Archive for the Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games Category

#1: NHL 95

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 28, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

Boom. There it is- the number one video game of all-time. Even though this countdown has been put together on a personal basis, there isn’t a game that can compare to NHL 95. It’s probably the most simplistic game, but it’s the most entertaining game I’ve ever played. In order to play, you only need to know how to do three things – shoot, pass, and check. In order to score a goal, you don’t need any dangle skills or rip slap shots from the blue line. All you have to do is move close to the net, move the puck to the right of the goalie, then to the left and shoot. It fakes them out every time.

Classic 1994 Stanley Cup Match-Up

Just like the NBA, I feel that the mid-90’s was the golden age of the NHL. Each team has a superstar and was in contention for the playoffs. (The only teams that sucked were the ’93 expansion teams). Some of the most fun teams to play with were the defunct franchises such as the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, and the Winnipeg Jets. Actually, the Nordiques had a stud team featuring Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and goalie Patrick Roy. My Islanders weren’t too shabby as well. Lead by NHL all-stars Pierre Turgeon and Ron Hextall, the Isles could take on anyone in the league. Plus, Isles’ forward Benoit Hogue was one of the fastest skaters in the game. Unfortunately, the Rangers were unbeatable in this version. Coming off their ’94 Stanley Cup, almost all of their starters are ranked over a 90 (Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Steve Larmer, and Mike Richter were all Eastern Conference All-Stars in the game).

If you guys really know your hockey video game history, you’re probably wondering why I would chose NHL ’95 over NHL ’93. I know the ’93 version has fighting and has players’ heads bleed on the ice. But on a personal note, NHL ’95 was the first video game I ever owned. Plus, I still play the game today. So from the age of eight to present day, this game has been played non-stop on my Super Nintendo. Don’t get me wrong, I love NHL ’93, but I have to go with my first owned video game. Plus, why is the ice blue in NHL ’93? At least in ’95 the ice is realistically white. Plus who can forget “Hava Nagila” playing before face-offs? Classic.

So this concludes the top 10 sports video games countdown. Hope you guys enjoyed it. Stay updated for our next countdown – the top sports movies of all-time, which will be written by sammywestside.

#2: Major League Baseball featuring Ken Griffey Jr.

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 27, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

“Hi this is Ken Griffey Jr. Let’s play Major League Baseball.”

Perhaps the most memorable line in video game history. This 1998 Nintendo 64 classic is the greatest baseball game of all-time…period. Like I’ve said before, the best sports games are the one’s with the arcade style of play. All-Star Baseball ’99 for N64, the game’s rival at the time, had much better graphics. But sometimes the games that are faster and less realistic are the ones that are more addicting. Just like our last two games on the countdown, the ballgames go by very fast. (Not as fast as NBA Jam and Blitz, but still fast enough). Also, everything in the game is exaggerated, which makes it even more fun to play. For example, Randy Johnson’s “Super Fastball” is consistently clocked at 106 mph in the game while Jamie Moyer’s “Super Change” is clocked at 46 mph. Plus, when you hit a homerun, the crack of the bat sounds like we’re in Hiroshima circa August 1945. And the best part of all, Derek Jeter is black.

Classic Matchup Between the Big Unit and Brian McRae

Ken Griffey Jr. Major League Baseball is also the first game to allow the user to have a home run derby. Up to four users can participate and one can choose any of the 700+ ballplayers for the derby. In the season mode, you can trade any players you want (the computer has to accept the deal). With the right trades, you can have the best team in the game. There are three types of hitters in this version – “small circles,” “medium circles” and “huge circles.” The small circle players are the ones who have a smallest hitter zones. The medium circles have an average size zone. Huge circles are the best in the game. When you stand up to the plate, you must locate the pitch and move the hitter’s circle to the right location. Then you must time the pitch to make contact. The bigger the circle, the easier it is to locate the pitch. There are only eight players who have huge circles – Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, Paul Molitor, Larry Walker, Mike Piazza, Tony Gwynn, and Barry Bonds. Play the right cards and you can have all of them on one team in season mode.

