Top 5 Sports Simulation Video Games
With the NBA and NHL seasons nearing the finals, baseball picking up, and a labor dispute in the NFL, I got to thinking: what are the best representations of sports in video gaming? EA Sports blazed a trail in the 90s with sports games that were no longer filled with fat little cartoon players and instead focused on realism and simulation of the real thing. Basketball games started having full rosters and season modes, the historic Madden franchise focused on realism, and so on. So, in 2011, what five games have really nailed down a video game experience that is comparable to the game on the field? This was the hardest list to compile because there are a lot of worthy games out there, but we did our best!
5. Fight Night Champion
The Fight Night series from EA has been the grand champion of boxing games since the beginning. The reason why Fight Night Champion gets the nod is because of the unique story mode, which finally adds something that sports games are missing: drama. The main character is put in situations that are not just cinematic, but realistic. In one particular fight, the main character breaks his hand throwing a punch and has to continue the fight using only his left. A similar thing happened to real fighter Bernard Hopkins when he was slammed to the mat and suffered a separate shoulder; he then went on to win the fight with basically one arm. Fight Night Champion doesn’t shy away from the negative aspects of the boxing game, which is another tip of the hat to EA. Most sports games are handcuffed when it comes to negative aspects of the sport in question; EA did right by fans for representing every aspect of the boxing industry.
4. MLB The Show 11
PlayStation’s exclusive sports titan is by far the best baseball game in the industry. The most current rendition not only allows players to build a character from the ground up, but it allows them to customize the kind of player they will be. If the player wants to be a speedy second baseman who is known for contact and bunting, they can do that. The control scheme is as tricky and unforgiving as real baseball, which makes success in the game that much more rewarding. The Road to the Show mode also lets the player decide if they want to have a hyper realistic experience by entering the draft or simply picking a franchise and starting at the bottom and working their way up. Baseball might not be the sport it once was, but the love of the game is ever present in MLB The Show.
3. Madden NFL 06
That’s right; the most recent version of Madden isn’t the best simulation of football in its entirety. Madden NFL 06 gets the nod for the robust Superstar Mode, which puts you in the shoes of a fledgling NFL rookie. You had to pass the wonderlic test, pick your genetic background and then get drafted. Once you were drafted, you had to pick an agent, you'd get an apartment, and had Terrell Davis as your mentor. I should also mention the ability to raise your player’s level through practice, something that has gone missing from sports games ever since. What I’m getting at is there is more to sports than being on the field and playing games, and a good simulation represents the off-the-field aspects of the game as well. In Madden 2006 you could do movies in the off-season, get sponsors, and do interviews, which broke up the monotony of playing game after game. Madden NFL Football just hasn’t been the same since.
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|Dante' R. Maddox
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