Just like everything else in life, sports aren’t for everyone. We can’t all appreciate the drama in Game 7 of a playoff series, and that’s okay.
Also like everything else, though, sports are made better through a video game lens. If you can’t be bothered to learn the intricacies of a major league sport’s rule book and would rather play fast and loose with the by-laws, then we’ve got five games that’ll tickle your fancy.
The original classic took arcades by storm in 1993, replacing five-on-five basketball with over the top two-on-two hoops. Shoving opponents to the ground to get to the ball didn’t result in a foul, and catching fire by making three baskets in a row allowed for dunks that defied all natural laws of physics and reality.
An updated version was eventually released on current gen consoles in 2010, keeping the classic gameplay intact while updating the rosters. Whether you prefer to ball with the likes of Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant or Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, NBA Jam offers the kind of frantic competitive and co-op action that any gamer would love.
The sweet science can be a real drag sometimes; even EA’s excellent Fight Night series can only hold your attention for so long if you don’t want to learn the ins and outs that boxing has to offer. What’s a casual pugilist to do?
That’s where Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! series comes in. Little Mac’s rise through the ranks is more akin to a puzzle game than anything else, with the memorization of opponent tells and patterns taking precedent. The NES original and 2009 Wii version both offer a wide range of international opponents-slash-stereotypes for you to pummel, and beating the likes of Mr. Dream and Mr. Sandman is always satisfying.
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
Hot Shots Golf has never deviated from the rules of the sport. Scoring is the same as on the PGA tour, and all of the same penalties apply. You have to factor wind speed, wind direction, and the ball’s lie with every stroke. There’s a surprising amount of realism to be found in the series.
So why is it on the list? Because there’s more than enough to keep it from becoming as mundane as the real thing. Between power shots, super sidespin, and a crazy lineup of characters that you’d never see at a country club, Hot Shots Golf is infinitely more entertaining than the real thing.