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It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of sports and want to become a real professional player, or if you just want to relax alone or together with your friends, there is a sports video game for everyone! Basketball, football, hockey, driving, and a lot of other kinds of activities are simulated in the best sports video games that are waiting for you to be discovered and enjoyed.
What is a sports video game?
These games simulate the practice of various kinds of sports. Today, you can find almost every kind of real sport simulated in video games, including team, track and field, extreme, and combat sports. Sports video games usually involve some kind of physical and tactical challenges that test the player’s precision and accuracy. This genre of video games has been popular for decades, and today there are still new PS4, PC, and Xbox One sports games released every year.
What kind of sports video games are there?
These games can be divided into a few categories based on their type, player’s involvement, and approach towards gameplay. Here are the most common types:
- Arcade. This type of game is all about getting a higher score. Arcade games are of a competitive nature, they aren’t realistic, but offer a lot of fun time that you can spend alone or together with your friends;
- Simulation. This type is all about realism since simulation games usually are trying to recreate certain operations of the real world. Simulation games are slower than arcade and more accurate;
- Management. If you would like to manage a sports team, then management-centered sports games are for you. In this type of game, the player has to handle various strategies, tactics, transfers, and financial issues of sports teams;
- Sports-based fighting games. This sub-genre mashes features of arcade sports and fighting games. Boxing and wrestling sports games are the most common types of these fighting games, and they feature real-world fighters.
Why are sports video games so popular?
Because of their competitive nature, just like real-world sports, interactive games are very popular. First of all, in these games, you can play not only against AI, but you can play them with or against your friends, or other people in a multiplayer mode. Secondly, the main difference between other types of competitive video games and sports games is that you can control famous, real-life players from real-world teams and franchises. Overall, sports video games offer the best opportunity to show the world that you are the greatest virtual player in the world! Everyone likes to compete and win, and these games are made to do that!
What are the best sports games?
There are a lot of good and attention-worthy games that were released throughout history, but we present you the most significant series:
- FIFA. The most popular franchise of football video games is definitely FIFA by Electronic Arts. Every year we get another FIFA game for every platform, including FIFA for PC, and consoles. There’s a saying that in the United Kingdom, you can find a copy of the latest FIFA in almost every house;
- NBA 2K. The most popular basketball video game series of all time. Just like with FIFA, every year Visual Concepts releases a new installment in the NBA video games franchise with various upgrades and enhancements;
- Madden NFL. Video game series that focuses on American football. Made by EA Sports, it is the most popular series of this specific kind. Madden NFL is the only officially licensed NFL video game series;
- WWE 2K. Fans of American wrestling already know that the WWE 2K series by Visual Concepts is the most popular wrestling video game series in the world. The series emulates pro-wrestling sports with various match types, storylines, and characters;
- Tony Hawk's. The most popular skateboarding series in the world, Tony Hawk’s by Neversoft and Robomodo, have a name of a well-known skateboarder. The series has millions of fans around the world, and since 1999, it’s been the leading franchise of its specific type of games;
- EA Sports UFC. An extremely popular game, also developed by the EA Sports division in 2014, UFC is all about realistic boxing. Just keep in mind that UFC is released only on consoles, and there is no UFC game for PC.
History of sports video games
This genre is one of the oldest genres in gaming history. Take a look at the most important events of this genre:
- The earliest sports video game was released in 1958. It was a game called Tennis for Two, created by William Higinbotham. It was a competitive two-player tennis game;
- Tomohiro Nishikado created a basketball game Taito's TV Basketball, released in April 1974. It was the earliest use of character sprites to represent human characters in a video game;
- In 1976, Sega released a combat sports game Heavyweight Champ, which was based on boxing, and is considered to be the first boxing video game;
- In 1978, Sega released World Cup, which was an association football game with a trackball controller. In the same year, Atari made Atari Football, which is considered as the very first game to emulate American football;
- The first association football management simulation, Football Manager, was released for the ZX Spectrum computer in 1982.
- In 1983, Sega released Champion Baseball, which was a blockbuster success in Japanese arcades, and even compared with Space Invaders. It also had a split-screen format;
- In the late 1980s, a lot of popular baseball video games were released, with titles such as R.B.I. Baseball (1986) and Atlus game Major League Baseball (1988) being the first licensed baseball games. Another title, SNK's Baseball Stars (1989) was a popular arcade-type NES game.
- In the early 1990s, licensed basketball games became more common. Games like Pat Riley Basketball (1990) by Sega and David Robinson’s Supreme Court (1992) by Acme Interactive are one of the most important examples;
- The very first title of Electronic Art’s association football video games, called FIFA International Soccer, was released in 1993 on the Sega Mega Drive system. It became the best-selling home video game of 1993 in the UK;
- The arcade title Virtua Striker, released by Sega in 1994 was the first association football game to use 3D graphics and texture mapping;
- One of the first mainstream skateboarding games, Top Skater by Sega, was released in 1997 in the arcades. The sub-genre was further popularized by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, an arcade game, where players had to do various tricks with a skateboard and collect points.