Weekend Debate: The best sports game of all time (Update)

The Weekend Debate

UPDATE: As ever, thanks to everyone who took part this week. Your suggestions had me dropping my Easter eggs over the holiday weekend and scrambling for YouTube! The following five posters claim a Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 for PS3: Azuardo (post 4), MafiaCub (21), bigmat319 (80), RevanClaw (85) and vonhammer (112). Your codes will be sent as a PM via your account on the official forums.

ORIGINAL POST: In honour of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14‘s release earlier this week, I thought it would be appropriate to put a sporting bent on today’s debate. I’ve never been hugely into sports titles, but when one grabs me, it doesn’t let go. I dread to think how many hours I poured into International Superstar Soccer on PlayStation 2 during my student days, and before that, the original PGA Tour Golf on my first computer back in the early ’90s. Darn it, showing my age there. 🙁

What about you? What do you rate as the finest – or funnest – sports title ever? Gran Turismo? FIFA? Brian Lara Cricket? Shaq Fu?

The top five most interesting or entertaining responses duly walk away with a download voucher for the reliably excellent Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 on PS3. Check out the launch trailer below for a closer look at EA SPORTS‘ latest.

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batstimpy 29 March, 2013 @ 3:08 pm   1

Sensible Soccer. Epic series

johnnyquicknives 29 March, 2013 @ 3:11 pm   2

I’m not sure if I could commit to the best of all time (although certainly a contender) but this sports games generation was all about the skate series for me. I seriously hope a new one comes to PS4.

Normally I’m not big on multiplayer but I really felt that skate three’s drop in/out coop campaign was a great touch. I tend to play games in the wee hours of the morning and would find similar names would pop into my games which really made it feel like a community, especially since the goals were all cooperative with everyone working together to common goals.

OK time to go dig the skate games out for the weekend. Tomb raider can wait.

Superbuu3 29 March, 2013 @ 3:12 pm   3

Speedball. Simple fastpaced. Easy to pick up and takes years to master. It doesn’t matter how many times I play it on various machines the addictive nature always kicks in again.


Olympic Soccer on PS1. Not even joking. One of the first games I got with my PS1 all those years ago and some of the best multiplayer fun I’ve ever had! The graphics were quite laughable, with blocky players that had no faces, but the sheer unrealistic gameplay was what made this game so awesome. You could literally smash the ball from the opposite end of the field, put on wicked bend, and score some amazing goals. Goals from goal kicks, goals from corners, flying overhead kicks. With the wet weather on to slide for metres, and even slide into the goal whilst scoring, Olympic Soccer was insane fun in groups. And let’s not forget the awesome commentary from Radio 5 Live’s Alan Green! I’ve had more fun with this 1996 classic than I’ve ever had with the realistic FIFAs and other sports games.

The13thMan 29 March, 2013 @ 3:14 pm   5

For me it’s WWF Smackdown on the PS1 – smart, simple controls and a never-bettered season mode. I put many hours into getting the best possible stats for my created robot and dinosaur wrestlers – even a decade later I still remember bashing away delivering Falcon Arrow after Falcon Arrow – pure stress-relieving fun.


Best sports game ever has to be the MLB The Show series. They have just got better and better as the years have gone by.

The latest, MLB 13 The Show, on the PS3 looks like you are watching a proper live broadcast from ESPN!! The Vita version isn’t a million years behind it – and that’s a game you can play on the bus, work, in bed or even on the toilet (as I often do)!!!

The best news is that now Europe are embracing the game and we no longer have to import the game to play on our fair shores!

Long may MLB The Show continue to wow me.

skells22 29 March, 2013 @ 3:16 pm   7

yep agree with post 5 there. also Fifa

doomsday619 29 March, 2013 @ 3:20 pm   8

Daley Thompson Decathalon was one of my favorites as a kid just a pain to load you would have to get everyone out of the room while it loaded and scream at anyone who sneezed or breathed, and once loaded after a few hours play you would have to wear gloves because the skin on your fingers would start to peel off…..oh the memories lol.
Being a WWE fan my favorite one of them has to be Smackdown here comes the Pain or WWE All Stars just for the arcadey controls.
But my favorite of this gen has to be Sports Champions Disk Golf, I have Sports Champions 2 but always go back to the first game as its really addictive and great to play when i have mates around.