Pitching is a lot of fun in this game, only if you know how to pitch. If you serve up ball in the zone, you will get killed. The key is to start the pitch way out of the zone, then move the joystick to bring the pitch back in the strike zone. In my opinion, the most unhittable pitcher is Roger Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays. His splitter would start above the umpire’s head, then suddenly move down to the outside corner on the black. The two pitchers I could never hit were Tim Wakefield and Steve Sparks. Their knuckleballs would float in the air at 53 mph and I could never locate it, no matter how big my circle was.

If you’re in my generation and you’re a baseball fan, you know about the greatness of this game. Hope everyone’s ready for #1 tomorrow.

Don’t know who “Brotherly Love” is, but he’s got some good input during this video:


#3: NBA Jam: Tournament Edition

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 26, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

This game is amazing right from the very beginning- who wouldn’t get pumped if you see an iguana spinning a basketball wearing sunglasses? NBA Jam also arguably has the greatest music in any video game of all-time. It’s the official anthem of 90’s basketball (the golden years of the NBA). Even though Jordan isn’t in the game, there are some classic three-man rosters for each team. With the Knicks, you have the deadly defensive combo of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks. But they’re not even close to being the best in the game. That would have to be either the Jazz with Karl Malone, John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek or the Sonics with Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf.

The Classic 20 foot Vertical

Similar to NFL Blitz, the gameplay for NBA Jam is fast, exciting, and energetic. It’s not as violent, but there are  no fouls. If you get hit, the crowd boos. That’s it. Plus, a full court shot isn’t that bad of an offensive strategy. The players in this game can make that shot like it’s their job. How can anyone not love a game where players who dunk jump 10 feet above the rim? When playing Jam, you will experience the fastest eight minutes of your life. Games go by quickly with two minute quarters, but you will find yourself with over 60 points each game. Plus, how can you go wrong with Dick Vitale as the broadcaster? The guy says the best lines in video game history (“Moster Jam!,” “He’s heating up…he’s on fire!, “Stolen!”, “Razzle Dazzle!”, “Slams it in!”). If it wasn’t for the awesomeness of Pat Summerall in Madden, Vitale would be the best video game broadcaster.

Personally, I owned the NBA Jam Tournament Edition for Super Nintendo. Having played every version of this game, I would say the best versions are the original 1993 NBA Jam for Sega Genesis and the ’94 Tournament Edition for SNES.

#4: NFL Blitz

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 24, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

The most exciting game of all-time.  If you’ve never played Blitz, you haven’t experienced the highest level of football intensity. And I’m not talking about “Blitz 2001” or any of those newer games. I’m talking about the original 1998 version for N64. Not only is every football game action-packed with some of the most outrageous hits you’ll ever see, each game only takes ten minutes. Imagine scoring 50 points in ten minutes – pretty intense.

As a Cowboys hater in the late 90’s, there wasn’t a better feeling than having Jesse Armstead paralyze Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin on every play. Even though the Giants were pretty mediocre in the game, they were fun to play with. With Danny Kannell as quarterback and Charles Way in the backfield, the Giants offense sucked miserably. When Chris Calloway is your best player, there’s major problems. But the GMen defense was deadly – Michael Strahan, Jason Sehorn, Jesse Armstead, Tito Wooten, Phillippi Sparks, and Shaun Williams. Wow.

By far, the best team in the game was the Denver Broncos. Given they won two Super Bowls during the time this game was made, the Broncos were unstoppable. With Elway as QB, Davis as runningback, and Shannon Sharpe as the key receiver, this offense couldn’t be stopped. Plus with Bill Romanowski and Steve Atwater (aka “The Smiling Assassin) on defense, you couldn’t score against them either. Only time I ever lost with the Broncos was against sammywestside back in ’99. I’ll never forget that Blitz classic between Denver and Jacksonville. Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith played the best games of their careers.

Down to the top 3.

#5: MVP Baseball 2005

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 23, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

The very last Major League Baseball game made by EA Sports. Now here’s the thing – this game was made right after 2004 season. In October of that year, I witnessed the second worst moment as a Yankee fan. (2001 World Series being #1) Plus, Manny Ramirez was on the cover. So coming into March of 2005, I was a little hesitant about this version. I knew there would be a ton of footage from the 2004 playoffs and that the main song of the game would be “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphy’s (a song about the Red Sox…still a great song nonetheless). I thought to myself that this was going to be the ultimate Boston video game.

