20 of the Best Sports Video Games of All Time

Best Sports Video Games

Sport is a vital part of many different cultures. The success and misfortune of sporting events like the MLB World Series and the UEFA Champions League tournament are woven into people’s identities. But sometimes watching isn’t enough. Sometimes, people want to control the movements and decisions of their favourite teams and players. One way of doing so is through fun stimulations, such as video games.

Sports video games can foster an individual’s love for a sport, and inspire their hopes and dreams to play, all while giving them the ability to control different situations they might one day face.

Here are some of the best sports video games available/of all time.

20. Best Sports Video Games: Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.

Source: YouTube/SNESdrunk

There are two reasons baseball fans around the world appreciate this game. First, its poster boy is Ken Griffey Jr. That fact alone makes it a solid buy for supporters of the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox. Second, it is a faster-paced baseball game that tops its rivalling product by sporting an arcade-like design. The game allows individuals to compete in the World Series, and play complete seasons, claiming any contemporary Major League Baseball franchise as their own.

Combined with its arcade-style and ability to select various players to compete in a Home Run Derby, this game has changed the future for baseball gaming. And it never fails to keep its users entertained for hours.

19. Best Sports Video Games: Fight Night Round 4

Source: YouTube/DerekTurner

Boxing games have come a long way, both in terms of their popularity and design. Developed by EA Sports, Fight Night Round 4 looks like an obvious winner, with legends Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson on the cover. However, it’s the unique opportunity that this game gives its users that makes it one of the best sports video games out there.

A sequel to Fight Night Round 3, this boxing video game is a single-player and multiplayer game that is available on platforms like PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game has a new point system, improved technique, and it focuses more on counter punching. It also offers flyweight and bantamweight classes.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee with this boxing video game!

18. Best Sports Video Games: NBA Live 2005

Source: YouTube/GamePlayStation

Okay, this might not be the most recent sports video game, but we are talking about the best. And NBA Live 2005 really is one of the best. You have to understand that when this game was released in 2004, it was seen as revolutionary. It dominated its competitors and displayed advanced graphics and online skills. 

NBA Live 2005 offers individuals the chance to participate in engaging game-play and to school opponents in realistic dunk contests. Plus, you can create your own player and compete in the NBA All-Star Weekend, which includes the Rookie vs Sophomore game and the NBA All-Star game. 

Don’t get too sucked up in the latest games being released to the market. Sometimes, to find the best sports video games, we need only to look in the past. 

17. Best Sports Video Games: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Source: YouTube/CrystalFissure

Speaking of the past, we all remember Tony Hawk, right? Gone are the days of seeing the legend shred around on MTV, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is still around and kicking it—and for good reason, too. 

The original Tony Hawk game set the bar for skateboarding video games, presenting users with a challenging but entertaining game that allowed them to master the board. But it was the second installation of the game that really changed the future for this niche in the sports video game market. The Pro Skater 2 allowed users to create-a-park and to create-a-player, while also offering multiplayer mode. 

If you’ve ever fancied learning to skateboard but lack balance, this game offers a chance for you to live out that dream. And if you have ever wanted to carelessly skateboard around New York while maneuvering around taxi cabs, this game also offers that. Not a bad way to spend the evening. 

16. Best Sports Video Games: Madden 2006

Source: YouTube/EtmosVier

Sure, Madden 2004 may have given us the “Playmaker” feature, but it was Madden 2006 that paved the way for football video games. With Madden 2006, the world was introduced to the “Truck Stick” feature, which allowed players to creatively break tackles. The game also included “Superstar Mode,” and honestly, this feature alone is enough reason for this game to be on this list.

The Superstar Mode allows users to move through the stages of what happens when a young prospect works his way towards a career in the NFL. From taking control of a rookie and putting him through workouts, interviews, and health tests, users can also experience the NFL Draft and hiring an agent to handle your football player’s life. 

Help build an immortal career with Madden 2006 and learn the ropes of what will go down as one of the most remembered and best sports video games of all time. 

15. Best Sports Video Games: WWF: No Mercy

Source: YouTube/HypnosisV1Games

N64 never failed its fans, which is why it’s no surprise that WWF: No Mercy secured a spot as one of the best sports video games available. Released in 2000, this professional wrestling video game remains in the hearts of sports and fighting fans worldwide. 

