For this week’s roundtable, the DC Sports Section decided to debate a very heated topic: What is the greatest sports video game of all time? From Wii Sports to the Madden series to Mario Kart, there have been some absolute classics. Our team of writers have their takes.
Just starting off, I’m right and I know it. Simply put, EA Sports’ NCAA Football is the best game ever created, simply put. There was no better way to procrastinate on homework than to hit the sticks and play any of it’s legendary game modes. Whether it was the classic Road to Glory, where you took your player from high school to the Heisman (trophy); Dynasty Mode, which allowed you to take your school (in my case UConn) from the bottom of the Big East to national championships; or even mascot mashup, where you played a full exhibition game as a team full of mascots, it was always a blast. No other game had a more diverse and robust mix of game modes, which prevented me from boredom. Although the series was postponed in 2013, in a few years, the game is set to return, which nearly made me cry tears of joy. Even with the pause in the series’ production, NCAA football still holds an unbreakable legacy among sports video games.
Associate Sports Editor
While I’m tempted to pick legendary Nintendo games Mario Kart or Mario Super Sluggers, I’m going to go with a different throwback game: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3. This game (and the series as a whole) just does not get old. The mechanics are difficult at first, but once you’re able to combine multiple grab/flip tricks with rail grinds and nose manuals, it’s extremely easy to lose yourself in chasing a high score. My favorite mode is career, in which you complete tasks as you travel the skating world from Canada to Tokyo. There are a lot of cool hidden features as well, including unlockable characters Darth Maul, Kelly Slater and the Neversoft Eyeball. The tracklist is banger after banger, with the perfect background noise for your shredfest. Pro Skater 1 & 2 recently got remastered for newer consoles, so it’s not a stretch to assume 3 & 4 will follow soon, continuing the legacy of a series that defined a generation of gamers.
As someone who plays the NBA 2K series of video games every year, I speak for everyone when saying that NBA 2K16 is the greatest sports game of all time. Released in late 2015, this game could not have dropped during a better era of basketball. Other than NBA 2K17, I have not seen 2K Sports come close to dropping a game that resembles the greatness of this gem. With a wealth of features including a MyCareer mode directed by Spike Lee, a music soundtrack curated by DJ Khaled and major improvements, I can’t praise this game enough. The overall fun and wealth of content that this game provides was a staple of middle school for me as I stayed up endlessly playing with friends. Despite some glitches and minor problems, it’s a great time whether you’re playing in MyPark, MyCareer, MyTeam, MyGm, or MyLeague.
Gamers these days have this elite baseball game called MLB the Show. It is a Playstation exclusive game series where players can create their own players and create their “road to the show” or even find a way to go 12-0 in Diamond Dynasty. I don’t have a Playstation, so I will go with the biggest competition to MLB the Show, MLB 2K. This game series lasted from 2005 to 2013, but did not disappoint at all. I enjoy it because it takes me back to some ultra competitive mid 2000s baseball. How often are you going to be able to play with Hall of Famers such as Derek Jeter, Greg Maddux in his twilight, and Albert Pujols being the best player in the game? These games had incredible features too like a home run derby mode, and a situational mode where you could put yourself in extreme situations just like in the Major Leagues. I have nothing against MLB the Show, but MLB 2K was a great sports video game series for me.
There are so many sports video games that simply determining a favorite can be a daunting task. But today I have the solution, the game that is loved by both sports fans and people who aren’t sports fans alike: Mario Kart. Now, for those of you who read that and are saying “What? That’s not a sport,” have fun explaining to people in Florida why car racing isn’t either. Mario Kart, particularly the newer versions like 8, has different kinds of games and a ton of maps including everyone’s least favorite or favorite Rainbow Road. Mario Kart has great mechanics and a ton of different speeds and things like that that can make racing more interesting. It also isn’t as hard of a “sports” game as most of the other options people have given. This means that it appeals more to people who don’t like the traditional sports, making it a great game for the whole family.