Posts Tagged ‘Boxing’

Video games and sports have been close partners since their inception. Throughout the turbulent 80’s and the death of the arcade, the grand times and great triumphs of the game industry, sports games have been there. They entertain the wishes of would be NBA stars who can’t play at a professional level. They fill the void for baseball fans during the off-season who itch for the first pitch thrown in April. Most importantly, they offer hours of entertainment for gamers and casual players alike, and every so often change the nature of the industry. There has not been one single home video game console released that did not have at least one sports title in it’s library of games, if not in it’s launch lineup. Sports games have proven time after time that they can both sell systems and destroy them, introduce new heroes to gamers and bring new markets to the gaming industry, and if not for one specific sports title and the man who created it, video games as we know them may never have existed at all.

These are ten sports games that have made a huge impact on the video game world.

#10: NBA 2K11

Finally! Michael Jordan in a game worth playing.

Micheal Jordan. You see that period at the end of “Jordan?” That makes his name a sentence. That’s how important he is as an American icon. It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but ol’ MJ is almost certainly the greatest player the NBA has ever seen. NBA 2K11, while being a great game even without Jordan, goes all out in it’s attempt to place you in his shoes. The Jordan Challenge mode is by far the most accurate and engrossing mode in any video game I’ve played in the last few years and tells a great story even without using any real narrative. In the ten challenges you are tasked to match or beat Jordan’s statistics for a specific game or series. Should you complete them, you are given the opportunity to see how a rookie MJ would stack up against today’s players by taking him into a new career mode. No sports title before has ever placed so much emphasis on the emotion and stories behind the game it is emulating and I doubt a better attempt will come along any time soon. Unless you count NBA 2K12…

#9: Wii Sports

My dad loves this game. He's 63. That makes me happier than I can adequately explain.

What? Wii Sports? Yeah. For serious. Wii Sports sold millions of Wii consoles alone and proved that a small, if gimmicky, innovation like functioning motion controls can bring a whole new perspective to the video game industry. Sure the games included were very simplified versions of their real life counterparts, but they were fun and accessible to pretty much anyone who can move their wrist. If you want a testament to how groundbreaking and important Wii Sports is, just ask anyone who owns a Wii. I bet you they will say they still play it from time to time if not that they play it regularly. For a game going on 6 years old, that’s pretty impressive. Not to mention my Dad loves it. Any video game that gets his endorsement is a winner in my book.

#8: Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!

This was so god damn hard. I've never done it without using the code to get straight to him.

It’s here. On the list. And I’m never going to just call it Punch Out! I like it better with Tyson’s gap toothed grin on the splash screen. Boxing will probably never again be as popular with non-gambling white America as it was when this little arcade gem was released, but 2 million copies were sold, mostly due to Tyson’s name. It was my first experience with boxing at all, and my first time ever seeing Iron Mike in any medium. That’s right. I knew who Mike Tyson was and that he was the “baddest man on the planet” before I ever even knew he was a real professional boxer. I’m sure I’m not alone in this and that’s why this game is on the list. As one of the first quality, mainstream, licensed games, it shows the power that a well developed game can have on a property and the power of a good property to sell a game. This is a mixture and lesson that most game developers still have not learned.

#7: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Most likely the best level in the entire series. The school.

Skate boarding and board sports in general are sports in the same sense that gymnastics and figure skating are sports. They are a venue for their respective athletes to show off talent and physical skill while, hopefully, looking awesome at the same time. If making video games was a sport in the same sense, THPS2 would be pulling high 9’s all day. The first game in the series set the bar and created a genre of game that had basically never existed before. It’s sequel smashed that bar and made the extreme sports game a major player in not just the sports video game world, but also the gaming world in general. It was the first in the series to have a career mode, which is still a solid and deep attempt by today’s standards. It had a soundtrack that was both accessible and fun to just listen to, a feat that the series pioneered and many other games have tried to emulate since. It made Tony Hawk a household name among those who would never have known him, and much like the previous entry in this list, had an air of credibility with his fans just because his name was on the disk. Still, it’s largest contribution may have been making Activision, the game’s publisher, a very very rich company and Tony Hawk is arguably the reason they are such a large player in the industry today.

With that, I leave you. Check back next week, or sooner if I get off my ass (then back on it in front of my computer), for part two where I’ll rattle off the next 5 games in the list. I know that’s only 9. I got something special planned for number 1.

CLICK ME TO GO TO PART 2. DO IT!

My top 5 is a weekly feature that takes a peek into the mind of Andrew Welebir and Mauricio Rubio.

My top 5 favorite boxing rounds.

I’m part of a dying breed, a real Boxing fan. Here are my favorite rounds of all time.

5. Barrera vs. Morales I, rd. 5, February 19, 2000.

Coming from a Mexican-American family, I tend to gravitate towards Mexican fighters. This trilogy is amongst my favorite boxing trilogies of all time. It pitted two warriors against each other, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. Round 5 has an interesting ebb and flow to it as Morales and Barrera go back and forth with momentum. Morales ended up winning the split decision

4. Ali vs. Frazier I, rd. 15, March 8, 1971.

AKA The Fight of the Century. Perhaps my favorite knockout of all time, mainly because of the look of surprise on Ali’s face. Frazier was Ali’s equal, the first guy to knock him down. He executed a great defensive strategy and used it as great offense against the faster Ali. The background for this fight has been discussed Ad nauseam, but it was a great fight. The technical aspects of this round aren’t as pretty as the others, but considering the legend of Ali and my love for Frazier, this makes the list.

3. Luis Castillo vs. Diego Corrales I, rd. 10, May 7, 2005.

Corrales is done at this point. He’s spitting out the mouth piece, his eye is swollen shut, Castillo is on his way to an elusive 10-6 round, Corrales needs a knockout to win. After going down for the second time, he digs deep and finds it, launching a furious assault that earns a stoppage. This is what I watch when I need some motivation.

2. Hagler vs. Hearns I, rd. 1, April 15, 1985.

Otherwise known as the war, this is considered by many as the best round of boxing in history. It’s certainly the most memorable start to a fight I can think of. There isn’t much to say besides that this ended with a bloody Hagler knocking Hearns out.

1. Gatti vs. Ward I, rd. 9, May 18, 2002.

My favorite sports moment. This is the most inspirational video I’ve ever seen. In all honesty this trilogy is the second greatest in boxing history, behind Ali vs. Frazier. Ward won the fight, but both fighters won a lot of respect by boxing fans the world over.

To download, right click and save as this link.

In this week’s episode, Andy and Moe can’t figure out who should take the lead, we talk some Penn State Football issues, Andy makes a Blackhawks prediction, Moe’s boxing heart is broken by Andy’s favorite Joe Frazier memory, we have our very first contest, and Moe is sad about the NBA.