The Best Classic Sports Video Games EVER!

Written by :
Published on : July 27, 2016

 

 

Sports video games these days are hyper-real. The latest versions of Madden and FIFA are so intense that I can barely stand it. I prefer my games a little more pixelated. It builds character. And if I wanted life-like sports action then I will just watch real sports. Which I do, all the time. But if you have a Super Nintendo and Mutant League Hockey then I’m coming over. So, let’s make some pizza rolls, get the bean bag chairs and blow the dust out of some of the best sports video games ever made.

 

I was born in 1985, so there aren’t too many legit sports games that are “before my time.” Odyssey, Atari, Apple Computers, Nintendo, Sega, Super Nintendo, Neo Geo, Sega Genesis, 32X, Playstation, Sega CD, Virtual Boy, Dreamcast, Xbox, Wii, PS4, Xbox 360—I’ve played it all. Plus all the handheld systems. Not just Game Boy, I mean everything. So believe me, these are the greatest sports video games Japan has to offer. I’ll break it down by sport because it’s too hard to rank them.

 

atari soccer

 

Basketball

Double Dribble

This Konami production was one of the first b-ball arcade games around. Full 5-on-5 action with fun cut sequences and even the singing of the National Anthem.

 

Barkley Shut Up and Jam!

This game makes the list because it was the first I can remember to feature street ball. Tipoff takes place on outdoor courts and players go by cool nicknames like Funky D and Fly By. Clearly, Sir Charles was ahead of his time.

 

NBA Jam

Two-on-two action with real NBA stars. No fouls, witty commentators and awesome secret code options for unlockable characters make this a classic. “He’s on fire!”

 

NBA Jam

 

Hockey

Mutant League Hockey

Monsters? On skates? Yes please. One of my personal favs. It was colorful, brutal and lots of fun. And better than its football equivalent (Mutant League Football).

 

Blades of Steel

Surprisingly good gameplay for 80’s standards. This release had full fledge hockey mechanics that blazed the trail for future titles. Plus it had fighting. So everyone loved it.

 

NHL ’94

Maybe the best hockey game ever made. It had real players and teams and dope controls for super fun action. The replay value was off the charts.

 

NHL 94

 

Baseball

– Wii Sports: Baseball

Maybe a little young to be a true classic but you get to really throw and swing using the motion-sensing controller. This blew everyone’s minds when it first came out. It also led to some property damage as my over-zealous friends threw the wii-motes around the living room.

 

RBI Baseball

The first console game to get the MLB license so it could feature real ball player’s names. Pretty deep in terms of options for hitting and pitching.

 

Hardball!

This earns its spot on the list because of how complex it was. Nothing was as deep or advanced as Hardball!. Options abound in play and management. An epic accomplishment.

 

HardBall

 

Football

Tecmo Super Bowl

What can be said about Tecmo that hasn’t already been said about Jesus? This was the standard to which all others will be measured.

 

NFL Blitz

Like NBA Jam but for football. Smaller play books, less players on the field but maximum entertainment. Most memorable thing would have to be insane, bone-crushing hits. Let’s see that again.

 

John Madden Football

This launched the biggest sports video game franchise ever. John Madden graced the cover. I don’t think he was worried about any curse.

 

Cyberball

7-on-7 football featuring robots of different shapes and sizes. The bots exploded if you tackled them hard enough. An arcade favorite for good reason.

 

NFL Quarterback Club 96

Full NFL license for teams and names? Check. Depth of plays and modes? Check. Quarterback challenge mode? Check. Challenge mode lets you take one QB and compete in a series of tests and drills. It’s the best.

 

QB Club 96

 

Other

Cruising USA

Still one of the sickest racing games. The arcade version rocks and can be found in bowling alleys and movie theaters around the country. This game was the model for all the fancy racers we have today.

 

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

Best boxing game ever. Also one of the hardest. But it makes sense because no one could beat Tyson back then.

 

Duck Hunt

A Hall of Fame classic. Only thing I don’t like about this game is that fucking dog. If he laughs at me one more time, I swear we are taking him to live on grandpa and grandma’s farm.

 

Duck-Hunt

 

Road Rash

A motorcycle game where players compete in illegal street races for cash and glory. It’s the original Fast and the Furious. Also, you got to hit the other bikers with chains and clubs. You know kids liked that.

 

Pong

The original gangster of the sports video game world. There was nothing before Pong.

 

California Games

The first surfing game ever. Additionally, it featured skateboarding, roller skating, hacky-sack, frisbee and BMX. I’m not kidding. Hacky-sack or freestyle footbag as they call it. I’m surprised there isn’t any avocado in there.

 

california_games

 

I’m sure I’ve left out tons of awesome video games. Leave a comment and if it’s convincing enough, I’ll go on ebay and buy it. But if you want to come over and play then you’ll need to bring snacks. Bagel Bites or better.

 

Pass the controller.

