Sports video games can go one of two ways, either being stellar hits that wow sports fans all over the globe, or being woeful flops, which look like they were launched without even being adequately tested.
Here we take a look at some of the games that hit that perfect sweet spot between being endlessly playable, true enough to the sport in order for fans to care, and having the sticking power to launch a series of games that garners longevity. These are the best sports video games ever made, many of which are still played on cloud gaming platforms and retro consoles to this day.
NCAA Football 14
College football is often seen as being the gatekeeper of American football’s soul as the NFL lurches from one embarrassing situation to another, and many sports bettors prefer to wager on NCAA games than on those from the NFL. Gridiron video games tend to follow the same logic, with the NFL Madden franchise churning out games that are littered with annoying bugs, as well as EA’s exclusive license meaning they have no rivals to worry about and so little pressure on their shoulders to improve their offering. That was what made NCAA Football 14 so refreshing to play, as its developers took the demands of fans into account in order to produce gameplay that has not been bettered since.
Whereas American football fans have always cried out for a seminal game to get their teeth into, soccer fans have no such problem. There are a plethora of great games that recreate the action from leagues like the German Bundesliga and the English Premier League. However, the one that stands out from the crowd is actually a SIM by the name of Football Manager (formerly known as Championship Manager). The stats that the developers of this game employed were so accurate that they are now used by the likes of online sports betting sites and professional football scouts. Indeed, the game is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge for any footy fan looking to get information ahead of using the risk-free bets that some online operators provide, such is the veracity of the data that the game is based on. And it is not just sports bettors who are finding the game useful, with some budding managers having started their careers on the game before switching to real life football management.
NBA 2K2 is one of those games that, despite not having aged well, graphically still stands up as one of the most playable to be found anywhere, with sports bettors and basketball aficionados alike still enjoying its retro charms.
Released in 2001 the game was particularly loved because it included retired NBA legends like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who players could team up with alongside top pros like Kobe Bryant and Tony Parker. However, the thing that really set the game apart was that its creators understood what basketball bettors and ardent franchise fans look out for in every single quarter they watch.
Players of the game could choose from a range of game modes as well as being able to set up complex plays, combo blocks, and even double teaming. Few games since have managed to ape the vagaries of the sport in a way that convinces fans they are part of something that is the real deal. The latest NBA 2K22 is now available to play on Xbox and PlayStation.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Now that skateboarding has made its debut at the Olympics, it seems appropriate to include this seminal game on a list such as this. It was played tirelessly upon release in 2000, both by people who were skating diehards and those folks who had never set foot on a board in all their life.