We are all in desperate need of a sporting fix. Some of us were tuned into the Ukrainian Table Tennis Cup last weekend, one of the few sporting events still going ahead.
There is nothing like the roar of a live crowd as the best of the best battle it out on a pitch, court, rink, I miss it. All is not lost though there are ways we can somewhat grab the authenticity while still remaining in our homes. Here is a guide for all you sports fans out there on which video games can fix your need for sporting action.
10. NHL 2001 ( PS2 )
Lets start off with a game that encapsulates two sports ( Ice hockey and Punching the head off each other) on a console we probably all still have ( PS2 ). Ice Hockey is mental, and this game perfectly captures it. There is more anger and frustration in the below trailer then there is joy, its perfect.
9. Olympic Gold ( Sega )
The Olympics has been postponed until 20201, IOC President Thomas Bach is frantically trying to come up with a solution. Fans of the games are understandably disappointed , but Olympic Gold has got you virtually covered. Before these games became too technical ( Beijing 2008 I’m looking at you ) these games were a joy. Simple button mashing goodness : Remember Germans usually take the top spots in archery, Italians on swimming, Russians on pole vault, Americans on sprinting and so on.
8. Fight Night Round 3 ( XBox 360 )
Using an innovative control system incorporating the analog stick, Fight Night Round 3 is one of the greatest punch ups ever created ( Outside of NHL 2001). A game that can be played with friends or if your like me and prefer playing all on your lonesome, the career mode is perfect in ever way. Fight your way from chump to champ, You’ll definitely get knocked out at some stage but think of the redemption arc.
7. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 ( PS1 )
It was a tough call between Tony Hawks and EA’s Skate. Skate had such a fresh way of playing a skating game, especially since Tony Hawks had become so stale at this point. However props has to be given to the originator. While Tony Hawks one was a classic, Tony Hawk’s two really expanded on the success on the first. A killer soundtrack that will always take you back to a certain point in your life.
6. WWF No Mercy ( N64)
Diggity-Dog! Wrestling games have such a storied history, its quite fascinating. No game in that history is as revered as No Mercy on the N64, a game that is 20 years old! Its a simple pick up and play, as opposed to today’s wrestling games. The creation suite is endless, the depth is seriously impressive considering the console it was released on. Plus who didn’t watch wrestling during the attitude era? Nostalgia
5. NBA Street ( PS2 )
As you may have gathered I value fun over real life simulation. Sure the NBA Live and 2k series are hyper realistic, and probably will fulfill your need for sport better initially, but not for to long. NBA Street, however, will keep you playing for hour upon hours. While an argument can be made for the follow up NBA Street Volume 2, I have to go with its predecessor. Alley-opping for Stretch was a thing of beauty.
4. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 04 ( XBOX original)
‘Member when Tiger Woods was just the best, like seriously the best. ‘Member that 17th hole putt at Sawgrass in 2001, yeah I member. Well have some sweet delicious memberberries and fire up this classic. So many courses , so much time to sink yourself into it, even better that you can play a four player PGA tour with only one controller. Plus who would of thought DMX and Golf goes so well eh?
3. Mario Kart : Double Dash ( Gamecube )
We could of went with Gran Turismo or one of the F1 games, but in all honestly there is no other racing game that can get your adrenaline going like Mario Kart on the gamecube. While the n64 version is probably renowned as the definitive version, I think the gamecube edges it here, most likely to personally losing all of Summer 04 playing it. Perfect game if you locked away by yourself, even better if you are locked away with the family, and have four controllers. Just do your best to avoid those banana peels, lightening rods and dreaded blue shells, as never before has a family friendly game created more fierce competition.
2. Gaelic Games Football / Hurling ( PS2 )
All right, all right in all honesty the game is woeful, I think anyone that ever played it knows that. However its spring time , the sun is shining and not a hand pass to be seen, it hurts. We can relive all the old games we want, ( Of which KCLR has a whole host of commentaries right here – https://soundcloud.com/kclr96fm/sets/live-match-commentaries ) , however once that runs out, whats next? So why not dust off that PS2 , get a jersey on and walk out into a virtual Croke Park while Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh makes random calls in the background
1. Football Manager 2020 ( PC/Laptop)
Lets face it, this is the perfect game for time to go by undetected. The perfect boredom killer. I cant count the amount of endless hours poured in this franchise over the years. It creates affinity’s with clubs and players you have never heard of, real strong bonds. Want to manage a Norwegian second division team and bring them to Champions League glory, well you can, but be prepared to start supporting them in real life.
Its a game that has more depth then any of my previous relationship, and may have been the reason some of them finished. Actual Football clubs have taken to using their scouting system to identify real players, even Alex McCleish’s son begged him to sign a young Lionel Messi when he was in charge of Rangers.
To make matter even better the game is currently free for download on steam until April first https://store.steampowered.com/
If an older generation of players are your thing here is Championship Manager 01/02 https://www.fmscout.com/a-championship-manager-0102-free-download.html
If you need more convincing here is a neat hour long documentary on the world of Football Manager