Manny Ramirez Was the Star Player of the Game

Wow I was wrong! Of course they had Manny as the key player in the game, but it was a lot less pro-Sox than I thought it was going to be. What’s great about both MVP Baseball 2004 and 2005 is it’s fast style of baseball. If too realistic, baseball video games have a chance to move slow with no exciting action. But this fast paced style in MVP Baseball 2005 made every game quick and exciting. Games would finish in a matter 20 action-packed minutes. Given the games are so fast, I was able to play an 162 game season in the span of a couple of months. Plus, hitting a home run in this game is stimulating. As soon as you connect with the pitch, the ball explodes and goes 800 feet.

MVP ’05 is better than ’04 because the newer additions were fantastic. First, you can travel back in time and play as old ballplayer in very old stadiums (Polo Grounds, the old Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, etc.) I also felt that it was more organized than the previous game. Dynasties were easier to handle and the “Create-A-Player” was much more detailed. The only plus the 2004 version had was the fact they still had the Montreal Expos still in the game. My claim to fame for MVP Baseball 2005 was leading the Yankees to a 153-9 record with Alex Rodriguez hitting 115 home runs in the season. Just utter domination in the best created EA Sports baseball video game of all-time.

#6: NCAA Football 2004

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 21, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

No football game can compare to the greatness of NCAA Football 2004, and that’s including the Madden series. You guys probably disagree on this one because everyone claims that NCAA Football 2011 is the best. Don’t get me wrong, I love this year’s edition, but it’s missing a huge factor – Division I-AA teams. NCAA Football 2004 allowed us to use teams such as Columbia, Harvard, Appalachian State, Richmond, and many more. Plus, the Division I-AA stadium were exact. Columbia’s home stadium, Bakers Field, looks completely realistic.

Ohio State Runningback Maurice Clarrett was the Highest Rated Player in the Game

This game was addicting. The football games itself were at a more faster pace than usual, which gave the user more excitement. You could feel the energy of the stadium. Plus, the graphics were just realistic enough to make it a great game. I still have my Notre Dame dynasty saved to this day. While playing under head coach Tyrone Willingham, I lead the Irish to back-to-back National Titles. Carlyle Holiday won the Heisman trophy while Justin Tuck lead the nation in sacks. No big deal. If you’ve never played this great game, you’re missing out big time. An amazing game for any college football fanatic.

#7: NHL 10

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 20, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

The funny thing about this game is that I never owned it, but I must have played it over 400 times. I don’t have a video game system newer than the original XBox, so it was impossible for me to purchase this game. Fortunately, my roommate Tim King owns a PlayStation 3. When we got home from Christmas Break last year, Tim brought NHL 10 to the house. We proceeded for the next five months to play this game non-stop.

One of the Most Realistic NHL Games of All-Time

NHL 10 is the greatest hockey game since the turn of the century. NHL 11 has improved some aspects of the game that makes the game ever more realistic, but since I’ve played the 2010 game for half a year, I have to shout out to last year’s edition. (NHL 11 has some great improvements such as having more realistic face-offs and occasionally having the players break their hockey sticks after a shot).

There isn’t a better feeling than ripping a one-timer slap shot in this game. The easiest way to score is to have a 2-on-1 breakaway and pass the puck to your other player right before he crashes the net. It’s almost impossible for the goalie to stop the shot. During last Spring, I played an entire 82 game season as the Islanders. I led them to a 68-11-3 record and their first Stanley Cup since 1983. (Only way I can watch the Isles celebrate a Stanley Cup victory). I will never forget the nights where my emotions would go from utter happiness to complete humiliation just from NHL 10. One night after losing to the Rangers in double OT, I proceeded to throw Tim’s PS3 controller against the wall and shattered it. But hey, that’s what this game does to you. Almost impossible to hold your emotions back during an battle in NHL 10. If you’re not passionate about hockey, this game isn’t for you.

Plus, greatest soundtrack of all-time in a video game. Look it up. It’s awesome.

