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.

 

 


SBS Stadium Series: A Night at The Joe

Written by :
Published on : January 5, 2016

 

 

Every year for the holidays I make a trip back home and on that trip, I visit one of my favorite places in all of the world. It’s a place that is very familiar to me. I know it well. The smell, the feel of the concourse under my feet, that bite of cold air as I descend the stairs to my usual Christmas holiday seats on the glass. To me, this is hallowed ground. The holiest of sporting venues. A place where legends have been made, and champions have been crowned. It is the historic Joe Louis Arena, affectionately known as The Joe. It’s in Detroit, Michigan and it is by far my favorite place to watch any type of sporting match.

 

And sadly, it’s days are numbered.

 

Upon arrival, my first thoughts were on how this could be one of my last few times in this wonderful building that has been the location of so many fond memories. It added a shade of melancholy to the joy that I usually feel once I set foot inside the building. Not necessarily sadness, just a thought in the back of my mind that very soon these halls will be empty and the banners will be moved up Woodward to the new, as yet unnamed arena, set to be ready for the start of the 2017-2018 NHL season.

 

Red Wings Banners
                                                         All these banners will soon have a new home

 

One of my favorite things about the arena is the fact that isn’t named after some mega-corporation. No, it carries the name of, perhaps, the most legendary sporting figures in the history of the great city of Detroit. Along with Madison Square Garden, it’s the only arena in all of the NHL that lacks corporate sponsorship, and I love it. I hope with every part of my being that somehow the new stadium will be free of the chains of corporate sponsorship. And like Joe Louis Arena, it will be erected to honor those that have made a difference in the place that was once one of the most important arms in the Arsenal of Democracy. I’m afraid that might be too much to hope for, but that’s a discussion for another time.

 

This game featured my beloved Detroit Red Wings versus the New Jersey Devils. It didn’t go exactly as planned, as the Wings started Jimmy Howard and his overblown contract in net. Jimmy helped the Wings start the game with a 3-0 deficit in the 1st period, despite only seeing 6 total shots. Coach came to his senses after goal number three and replaced him with the, at this point in his career, more talented Petr Mrazek. After that, the game was far more exciting and the Wings gained on the Devils only to lose the game 4-3.

 

A view of the action
                                                                                  A view of the action

 

That’s ok though, I’m was happy just to be back home at the Joe, and there’s nothing like the energy in that place when everyone is chanting “Let’s Go Red Wings!” and those players are battling it out right before your eyes. The $19 double jack ‘n cokes were flowing and my comrades and I were in it together, cheering on our boys in red and white. There are few feelings quite like that and sometimes that’s enough. Sure, a win would have been nice, but just being there was a win in my book.

 

Another bonus was that this was the first time I had the chance to see the Wings’ exciting new rookie player, Dylan Larkin play live. He added yet another goal to a rookie season that has far exceeded expectations. This kid is the real deal and if you ask me he is the next Red Wings’ captain-in-training. It’s going to take a while, but he’s that good. When you think about the fact that he is the first teenager (19) to play in a game for the Wings since Steve Yzerman in 1983-84, it’s almost too perfect. And he’s from Michigan!?!? It just makes too much sense, he has to be the next guy to wear that “C” on his jersey.

 

That’s my prediction for next captain of the Detroit Red Wings, you heard it here first. Only it won’t be here. Not in The Joe. I guess I’ll have to get used to that. After all, the only thing constant in this world is change. That’s ok, I still have the rest of the season and then the next. Then it will just be memories, and what great memories they are!

 

 


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