The13thMan 29 March, 2013 @ 3:21 pm   9

Though I did also put hours into Speedball 2 – the game played beautifully and delivered all the requisite futuristic competetive action violence, thanks in part to a well balanced upgrade system.

And I’ll throw in another vote for Super Sprint on the Atari ST – only three keys required, pure racing action, and like all these games, better played with friends. Good times, good times…

Causton97 29 March, 2013 @ 3:22 pm   10

I remember playing Fifa 97 way back on the PS1! I’ve never been keen on football games at all really, I hate the sport… but that was the one game that I really enjoyed! I wasn’t very good at it, I would constantly just tackle every player and take pot shots from the halfway line, but it was amazingly fun to play and I kept coming back to it. There was even the opportunity to play in an indoor stadium, something I miss from the newer Fifa games!

Sure, I couldn’t play online, but there was nothing better than having some mates round on the sofa and having a really great game with them! Those experiences will never be beaten and I’ll cherish them forever!

It just goes to show how a game that you can be absolutely terrible at can still be really fun to play at the same time!


champ man/football manager. started playing on the amiga and the amount of hours ive sunk into them is startling for example on fm12 i decided to check how long id been playing and the time had gone from hours to days and was currently up to 27 days that was 648 hours of play. Compare that to 128 hours on skyrim, 92 hours for final fantasy 8 and i hadnt even finished playing.

you cant beat the feeling of taking a blue square north team to the premiership or finding that gem of a player who cost peanuts but goes on to be one of the best players ever for your club or getting so far into the game man united get relegated.

Omac_brother 29 March, 2013 @ 3:24 pm   12

Euro 96. What a game.

chrisboers 29 March, 2013 @ 3:25 pm   13

Nothing beats Track & Fields, the button masher, which actually cost my quite a few joysticks. I first played this game in the gamehalls, and spent many a dime on it. While it’s a sports game, it is also one of the first ‘rythm’ games, as you really had to mash the buttons in a certain rythm to run the fastest, jump the hurdles on time, and place the pole at the right moment for the highest jump. I played it on many a format (gamehall, MSX and PC), but alas not yet on a Playstation console. Did it ever get released on PSN?

MaxDiehard 29 March, 2013 @ 3:25 pm   14

I’m not big into sports, but for me it has to be the SSX Series and Shaun White Snowboarding.

Jestersoil 29 March, 2013 @ 3:27 pm   15

I’ll have to go with Fifa series cause i’ve laughed and and had for years paying with my brothers and cousins all together 😀
you can never know what’s going to happen and there are extremely funny moments 😀

Agamer2006 29 March, 2013 @ 3:29 pm   16

Im not the biggest sport fan in the world, but I do love my racing games, may the be gran turismo or any of the codemasters games.

I would have said something about one of the Gran Turismo games (Manly Gran Turismo 3) but a year ago I decided to try out GRID after hearing so much about it and it falling under my radar. Have to say the GRID is one of the best packaged racing games ive ever played, bringing with it not just racing but customisation and the ability to manage a team. Not many racing games go the deep.

I would put Grid up for Best Sport Game and I cant wait for Grid 2 to take that title

godheit 29 March, 2013 @ 3:30 pm   17

I would say Pro Evolution Soccer 6 playing against friends and was a hell lot of fun and (propably in my mind) the best game of these series.

regards and happy easter 🙂

modzerowo40i 29 March, 2013 @ 3:31 pm   18

FIFA 98: Road to World Cup

Nick_Bester 29 March, 2013 @ 3:31 pm   19

The SSX series… Love them all!

