My Top-5 Sports Games which are not Mario Games
Well, it’s summer which is the perfect time to go out and play. Right? Well, being a guy with enough video-game related content to make a blog out of it, it should probably not surprise you that I’m not the sporty type. Sports-related video-games, equally, don’t hold much appeal for me, but just for the heck of it, I decided to post a few sports related titles that do hold some degree of appeal for me.
I realised very quickly though that people might get fed up with a list consisted of mostly Mario-sports titles, so I decided that the list would not feature any Mario sports-games. Obviously I love Mario Kart as well as Mario Golf on the Nintendo 64, but that’s just the way this list is gonna roll. Also, I’ll only include one game per sport. And finally, people may be surprised that there aren’t any Formula One video-games here (despite my obvious obsession with them) but on top of the fact that I really don’t like realistic racing games to begin with, F1 video-games are just generally terrible (even my favourite one: F-1 World Grand Prix on N64).
Anyway, on with the list…
One of the earliest sporting titles and indeed video-games, Pong was released by Atari in 1972 and it took off like crazy. It’s the most basic representation of tennis (or table tennis) and definitely hellishly primitive. However, I highly urge people to partner up with a free online version and start playing, because you’ll find the game to be addicting as all hell.
You may remember this form my Top-10 Classic Arcade Games list from a while back and I haven’t changed my mind at all about the addictiveness of Pong. Also, to be honest, Tennis video-games have never really evolved that much from this progenitor which is one of the reasons I felt Pong was just as good of a pick as any Tennis game for the list.
However, it is only for two players which is a bummer.
Boxing hits very close to home on one of my favourite game genres, fighting games, so having a boxing title on the list was a no brainer. And as pointed out back in my Top-10 SNES games list, this sequel to the highly popular Punch-Out!! (a.k.a. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out) for the NES gets overlooked by most which is a crime and a shame since its honestly a better game.
Now true, the NES Punch-Out does follow the rules of boxing more closely, but I feel Super Punch-Out is better since it’s really just about knocking your opponent out. Also, the pre-programmed decisions mean that the NES variant forces you to learn all the ins and outs of your opponent, rather than measuring you by the strength of your actual skills. Super Punch-Out doesn’t pull this bullshit which is why I like playing it a lot better.
Also, the opponents are still just bat-shit crazy and cartoony. This game is just loads of fun.
Water scooter games are really a rare sight these days and its a shame because I think the genre would have potential of giving the more established car-racing games a run for their money. That’s if WaveRace 64 is anything to go by. Despite being a launch title for the Nintendo 64, it still features some of the most refined controls, design and water physics I’ve experienced in any game.
WaveRace shows that you don’t need many bells and whistles to make an awesome game. The circuits are varied and memorable and the gameplay feels unique as you try centre your character’s gravity to make it to the end of the race. I especially love the swamp, ice and city levels and the game even features a final stage when the water level changes between rounds. The only negative thing about the game might be that there’s only four playable characters, but you can customize your water scooter quite a bit, so if one character is giving you trouble controlling them, you can just adjust the game to help you out.
I would also recommend the game’s sequel Blue Storm for the GameCube albeit, it’s not as refined a game although it offers many more playable characters and beautiful water-effects. If you want to try out a different type of racing game, give the game a whirl.
Despite the impression this may give you, I’m not actually a Soccer-fan of any description, but I do have to admit that video games about European Grass Hockey do hold a certain appeal for me. In the case of ISS64, there’s just a lot of nostalgia for this game but it also has that solid Konami design to it which is one of the reasons why I think the gameplay has aged so well. The vibe and music are great and you can even create your own players which is sort of cool.
There’s a bunch of customisation options and you can even go head to head with any country you want in snow if you like. My favourite thing about this game though is scoring, since the game’s announcer voices go absolutely insane whenever you make a goal. Despite carrying a reputation as a “realistic” soccer game series, ISS64’s controls are easy to learn and using different formations and strategies is pretty easy. You do have to manage your team to a degree and replace players when they become too tired, but it’s just an added level to the game.
ISS64 is definitely worth a try if you want to play a fun and easy to master soccer title.
Racing games in and of themselves are great, but as I mentioned before, realistic racing games bore me to tears. That’s why I’ve always preferred the zanier end of the spectrum and ExciteTruck is about as zany as they get without a plumber or a monkey behind the wheel shooting rockets. ExciteTruck is the third in Nintendo’s Excite-series of motorsports games and you’ll remember this from my Top-10 Wii Games list. It’s an under-rated early title from the system.
ExciteTruck gives you an innitially limited selection of vehicles, but you’ll soon have cars with crazy features and names. The main gist is to race and do tricks like running through patches of forest, flying through the air and drifting. However, what makes the game great are the power-ups which instantly change the terrain in front of you. Mountains emerge from nowhere and straight, dirt roads turn into low rivers. You can even run through tornadoes or start a forest fire to make visibility even more challenging. And even when you crash violently, you can still keep on racing.
This game is just loads of fun and utter madness coupled with an awesome heavy metal soundtrack (or music of your own choosing from an SD card). I love this zany game and I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who just love insane physics and big feckin’ trucks.