyone's favorite team. I always sucked with them. My team was the Sixers with Hornacek and Weatherspoon (for SNES). I used to put up sick numbers with them. NBA Jam Tournament Edition was a decent follow up with new players, power ups and the rookie team, but nothing will ever beat the original.

Worst game ever goes to Dick Vitale's "Awesome Baby" College Hoops. I have never played this game but I can't imagine playing a game endorsed by Dickie V. It would probably make me want to stab myself in both ears. Also, I heard tell that for each shot, the game stops, goes to a set screen and a free throw meter type thing must be completed for the shot to go in. What a buzz kill.

As you can guess, my vote for best hockey game is of course NHL '94. No brainer here. The teams, the fights, the wrap-around or "banana boat" goals. It was the best. The originator for hockey video games.

The worst hockey video game I ever had was with Wayne Gretzky Hockey for NES. I was very young and didn't know all the rules at the time, and I recall getting called for icing or offsides on every play, and not being able to turn those calls off. I was almost in tears. Wayne Gretzky came out with another hockey game for PS2 in 2006 that was also terrible. It seems that he has the shit touch (opposite of Midas touch) when it comes to endorsements. And coaching.

Tigah tigah tigah Woods y'all!

Worst: Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge. You have chosen DRIVER. Ball in PARKING LOT, would you like shoot again? You have chosen NO.

That's it for me. Feel free to leave your own favorites and least favorites!


  1. You forgot NFL Blitz, that game was alot of fun to play. Also, college basketball games used to be cool even with the absence of uniforms, you could still pretend UCLA had Tyus Edney and Ed O'Bannon. There is no question that Madden has gone downhill, once they tried to hard to appeal to the video gaming freaks like Kohut, they lost the general populace.

  2. I agree with KGJMLB being a great baseball game. Some people try and say the SNES version is superior to the N64 version, those people are maniacs.

    Worst baseball game ever is Tony La Russa Baseball for SEGA. The name says it all.

    Of the entire Madden franchise, Madden 94 for SEGA is the best one ever. Thurman Thomas or Emmitt Smith on an HB Toss Left is virtually unstoppable.

    NBA Jam is sweet, but you forgot the early 2k series for Dreamcast. Underrated, IMO.

    Loved NHL 94, used to be the Flyers and always play against the CPU Senators. They were terrible. Regularly scored 12-15 goals.

    Are you only counting pro sports video games? If not, the Mario franchise is great as well.

  3. how come everyone's hating on Albert??

  4. dude - how could you forget the instant racing car classic, Mario Kart?