Player42791 29 March, 2013 @ 3:34 pm   20

I’d say best is most realistic and for me that’s real world golf on the PS2. More for the controller than the game though. It used the gametrak controller and I remember that whenever I took a swing the path of the ball was almost a perfect copy of the path of the ball in real life. In other words I was just as bad in the game as I was in real life.

MafiaCub 29 March, 2013 @ 3:37 pm   21

NBA 2k13

I know Basketball isn’t everyones cup of tea, but god damn you can’t deny that that game does everything right. Every star player has a near photorealistic digital counterpart, other players on the team look at least as good as most other sports games. The bench and crowd are always active, and not just flat pixels. From a graphics standpoint, it’s top notch. The sound is also amazing, from the squeaks of the shoes on the court, down to the fantastic play by play commentary which rarely repeats, and always gives great insight in the history of teams and players.

There’s plenty of game modes to go through, either as a pro today, or by taking a legend through their career. You can even be a manager.

Game play is tight, games are close without you ever feeling screwed. To me it’s just the perfect sports game. I can go from watching a game on ESPN, to playing this on my PS3 and not really notice any difference in the presentation and sound. I play a lot of sports games, to me, this is ALWAYS the best of year.

BluSpykz 29 March, 2013 @ 3:39 pm   22

Fifa 95 on the Sega Megadrive. The game that ultimately kickstarted a massive, worldwide franchise. EA were on to a winner here, but it still had fictitious names.

The tagline for this game was “The BEST console football can get!” – and at the time people truly believed this. Smooth(ish) passing, better graphics than those seen just a year earlier – this was the pinnacle of sports gaming at the time. There was no substitute, there was nothing better.

Obviously with the release of PS1, PS2, and PS3 (and competitors) the graphics, and gameplay have come on leaps and bounds – but my favourite football game still remains Fifa 95.

(If PSN could somehow bring Fifa 95 and Fifa International to the store, I’d snap it up in an instant!)

ShinYagami13 29 March, 2013 @ 3:45 pm   23

never been a fan of sports games but i really loved Tiger Woods 99 on my psone! after i mastered it it was all eagles or better with my favorites of course being those Hole in one’s =)
please oh please God let me win the new one!!!! 😀

vonhammer 29 March, 2013 @ 3:50 pm   24

As wrestling has been mentioned, I loved the N64’s WCW vs series that later became WWF:WM 2000 and No Mercy. Since then the genre has been dead.

If I had the ability to create games or the money to fund one, I’d ask syn Sophia (AKI) if I could pay homage to their games and release a download only game.
I’d release tool’s were players could mod on PC and import arena,music,moves,characters,story arc’s,weapons, match types.

It would be the ultimate wrestling game that had a single player that focused on how well a player could work.
You could chose what era you start in, and that would reflect the style of your wrestler. The game would then evolve over time and you’d need to adapt over to stay relevant and still be a draw 20 years into your career.

I want to see wresting games evolve beyond what was done in the mid 90’s and the crud that’s pumped out each year. In the hay day,the games were played by people who didn’t even watch it on Tv. And I think that audience is still there.

cheekyMcB 29 March, 2013 @ 3:54 pm   25

Virtua Tennis 2. Great arcade gameplay with a career mode I spent AGES on (appropriate given it’s a SEGA game, LOL). The silly mini-games to train your player capped it off brilliantly.

iordanis1908 29 March, 2013 @ 3:57 pm   26

FIFA 98 road to World Cup (ps1) !!!!! All time classic !!!!

