Well, folks, I won’t lie to you. While editing The Law Dog’s most recent top ten, it took me back to a simpler time. A time when you had to master two buttons to play a video game. A time when you actually had to get up and go over to your friend’s house with a bunch of buddies to play the RBI Baseball tournament. A time when up, up, down, down, B, A, select, start was understood by everyone. A time 007 373 5963 (thanks Benny) brought you to Iron Mike.
I hope you have as much fun reading this one as I did.
THE LAW DOG’S TOP 10 SPORTS VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME!
Full Disclosure: I haven’t touched a video game in like 10 years. I’ve never played Halo or Call of Duty. I’ve never used a headset or played a guy from across the country online. When I played video games against other people, they had to be in the same room using the same console. That being said, I grew up in the golden age of sports video games and I played most of them…..and I played them a lot. Like having EZ Pass, playing video games was almost a prerequisite for me to be friends with you. (Honestly, if you don’t have EZ Pass or whatever it’s called in your state, you are a moron. It’s cheaper and you don’t have to wait in line. And no, I don’t care if you never use roads with tolls.)
Shout out to my boy JK who gave me the idea to do this list: Top 10 Sports Video Games Of All Time. I should also mention I didn’t include games that started in the arcade before being converted to console games (sorry NBA JAM).
10. RBI Baseball / Nintendo Baseball / Baseball Stars
Ok, ok, ok…I know. I couldn’t pick between these three so they all share my 10th spot. RBI Baseball was great because it had real teams and the best graphics of the three. I have a special place in my heart for Baseball Stars because you could climb the wall to make a home run saving catch, and the Ninjas were awesome. But Nintendo Baseball is the OG. Pitching had fastballs, curve balls, slow pitches…you actually controlled the base runners, and you always knew when you connected on one so good it was going out of the park. Oh, and if you didn’t play with the black team, you are an alien.
9. Lakers Vs Celtics NBA Playoffs
This game was AWESOME! Each team had a star, and each star had a special move. David Robinson had the windmill dunk from the block, Jordan had the up and under layup (hilarious that Jordan’s move wasn’t a dunk…hahahahaha), Barkley had the tomahawk slam, and Bird had the turnaround three from the corner. What made the game memorable was the best move was by a player that didn’t even make the original NBA’s top 50 all time list and isn’t even in the Hall of Fame. Tom Chambers on the Suns had a double pump dunk from the three point line…YES, THE THREE POINT LINE! It could not be defended. He literally flew through the air like Superman. The guy who made it must have been a huge Chambers fan. I mean, even Mitch Richmond is in the Hall of Fame!
8. Excite Bike
This might be the most controversial selection, and I’m sure readers will shout out 10 games more deserving in their minds. I don’t care. This game ruled! The best part about this game was you could make your own tracks! My brother and I spent hours upon hours making the most ridiculous and grueling tracks ever created. I would put our tracks up against anyone. Even the computer bikers would quit on our tracks! The game was ahead of its time.
I have to be honest here, I grew up playing NBA Live with my boy and Wayniac Nation’s own Benny Smalls (who cheated all the time by knocking down players you were passing to which I hated). However, I have to admit that NBA2K has taken over as the best basketball game out there. This game may also have started the marketing strategy now used by every game company. Don’t show the game in commercials, just show cool graphics that look nothing like the actual game and people will buy it. (*Sidenote – I got my revenge on Benny by beating him this week in Fantasy to go to the finals……against Wayniac of all people!)
6. Tiger Woods PGA Tour
By far the best golf game ever created. Real players, real courses and the swing wasn’t just hitting a button. By the way, is Tiger Woods the only player to be outright replaced as the name on a game? I think he might be. Did anyone ever have a worse day that that fateful Thanksgiving Eve when Tiger woke up to being beaten by his own golf club? I think not.
5. NHL (93-present)
This game is just awesome. Even one of the oldest versions was great. The one featured in the movie Swingers where Vince Vaughan is going to do “the thing with the thing” to Gretzky….that version was tremendous. However, NHL 97 was my absolute favorite. Once you figured out “the move” to score goals, you couldn’t be stopped. If you don’t know the move, I feel sorry for you. I also know you probably got your ass kicked whenever you played NHL 97. In college, we even went so far as to buy the elbow controller that allowed 5 people to play at once and we would all play on the same team. Best video game experience I can ever remember is five guys screaming at each other playing NHL 97.
The year I played most was 98 and all I can say is Bergkamp dude….Bergkamp. This game is phenomenal. The key was constant passing and playing with Netherlands so you could have Bergkamp on your team. He was so good that he got the cover the following year even though he didn’t win a single award in 1998 or 1999. He was just so good in the game, he got the cover the next year. First time ever the dominance in the game trumped real life to get a cover.
3 Mike Tyson’s Punch Out
Out of all the games on this list, I may have spent the most time playing this game. I still remember the feeling when you found out the secret key to beating each opponent. I think Bald Bull was my favorite opponent to beat. It was like beating up Charles Barkley (who I absolutely love so I’m not sure why that is). Although I do have to say that I loved, loved, LOVED what Soda Popinski brought to the table. You know, reinforcing the whole Cold War and everything. And when he went down, HE WENT DOWN. Really tough game, too. I think my record against Mike Tyson is 7 wins and 284 losses. But those 7 wins…can’t take those away from me.
2. (Super) Tecmo Bowl
I so, so, SO wanted to make this game #1, but at the end of the day I just couldn’t do it. But this game was freaking great on so many levels. It was the little things….the real players, tangling with a guy and winning the battle to keep running, weaving in and out on your way to scoring a touchdown, the 80-yard pass, and of course : Bo Jackson. I will say this about playing with the Raiders….Howie Long was just as dominant on the defensive side of the ball as Bo was on offense. If you knew how to move up then dive down toward the QB, you would get seven sacks a game from Long. Other notable great players included LT blocking every FG/XPT, Montana was unbelievable, and Randall was the man as well. Super Tecmo started keeping season stats which was mind blowing at the time. All in all, just a great great game.
1. Madden NFL – All years
Ok…this is a no brainer, right? This game not only broke the mold when it was released, but the evolution has been quite a rise in both graphics and capabilities. From juke moves, to the year they had the combine, to the ability to start your own franchise, to now a button that executes a back shoulder throw and catch, Madden has dominated the sports video game landscape for 25 years. The guy is worth $200-million and the most he ever made as a coach was like $100,000 a year and the most as a broadcaster was like $1 million per year. That just goes to show how successfully this game is. (* Sidenote: I completely made up both of those salary numbers, but I stick by them as a means to an end to make my point).
Ice Hockey – I always picked all fat guys to prove a point that us fat guys can play too!