For those of us who love the spectacle of sports the world over, we watch the highly skilled men and women battling and busting every ounce of energy all the name of glory on our TV's, you think to yourself momentarily that you would love to emulate their achievements, and quietly promise yourself to take up a sport. The stark reality is however that you are either too old, too fat or just too lazy to do anything about it. Thankfully, the video game realm comes to the rescue yet again. You can reach those peaks of glory by sitting on your sofa or wraggleing about in your living room, safely and soundly immersed in a sporting simulation. I must admit, I really should have played more from this genre over the years, but as I'm not into American sports much, the tons of titles featuring the likes of NHL, NFL and NBA have all passed me by. Almost. Here is my definitive top 10 list of sporting games. Seconds out...#10 The Final Round - Honestly the only boxing game I really took to heart, and many a wasted hour were spent with me and my brother pretending to be the musclebound pugilists, fighting against the facsimiles of boxing movies. Presented in a bright, caricature style, this was easy to get into, had some nice slo-mo during the ring action and had fun bonus stages. For me and my younger sibling, this was a knockout. (Groan!)
#9 Links 386 Pro - Including some the worlds most famous courses, this golf sim of my old PC was excellently detailed, fine graphics with flybys, alternative commentaries and expansion discs for yet more courses. It got a lot of playtime as a result, completely trashing my first PC and it's a shame it's tricky to run nowadays on modern PC's, because it's follow ups never quite captured the charm of this. This was not first golfing sim I played however, that honour goes too...
#8 PGA Tour Golf - The first and original proper golf simulation in my book. The interface was genius in it's simplicity but difficulty to master, it's a system that many golf games used in various incarnations. The visuals were great for the time in a surreal way, and it had currant golfers tips on courses, flybys and a pro-shop to customise your bag. All future golf games owed this a dept of gratitude for me.
#7 NBA Jam - Full motion video on the SNES?! Oh yes, my mate who bought this before me was bouncing off the walls with excitement over this. But, in actuality this was merely 2 minimal frame rate vids; the real winning aspect of this game was the general madness of the play. It was quick and frantic, and was vastly amusing with the flaming hoops and outrageous slam dunks. Current NBA stars were included on the roster to add an even more authentic feel. Basketball is always more fun to watch, but this made it fun to play too.
#6 FIFA Football 2003 - The FIFA football series has been running since the early nineties and I have enjoyed many of these versions over the years. Every year a new version gets churned out, but 2003 stood out because of the change in the dynamics of the gameplay, the enhanced faces of the footballers and the large team roster. Later releases have been good but samey, so I hark back to this as my favourite footy game. I did immensely enjoy the previous top-downs such as Kick-Off and Sensible Soccer, but the depth this gave was captivating, becoming a more real simulation in the process.
|Seconds later, any hopes on having children were dashed.|
#4 WWE Smackdown!: Shut Your Mouth - Pro-Wrestling games took a turn for the good with the release of WWF Smackdown! in 1999, and from then on went from strength to strength. For me, the series reached a high-point with this, the fourth entry to the franchise. The sequel was also of high-quality, but this was this one I played the most and became hooked yet again on the world of choreographed fighting and zany plot-lines It had all you needed to create your own roster of grapplers and included all the popular superstars of the time. It's control systems was better and the presentation was all round championship winning. Today's versions are good, especially in the visuals, but don't better this for all round brilliance.
#3 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 - Yet another bandwagon of EA releases sold in the name of one of the most revered golfers to grace the game, this installment made me take notice due to the sheer ease of playability and satisfaction of shot-making. The courses were detailed, the flow was impeccable and the assisting soundtrack was top drawer. The season mode too was enjoyable, the live calender was clever and the create mode was fun. The best golf game on the PS2.
#2 Super Tennis - You may have heard me bleat on about this before, and to that end I make no excuses or apologies Tennis is a marmite sport for many, but Super Tennis made it approachable and playable for the masses. One of the launch games for the Super Nintendo, it still is one of the finest tennis sims around, even with the advent of motion control and more realistic definition of the players. Fun, fast, easy to get to grips with and challenging, this should be the basis of how all tennis games are made. No over complicating with the reality of physics or rules, just fun stuff, pure and simple, and I AM serious! (2 points for 'getting' that quip!)
|But Luke, I AM your father!|
So, there goes the final whistle of my top 10 sporting games. Have you any favourites I haven't included? What about you Madden fans? Do you feel there is a better WWE game than Shut Your Mouth? Please comment and discuss, the Bug always loves a chatter. Hopefully see you in a day whereas I delve into something really personal into my gaming history. Until then....