solarwind12 29 March, 2013 @ 4:02 pm   27

Hi Fred. hope your having a good one. Well after giving this one a bit of thought i think i will go with a fighting genre.. Not the ‘modern’ type though. but maybe Gladiater Begins, yes i been watching the yearly Roman era tv films, Ben Hur and such, and, at that time those activities were considered sport.. Thinking about it not much has really changed, imo, obviously the killing of ones opponent, opponents isn’t included in this, yet the basic concept, well competitiveness IS i believe exactly the same today as it was for those Roman’s and Greek’s at i guess was the dawn of sport, as we know it. i mean i used to watch olympics when younger thinking, crap, no ‘real’ tv shows on now for weeks, lol.. obviously growing older changed that a lot, but learning, mostly through my interest in ps games, the origins of the olympics, well am sure you must know how mind blowing stuff like that can be.. i mean just one example, the ‘marathon’, when i found out why this got it’s name, well it amazes me. the Athens soldier Sprinting from somewhere to City of Marathon, delivering important warning, Then after delivering message drops dead. wow, truly just wow. Anyway have nice weekend.


I don’t play many sports games so I like them to be creative, SSX Tricky was great for it’s wackiness, but I’m going to say Sports Champions.
It was a promising start for Move with the accuracy of the controls, it was fun with friends and wasn’t afraid to be creative, rather than the usual golf, bowling and tennis we got Frisbee golf, bocce and gladiators. I would have liked a full game to come out of the gladiator one. Also archery with two controllers felt a lot cooler than maybe it should have.

Mr_Egregious 29 March, 2013 @ 4:04 pm   29

Jonah Lomu Rugby on the PS1. All about the addictive gameplay, and the unlocks – a team composed entirely of Jonah Lomus and a team with a ridiculously tall player and a tiny super-quick full back – were great for a 2-player laugh. There hasn’t been a rugby game since that has entertained me so much!

WayfaringWalrus 29 March, 2013 @ 4:05 pm   30

I’m going to have to say the NHL series. There aren’t many sports games which require you to mix skill, finesse and pure brute strength to win a match.

My favourite memory is from NHL 10 – playing through an entire season and making it to the Stanley Cup final with the Maple Leafs, tying 3-3 on games and losing the last game in the third period! I’ve never been so engrossed in a game.


Rob--M-- 29 March, 2013 @ 4:06 pm   31

Has to be F1 2012. It is the best ever simulation of F1 and is insanely fun racing online against other people!

robbond 29 March, 2013 @ 4:06 pm   32

sensible soccer. when a game can be 13 all going into the last few seconds and it can go either way. it may not be realistic but you could easily pick it up and have a close action packed game. best couch coop i’ve ever played

TheLegendOfMart 29 March, 2013 @ 4:12 pm   33

Clearly Speedball 2 Brutal Deluxe.

I am a huge F1 fan and would have picked one of the codemasters F1 games but they are buggy as hell.

Stonesthrow 29 March, 2013 @ 4:15 pm   34

A few come to mind despite having neglected the genre for years now. So I take it these were good enough to be remembered.. World Cup 98 on ps1 is one of those. I’m not into soccer at all but during World Cups I get slighty more into it, that year more than usual because a lot of my friends and people in school talked about it. It was a good way to get to know players and was a great game too. Probably the only real sportgame I got into pretty deeply and played regularly, together with Space Jam on the SNES in my earier years.
Other sports take me back to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on ps1 and SSX on ps2, two great games in which I also invested a lot of time.
If racing counts too, I’d go for Gran Turismo 5, by far my favorite in the series for its technical advances. Although I love Motorstorm Apocalypse just as much.

A_Nonny_Moose 29 March, 2013 @ 4:20 pm   35

Virtua Tennis World Tour on the PSP. Pretty much the only sports game that’s ever held my interest for more than 15 minutes. There was something very arcade-ey about the controls that made it fun to play. I tried other Virtua Tennis titles out afterwards, thinking I’d been missing out on a great series all this time, but they weren’t nearly as good.

bobopudge 29 March, 2013 @ 4:21 pm   36

The most fun, funny and insane sports game for me has to be space jam all the way back on the PS1. This was one of the first games I ever played and I still remember how I used to get my team and destroy the opposition (some of the time).

Certinty 29 March, 2013 @ 4:25 pm   37

Top Spin 4.

It’s a shame the game never got the credit it deserved. 2K Sports practically nailed almost every aspect. Amazing game.