With this game, users can participate in the first-ever ladder match and buy costumes and weapons, in addition to acting as a special guest referee. The game also featured a survival mode, in which players had to beat 100 professional wrestlers without losing. To say that this kept users on the edge of their seats would be an understatement. 

WWF: No Mercy was unique for its time, but continues to get a lot of love almost 20 years later. And we can see why. 

14. Best Sports Video Games: Mario Tennis 64

Source: YouTube/Albert C. Kart Racer

If football hooliganism in the United Kingdom has shown us anything, it’s that sport comes with emotion, and sometimes, that emotion is, well, it’s the opposite of rainbows and butterflies. But that’s where Mario Tennis 64 comes in. If you love sports but understand that it can be healthy to sacrifice reality for fun every now and then, this game hits all the right points.

Combining the classic character of Mario and traditional Nintendo aesthetics, Mario Tennis 64 allows users to practice their tennis in a fun, animated, and colorful way. 

13. Best Sports Video Games: NHL ’94

Source: YouTube/patkajape

Like boxing, hockey video games have come a long way. Chances are, they will only continue to do so, and that fact comes with great responsibility. More specifically, a responsibility to always remember the games that paved the way for others. And in the niche of hockey video games, NHL ’94 deserves this credit. 

NHL ’94 is simply a classic. It introduced improved gameplay, and it became the first hockey video game to feature one-timers. And sure, you can’t participate in exciting fights with this game, but it did shape the route some of the prosperous hockey titles we see emerging on the market today. That should count for something. 

12. Best Sports Video Games: NBA Jam

Source: YouTube/316whatupz

Shouting ‘Boomshakalaka!’ at your TV while playing NBA Jam became a staple of the game. “He’s on fire!” is up there, too. With photorealistic graphics and unnecessary jumps and dunks, NBA Jam allowed players to participate in action-packed and exaggerated basketball simulations. 

As the years have gone by, the latest versions of NBA Jam have always one-upped each other. This has proved to the competition that it has no plans for exiting the market anytime soon. From new artificial intelligence to improved create-a-team and create-a-player features, NBA Jam yearly reminds the gaming world why it deserves to be on a list like this. 

11. Best Sports Video Games: MLB 09: The Show

Source: YouTube/mrlux

Sports fans love two things: the game and the players. MLB 09: The Show executes these passions perfectly, improving graphics to create a realistic simulation while introducing the “Road to the Show” feature. Considerations like this are what put games into classes of their own, and this updated baseball game is a primary example. 

Essentially, the Road to the Show feature works similar to the Superstar Mode of Madden 2006. It allows users to select a rookie and then take all the measures to turn him into a star.

From workouts to press conferences, users can create their ideal champion and lead them to victory on MLB 09: The Show. And no matter how many new sports video games come out, this game will always be remembered for its innovations. 

10. Best Sports Video Games: MVP Baseball 2005

Source: YouTube/AvalancheFan133

A single-player and multiplayer baseball game, MVP Baseball 2005 gives the user complete control over the game. And we mean, complete control. The game includes an “Owner Mode” feature, which gives users control of an MLB franchise. Love the New York Yankees but hate the color of the stadium? No problem, you can change that. Want to change the starting rotation? Boom. Done. 

The game also has real-life announcers, which adds to the realism of the game. And it’s not just us that thinks highly of it, either. As of 2006, MVP Baseball 2005 is ranked on the 98th spot on IGN’s top 100 games. Not to say we told you so, though.  

9. Best Sports Video Games: 3 on 3 NHL Arcade

Source: YouTube/RetroHawk

We can confidently say that 3 on 3 NHL Arcade is a game for the ages. Hockey fans will never tire of all that the game offers, from unlimited checking, mind-boggling moves, no penalties, and the chance to play online and offline.

It’s fast-paced, and it combines the new and the old. And the sounds. We can’t forget about the sounds. As soon as the game kicks off, users are blasted with sounds that get the blood flowing and the adrenaline skating. 

