The first videogame ever invented was PONG, a game that simulated a game of ping pong where a dot bounced back and forth between two white sticks controlled by each player. Little was known that this would also kickstart the relationship between sports and video games.
Basketball, tennis, or football found a perfect platform to develop simulators that became over time more and more realistic. As the years went by sports videogames became very popular within the gamer culture and it took them all the way to the award-winning game series, we know today such as NFL’s Madden or EA Sports’ FIFA soccer.
But these games would mean nothing without all the developments in the retro games that paved the way for them, so today we’re paying homage to the best sports videogames ever, with a list that will make some of you drop the modern versions of these games in order to go back to the very basics, which were incredibly fun and entertaining.
NHL HOCKEY 94
We begin with an ice hockey game that was the predecessor of today’s EA Sports NHL 22. Electronic Arts were already the game developer of NHL 94 and this game was the third release in the series.
It had the official NHL License for the first time in history, so you can even play with the now-extinct teams of St. Louis Blues or the Hartford Whalers, something that the NHL true fans will surely love.
In the gameplay aspect, it introduced a novelty in the game industry with the “one-timer”: You could press the shoot button before the player received a pass that ended in surprising shots.
VIRTUA TENNIS 2 / POWER SMASH 2
Released in 2002, it was a more modern game for the PS2. With this release, Hitmaker introduced women tennis players for the first time and had great improvement with mechanics, both in the ball control and the CPU artificial intelligence.
It was known as Power Smash in North America and it included 3 game modes: Tournament, Exhibition and World Tour which was the most complete mode of the three and the reason the game was so big. You had to create two players, a man and a woman, and take them to the very top of the tennis circuit. You could choose from an array of available tournaments according to your ranking. There was also a store with tennis rackets, clothing, and tennis courts.
FIFA INTERNATIONAL SOCCER
Soccer is a global phenomenon. A sport which is an absolute must in the best betting sites due to its popularity. Offers such as free bets, prize accumulators and enhanced prizes on games attract many new clients. But the best bookmakers also offer dozens of leagues in countries across the world and even offer refunds on 0-0 results that they call “bore draw”.
This is the same strategy used by the first FIFA game released in 1993. In International Soccer you could play with the national teams of 51 different countries in every continent. It received positive reviews from experts due to its detail of the games and the animations. The game mechanism made it so entertaining as it was almost impossible to have 0-0 games. Goals galore guaranteed.
TONY HAWK’S PRO SKATER 2
Developed by Neversoft, it became a cult videogame for skate fans and those that were discovering this sport thanks to the replay value of the game and the realistic graphics that made the jumps and stunts seamlessly flow in very detailed urban locations.
The player could choose between a list of professional skaters that included Bob Burnquist, Steve Caballero, Eric Koston, Bucky Lasek, and of course, the great Tony Hawk. Complete freedom to move around the whole area available in the scenarios and a game mechanism that made it possible to score millions and millions of points which motivated the competition between friends.
Based on the 92-93 season of the NBA, it included many players from that period of time such as Dominique Wilkins or Brad Daugherty. The game mechanics seemed to distance the game of a realistic gameplay, but this meant the success of a very fun game to play.
Players could perform amazing jumps and you could choose to eliminate some of the standard rules in the sport. An absolute classic of arcade games which made its jump to Super Nintendo and Mega Drive thanks to its success.