DoYouLikeMyID 29 March, 2013 @ 4:29 pm   38

I’ve always enjoyed the WWE games. Mostly because of what I think is the greatest character-creation mode in any video game ever. You can practically change everything about your character 😀

It really is a joy to see the character you created go against the best superstars in WWE, or just create your dream-match between existing superstars, ith the stipulation you want, in the arena you want. You can also make title matches and so many other things your heart desires.

It will definately be interesting to see what 2K will do with the WWE franchise, now that THQ is no more. I’m not sure what to expect from what will undoubtfully be called “WWE 2K14”, but we’ll see.

Btw, I’m not really interested in Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14, so don’t pick my comment.

yorkypud1976 29 March, 2013 @ 4:35 pm   39

For me it has to be the MLB THE SHOW series of games. Id heard so many great things about it and took the plunge and imported the 12 edition from Canada. Even tho i was limited to noonline due to it being a import i was blown away by the sheer depth of the game and the amazing graphics on show, The detail of the players and stadium right down to popcorn vendors plying their trade is amazing and it fooled a few friends into believing i was actually watching live tv. Iwas overjoyed when this years version was a PAL release and immediately snapped it up off the store and its now even better with online available at last. Fifa and the like have a lot they could learn from it and im drooling at that hought of a PS4 version.

DecypherSlo 29 March, 2013 @ 4:40 pm   40

My choice would either be SSX: Tricky or maybe Skate 2.

I had a lot of fun playing SSX tricky with my friends, back when I still had a PS2. We would often just dismiss the race and focus on getting as much points as possible by performing tricks and stunts. There isn’t a better feeling than keeping a Tricky streak for almost the whole lenght of the track whilst trying to not get turned into a pancake by crashing into a tree. Good Times.

As for Skate 2, it’s pretty self explanatory; Hall Of Meat. Enough said.

Terarded 29 March, 2013 @ 4:42 pm   41

none because they are all crap

i dont understand why anyone would pay to play a game alone in a dark room, when they can go and play it in real life with friends for free with the benefits of exercise.

and thats coming from me, a guy who throws a lot of hatred at people who judge people for choosing games over sports.

BaBy-_-D3aN0 29 March, 2013 @ 5:11 pm   42

Difficult question as I’m a huge fan of the majority of sports, football in particular. However, while I’m a huge fan of football, the best sports game for me is something completely different.

The hours of fun I had and still have playing Top Spin 4 is astounding. While it can be called repetitive (aren’t all sports games?), the career mode, bringing your player up from a small tennis court to the finals of the US Open/Australian Open is a enjoyable experience in which you feel a great deal of achievement once you accomplish something big.

The inclusion of PS Move also helps me stay active (of sorts), and adds that extra bit of competitiveness all sports games should have. Just a shame not many people play it Online any more, as playing against other people is the main part of a sports game. Still very enjoyable to play on the hardest difficulty though 😀

The biggest attraction to sports in general is competitiveness and achievement, two factors I believe are shown in abundance in Top Spin 4. Therefore in my opinion, Top Spin 4 is the best sports game out there.

stealthstu007 29 March, 2013 @ 5:36 pm   43

Not really sure if you would class it as a sports game, as its not really, but it is a racing game, and as you mentioned Gran Turismo at the top i’m going with this as its a racing game too.

Micro Machines 2 Turbo Tournament.

the hours my friends and i played that game was immense, it was a truly tournament game, with such simple game play anyone could pick it up and play.

A great solo player game as well as multiplayer, i could play it for hours on my own, just learning the basic tracks off the top of my head, exactly how to take each turn to maximise my speed so that i could beat my friends (however my plans were pretty much blown out the water whenever someone would just get in the way.)

The multiplayer was the main selling point for me tho, and it was never a serious racing game, knocking opponents off the edge of the kitchen sink and other items was great, and it was never a dull moment playing with your friends on this game. The Mega Drive cartridge contained two extra control pad ports so that 4 player gaming was a privledge, and the ability to have two players on a controller allowed 8 players, but that was never as much fun as four player!