#8: NBA Live 2003

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 18, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

This was the last basketball game I enjoyed playing. Back in 8th grade, I was given a Nintendo Gamecube for Christmas and my first game was NBA Live 2003. For a solid year and a half, this one of the only games I played. Similar to Madden 2001, this game was very easy to operate. It didn’t have the greatest graphics, but it was an upgrade from the N64 sports games. Nothing was better than bringing the ball up the top of key, performing a killer cross-move, then slamming it down. For the Knicks, no one was better at this move than Latrell Sprewell. Plus, this was one of the only games to have Michael Jordan…on the Wizards. (yea I know he’s featured in this year’s NBA game). Another great feature to this game was the one-on-one streetball. Even better, the user can chose to play at real public courts such as Rucker Park in Harlem, NY.

Also, the user can use a ton of former NBA players. These players include Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wes Unseld, Bob Petit, Walt Frazier, Tiny Archibald, Jerry West and many more. The create-a-player mode was the most realistic as ever before. A couple of years later, I bought NBA Live 2005, but it wasn’t the same. There was no streetball, no former players, and the controls were much harder. So if you guys want to play a quality NBA game, you have to go with NBA Live 2003. Trust me on this one. I’m pretty sure you can buy for $3 online.

#9: Madden 2001

Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 18, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

Sorry but this is the only Madden game on the list. And I’m not talking about Madden ’01 for Playstation 2, I’m talking about Madden for N64. To be honest, I’m not the biggest Madden fan. When I’m playing a sports video game, I need a fast paced game. Madden is the complete opposite. But Madden 2001 was a fantastic game. In the fall of 6th grade, I must have played Madden four times a week. Even though the graphics don’t compare to the recent Madden’s, it was easy to operate. Plus, the Giants were unreal in the game (it was the year they went to the Super Bowl and lost to the Ravens). With Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber in the backfield, along with Kerry Collins as the QB, the Giants’ offense was unstoppable. It was also the last game Pat Summerall ever announced. Nothing wrong with Al Michaels and Gus Johnson, but Summerall was classic. “The pass…complete… touchdown!” It was absolute poetry. So I know you guys will probably disagree with me on this one, but I have no doubt this is the best Madden game.

Madden 2001 for N64 was the Easiest Madden Game to Operate

Let’s also remember that this was one of only two Madden covers in the past decade that wasn’t part of the “Madden Curse.” In 2000, Eddie George ran for over 1,500 yards and rushed for 14 touchdowns. After this game, the next three players on the covers were badly cursed -Culpepper in ’02, Faulk in ’03, and Vick in ’04. In ’05, Madden decided to go with a defensive player to end the curse with Ray Lewis, but in 2006 the curse returned with a McNabb season-ending injury. And the curse lives on – just check out the covers since ’06. True story.


Posted in Top 10 Greatest Sports Video Games on February 15, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

Here’s one of only two college baseball games to have ever hit the market. (The other college baseball game was MVP 07: NCAA Baseball for Playstation 2, which I didn’t own.) Personally, MVP 06 was fun to play because it came out my junior year of high school, a time when I was into college baseball. Not every Division I baseball program was included but one could still choose any team from the major conferences in the country. Plus, 20 real college parks were featured. Unlike the MVP Baseball games of the past, this game consisted of the “load and fire” batting tool. This allowed a player to move the joystick to load a swing, instead of the classic style of just hitting a button to swing. With this feature, one could chose if they wanted to “power” swing or just hit for contact.

The "Load and Fire" Swing Made This Baseball Game More Realistic Than Ever Before

The pitching aspect of the game was fantastic as well. Unlike the old baseball games where you would have no choice but use the catcher’s view, NCAA Baseball allowed you to choose the view behind the mound. This would give the viewer a more virtual experience of what the pitcher sees from the mound. The pitcher’s point of view gives the game more of a realistic feel, especially when the user is controlling the pitcher.

One of the main reasons why MVP 06 was better than 07 was because of the rosters. In ’06, the rosters were exactly right (college games can’t use player’s names but the jersey numbers matched up correctly). In ’07, none of the rosters were correct. Another attribute that made this game fantastic was the “Create-A-Ballpark” mode. Even though my NCAA team, Wake Forest, didn’t have their stadium loaded in the game, I was able to create a ballpark similar to Gene Hooks Field.

Only flaw of the game was it’s awful soundtrack. You would be better off muting the game and put your own music on. But on the bright side, the announcers Mike Patrick and Kyle Peterson gave us a great broadcast. Get ready for our #9 greatest sports video game tomorrow. Plus, feel free to give us your own list. It would be great to hear your insight.