 

 


The Sports-Observer’s Paradox

Written by :
Published on : February 6, 2016

 

 

 

According to noted scholar Erwin Tillinghast’s Wikipedia page, the Observer’s Paradox is described thusly:

 

In the social sciences, (and physics and experimental physics,) the observer’s paradox refers to a situation in which the phenomenon being observed is unwittingly influenced by the presence of the observer/investigator

 

The implication, then, is that the mere act of observation itself has the power to affect that which is being observed, including its outcome.  So it’s not unreasonable for me to assume that when I watch a game, I have a certain and unique influence on the score.  As a fan, knowing this inarguable fact is validating and, perhaps, delusional.  Surely, ritualistically kissing my Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnastakanov “Believe” patch, yet to be sewn onto my Darren McCarty Jersey, had a singular sway on the ’98 Detroit Red Wings-Washington Capitals Stanley Cup Final!

 

But taken to its logical extreme, this reality can also have terrible consequences.  For instance: that yellowish (not maize) Block-M shirt I wear? A definite bad luck charm for the University of Michigan Football team, but good for the Men’s Basketball team.  Skip watching a Wings home game? Whoops, turns out Larkin scored four hat-tricks.  Watch the next game, and it’s another third period meltdown.  What happens when the Sports-Observer’s Paradox goes wrong?

 

This Sports-Observer’s Paradox covers the unfortunate experience of your viewership befouling the entire existence of a high-level athlete.  Every time you watch this supposed all-star, it’s anything but an all-star experience.  They can’t hit a shot! You also know the feeling too well, when your friends are talking about Athlete X and glowing about that one goal or that clutch shot; you’re confused, because you know that this player is hyped and popular, but you thought at least your buds would get it.  Each time you watch Athlete X, they’re stumbling over themselves, dribbling in circles, or shooting the puck / ball / whatever out of bounds to the benefit of nobody.  Are you somehow ruining these fools?

 

Hockey: Rick Nash

(stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com)

The story to tell here is not so complicated.  Every time I watch this guy, he becomes a sluggy vortex of avarice, happier to shoot the puck in the general direction of the goal than to pass it to a teammate.  I guess it’s okay to be a big goal-scorer if you’re a prolific beast who hits and pelters the goal with a hailstorm of galvanized fury; Rick Nash is a marshmallow.  He’s a gummy, semi-hardened marshmallow that’s been through the ringer, but still a marshmallow.  He’s a goal scorer that doesn’t score enough to be such a terrible creator and provider.  He needs to give up the rock.  Shit or get off the pot, as they say.

 

Rick Nash Regular Season Stats

 

Nash is likely to plop a goal in when I’m not watching, but since he joined New York, he’s played dozens of nationally televised games.  Many of these came during the last two years, during which time Nash’s Rangers played 44 playoff games.  That’s two deep Stanley Cup runs, which can be a drain both physically and mentally when a player is locked in.  But when a player is Rick Nash, they only score EIGHT TIMES IN FORTY-FOUR GAMES.    That’s $8 Million a year well-spent!  Gotta love an all-star that excels when it doesn’t matter, and makes no one around him better.  Rick Nash: deadly once every six games.

 

To be fair, many, many other people have also seen this version of Rick Nash.

 

Rick Nash Playoff Stats

 

 

Soccer: Arjen Robben

It’s not even a secret, but rather a defining trait: Arjen Robben has a signature move.  He cuts left.  He has a very, very deadly left foot.  He loves his left foot.

 

 

He loves it for a reason. One would think that this predictability would be a tremendous Achilles’ heel, and every time I watch him, that looks to be true.  He’s maddeningly predictable, but not just in that move; his featherlight, dainty paws are vulnerable to tackles, grass, wind, and strong emotions.  If an opponent feels a powerful sense of ennuí, Robben is likely to fall over and draw an unwarranted card.  Yet…

 

Robben Fall

 

…It works! But still, fuck this guy, right?  What a flamboyantly aggressive display of spinelessness.  I actually saw this moment, which was technically a very positive outcome for the Dutch national team.  But what’s good for the Oranje is not always good for the sport. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the unbecoming flair of this floppery is directly caused by the incompetence of all soccer refereeing, but still — it’s not a good look.  Whenever I watch Robben, this is the best he can do.  I always miss the incredible moments that are apparently happening.

 

You look at that, and it’s easy to say that these lousy Barcelona defenders are fools to have put themselves in such a vulnerable position only to fall prey to a guy who can’t even use his right foot!  He ALWAYS CUTS LEFT.

 

Robben cuts right

 

HE GOES… to his right foot

…Except when he doesn’t.  But of course,  I’m always at work at that time, and I never see those moments, or any of the other brilliant, shameless antics.  So he remains a craven chump to me.

 

The examples go on and on, such as the excellent quarterback mirage of Carson Palmer 2014-15; Kyrie Irving, the best player on the planet that I’ve never seen do anything on the court when there are any sort of stakes; ditto for NHL goalkeeper Roberto Luongo.  Is this the result of some faulty alignment of all the parallel universes in existence? A tear in the space-time continuum? String theory?

 

The ScoreBoredSports Science Division is currently hard at work researching this phenomenon in our secret hydroponic laboratory.  While we wait for the answers, you, the reader, can help by asking yourselves: which athlete is your paradox?

 

 


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