The Best Sports Video Games of All Time

For many people, sport is an important part of life. Many of us have life-long affiliations with our teams that see us follow them through thick and thin. Our love for our favorite sport and team often goes so far that it becomes part of our identity. 

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that many sports fans will do whatever they can to get closer to their team. They’ll buy the new jersey each year, be first in line for a season ticket when they go on sale, and cheer them on from the grandstands at every game. 

Many will also back their team by placing wagers for them to win in some of their matches. The savviest of these will do it by taking advantage of the many free be=t offers available at leading sportsbooks. 

Other fans also enjoy playing sports video games that give them the opportunity to (virtually) step into the shoes of their heroes and play as they do. There have been hundreds of sports games released over the last four decades or so, some more memorable than others. Here are some of the greatest. 

Best Sports Video Games of All Time

Wii Sports

Wii Sports is the fourth best-selling video game of all time, having shipped 82.9 million units. Of course, it only managed this impressive feat because it came bundled with every single Nintendo Wii shipped by the Japanese gaming giant. However, it’s safe to say that many more than that figure have played the game because it was designed to be enjoyed by groups of people together. 

Wii Sports was a demonstration of the motion functions that made the console so unique, with disciplines like tennis, bowling, boxing, golf, and baseball helping to show off the different ways you could interact with the console.

Instead of pressing buttons and moving a joystick, you’d have to swing your arm to serve the ball while playing tennis. In boxing, you needed to hold the Wii Remote in one hand and the Wii Nunchuk in the other, throwing jabs and hooks like you would while in a real boxing ring.

While Nintendo did a great job with Wii Sports, it wasn’t 100% perfect as it was much easier to get a strike in Wii Sports’ bowling game than it is in real life, while the tennis game only required you to swing, not to run back and forth across the court.

That said, it started a revolution in gaming, showing that there was more than one way to interact with a console and that gaming could be a physical activity that you did with others.

It wasn’t just something that people played because it came for free, it was a genuinely fun game that could be (and was) enjoyed for hours on end. In fact, it was so popular that Nintendo released a sequel known as Wii Sports Resort three years after the original. The company also created Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games head of the 2008 Summer Olympics, which again used the motion control functionality of the Wii to take part in athletic events.

boy and girl holding game pad

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk has become a popular internet meme in recent years. His own self-deprecating humor has made him a very endearing sports personality on Twitter. He often talks about times when people don’t recognize himand when TSA agents joke with him that he “has the same name as that skateboarder”.

While his antics on the skate park certainly helped his fame, he became the household figure that he is today because of his video games. 

Released for the PlayStation in 2000 and then Windows, Game Boy Color, and Dreamcast the following year, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 received a near-perfect rating by reviewers. According to Metacritic, the game scored 98% on the PlayStation. 

Even today, many critics regard it as “the best skateboarding game ever” thanks to its stunning (for its time) graphics and fun gameplay. Its popularity was proven by the huge excitement that surrounded the release of the remastered versions. 

The aim of the game is to control your skateboarder, performing impressive tricks and collecting certain objects. The career mode added a lot of depth to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, requiring players to complete various objectives to win in-game money that they could use to upgrade their skateboarding skills that helped them win more competitions.

While just being fun to play, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 provides a lot of insight into the world of professional skateboarding as unless you were really into the sport, it can be a bit of an unknown quantity.

Rocket League

Rocket League is an arcade-style game that doesn’t even attempt to be a realistic sports simulation. In fact, the maneuvers that can be pulled off while playing it defy the laws of physics. 

It is a sequel to the 2008 game “Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars” though thankfully, the developers Psyonix opted to shorten the name for the second release.

It’s a game that combines soccer and race cars together, where human players are replaced by acrobatic rocket-powered cars to create a unique spectacle.

It’s not like the “car football” you may have seen on TV shows like Top Gear. Instead, you’ll see cars flying through the air and then flip upside down to knock the ball into the goal, just like how a professional might jump to volley the ball past a keeper. 

It’s not just car football that you can play in Rocket League either, updates have added car hockey and a basketball mode that create an entirely new challenge for players. The basic premise remains the same, but to score a basket, the ball must be bounced or dropped through the hoop, making it more difficult to score.

To add to the excitement and slight ridiculousness of Rocket League, whenever a goal is scored, the ball explodes, launching the cars within its vicinity across the pitch as some sort of spectacular celebration. 

The game was originally released in 2015, but since late 2020, it has been available on a free-to-play basis on most current platforms.

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