Sports games drive the industry. Released every year, their consistent sales allow companies like 2K and Electronic Arts the opportunities to take chances on genres and games that may not sell nearly as much but will inspire developers for years to come.

With so many sports games available, it may be easy to lose track of which ones have influenced the genre the most. 

Check out our list and dust off these classics today!

NFL GameDay 98: The football game that made 3D polygonal characters the norm, it absolutely inspired the NFL 2K series. Both of these games however, spanked EA’s Madden series and made it have to be better. Truth be told, without GameDay, Madden probably doesn’t exist today.

NHL Hitz 2003: Easily the best arcade hockey game of all-time and one that needs to be played by you, today. With a great licensed soundtrack as well, it’s got the total package.

Coach K Basketball: EA’s first college basketball sim, you can easily make the argument that this is the best basketball game on the Sega Genesis.

Evander Holyfield Real Deal Boxing: The first boxing game to get it right on the Genesis and one that spawned a slew of wonderful sequels.

ESPN Extreme Games: Although really just a collection of mini-games, this paved the way for more extreme sport games on the PlayStation.

Patrick Hickey Jr. Patrick Hickey Jr. (327 Posts)

Patrick Hickey, Jr., is the founder and editor-in-chief of and a lecturer of English and journalism at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, his video game coverage has been featured in national ad campaigns by top publishers the likes of Nintendo, Deep Silver, Disney and EA Sports. His book series, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Game Developers," from McFarland and Company, has earned praise from Forbes, Huffington Post, The New York Daily News and MSG Networks. He is also a former editor at NBC and National Video Games Writer at the