KRadiation 29 March, 2013 @ 5:43 pm   44

For me it’s the Everybody’s Golf games.

The gameplay is just spot on and the definition of pick up and play. I’ve bought every version made and recently the vita version and it just doesn’t get boring. When you put side spin on a ball, hit the flag pole and the ball zooms up into the sky spiralling around and then back down into the hole… It’s awesome… And its addictive. It makes you want to do it again and again… I’m wanting to jump on the vita now for another round lol.

We used to run a tournament on the evo-web forums each Wednesday night. I think we played each night, each week for about a year. The only reason we stopped was a few people changed jobs and worked nights and we just didn’t have the numbers anymore each evening.

My fingers and toes are crossed for a PS4 version.

OPIE_W1NST0N 29 March, 2013 @ 5:51 pm   45

1st of all i wud like to give you a virtual high five for the shaq-fu ref.
2nd of all even though it may be a boring choice i wud like to give a few reasons why PERSONALLY 4 me FIFA is the best sports game.
#1- it is quick to pick up and play but seems to take years to master (for both player and developer it seems ^_^)
#2- it is this i mean the fact i can play online one minute with a englishman then an american the next and a russian the next, and each player will have a different passion for football/fotball and inturn play in a varying style..GREGWAY 2 my next point
#3- each and every game is different. which means no matter how good you are there will always be someone better than yourself so the opportunity to improve your game is always there. there will always be someone who plays in a way you are yet to experience so the need to adapt arises.
#4-It teaches the difference between a”Juan mata” and ”grey matter ”becuz of fifa ive learnt a fair bit about a game i used to love as a child ,it has bought me closer to my 2 sport frenzy brothers.but more importantly it helped me become the ‘manager of the year 2015/2016.
there is only one question left to ask.. will YOU ‘Join the club?’

Gilgamesh29 29 March, 2013 @ 6:13 pm   46

For me it’s FIFA 97 for the MegaDrive!

Full customization for teams and leagues & indoor 5-a-side!

Best bit was taking over controller two, sliding tackle your goalie and getting them sent off – play against 10 men (or 9, 8…). Cheap move, but a great bit of fun!


Brutal Sports Football on the Amiga. What other sports game can you get Space Vikings with samurai swords versus Gorn-like lizard men? And what other sports game gives you the opportunity to win by decapitating all your opponents?! It was the perfect mix of fast action, arcade sports and crazy power-ups. Can’t believe this game is over twenty years old now – this needs an HD re-release on PSN!

daxx619 29 March, 2013 @ 6:16 pm   48

Still the best memories of my youth came from all-day sessions of Sensible World of Soccer on the Amiga 2600. I have 2 brothers and in the 90’s 3 player games didnt really exist so until this title we would fight over the games “console” day and night. SWOS gave us the ability to start 64 team tournaments where each of us would select 15 teams and give the CPU a few to level the field. The battles over the years moved occasionally to newer titles and different consoles but nothing ever matched the simplicity and competition of these marathon sessions.

I miss those days and even with the newest generation of titles feel poorer for losing SWOS out of our lives

supersmith2500 29 March, 2013 @ 6:23 pm   49

Motorsport games such as WRC and F1 and not to mention a great fan of them. What I love about these games is the career modes where you can build up your carrer, winning races along the way. It never gets old.


Formula 1 Grand Prix (aka World Circuit) on the Atari ST may well be my favourite game of any genre. At the time, it completely changed the way I thought about gaming and even F1 itself. I could have nominated any of the ‘Grand Prix’ sequels but that first drive always stands out.

Those game were truly influential and remained the standard bearer for later efforts from Bizarre Creations, Ubisoft, EA and Melbourne House amongst many others. Codemasters now have to live up to that benchmark and some – if not many – would say they fall short.

I and many others would agree that Geoff Crammond is much missed, a return to virtual racing is long overdue.

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