8. Best Sports Video Games: Snowboard Super Cross 3

Source: YouTube/ZoominGames

Team sports often get all the credit, but nothing beats that euphoric feeling of shredding the powder on the mountain. Snowboard Super Cross 3 lets users experience this. With improved graphics, users can select riders to explore three peaks on one snow-covered mountain.

With wide-open tracks to endure more hang time, riders can do what they do best: shred. And with more than a million copies sold for the PS2 alone, it’s safe to assume that that’s exactly what people are doing. 

7. Best Sports Video Games: Tecmo Super Bowl

Source: YouTube/nesguide

When talking about the best sports video games of all time, it would be rude not to mention Tecmo Super Bowl. After all, this was the first video game to obtain the licensing privileges to allow real names of NFL players and teams to feature. 

Released in 1991, and using player attributes from the 1990 season, users may not be up-to-date with the current NFL season, but it’s a game that has proven time and time again that users fall in love with the realistic simulation. 

6. Best Sports Video Games: NBA 2K11

Source: YouTube/Phantuums

The NBA 2K series needs no introduction. But its the NBA 2K11 that really has been talking, with 5.5 million units sold worldwide, it’s a staple in the sports video game market. 

There are improved graphics, an updated “My Player” mode, and advanced gameplay, all making it one of the best in the series and ensuring it goes down in history as such. 

5. Best Sports Video Games: NFL Street

Source: YouTube/NotTheExpert

Look, any NFL video game is going to gain popularity. But NFL Street is so much more than a chance for companies to turn a profit. NFL Street gives users a platform to play the game they love, in a care-free (and sometimes ruthless) nature on the street. Users can choose any form of attire, from street clothes like jeans and boots to old school jerseys and neon shorts. You can also celebrate however you want, without worrying about those pesky yellow flags. 

When it comes to the best sports video game of all time, you want something that will never tire the user. And with the freedom NFL Street provides, it’s safe to say this will never happen with this game. 

4. Best Sports Video Games: Sports Champions

Source: YouTube/IGN

Obviously, we’re all for getting out there and breaking a sweat in nature. But sometimes that doesn’t always happen. Everyone has their days. That’s where Sports Champions comes into play.

With this game, you can participate in beach volleyball, table tennis, archery, disc golf, and even bocce. It’s not just twiddling your thumbs on the control, either. Sports Champions will make you break out into a full sweat, seeing users do more exercise than they would with Madden or MLB.

And that, folks, is why we will always consider it to be one of the best sports video games out there. It’s in a league of its own, and that deserves recognition. 

3. Best Sports Video Games: EA Sports MMA

Source: YouTube/quapex

The superior graphics of this game will leave its uses in constant awe. Offering a realistic simulation of MMA, this game offers controls similar to Fight Night, in addition to smooth gameplay. It offers users a war-type event, not a fast-paced battle, while giving considerable attention to detail within the fights. 

This game paved the way for future fighting video games and gave competitors a set of criteria to follow: realistic graphics, attention to detail, and unique moves will keep the game in a class of its own for decades to come. 

2. Best Sports Video Games: Punch-Out!!

Source: YouTube/NintendoUnity

Considering this boxing video game is thought to have increased the cultural influence of Mike Tyson, we’re going to consider this game a classic. Of course, it’s proven to be worthy of this status for other reasons, too. I mean, it paved the way for boxing games when it was released 20 years ago, and provided boxing fans with a new outlook on the sport. 

From unique characters to precise timing and rhythm, Punch-Out!! will go down in history as one of the best boxing games, despite not providing the most accurate representations. 

1. Best Sports Video Games: FIFA 10

Source: YouTube/FNG

Ask anyone to name a sports video game, and chances are they will say FIFA. Which, we suppose, is fair, considering FIFA has accumulated quite the reputation. However, there a few things to know about the series. After all, any FIFA game has the ability to convert non-soccer lovers, but its FIFA 10 that really hits it out of the park. 

Offering users improved gameplay and realistic performances and graphics, users can have the ultimate soccer experience. Improvements to features like “Manager Mode” and “Virtual Pro” are all enough to keep you parked on the couch for an hour or two with your mates. 

Featured image: PixaBay

If You Liked This Article Click To Share