The 4 Best Sports Video Game Franchises

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4. FIFA

FIFA is perhaps the greatest gambling game of all time. It is immensely fun even for someone who couldn’t care less about soccer (me). In my undergrad years, my friends and I would build super teams through forced trades and a cockamamie slotting system we created on our own. In the end, you’d have Ronaldo and Messi teaming up on the wing against Rodriguez, Cavani, and Ibrahimovic.

Add alcohol and increasingly irresponsible wager amounts and you’ve got a recipe for victory — or disaster, depending on the largely fortune-based goal scoring. The only issues rest in the lack of interesting game modes outside of tournament or quick game, and the fact this is an entire game dedicated to fucking soccer.

3. NBA 2K

Gambling will be a reoccurring theme of this list, but let’s be honest, grown men playing video games need to at least be engaging in adult activities (gambling, alcohol, assorted other substances) to give it an appropriate level of maturity. Games are fast-paced and extremely short in duration, with a recommended game speed boost that will have the players looking more like they’ve hit the slopes than you.

Career mode is a great time, and 2K offers one of the best dynasty formats of any sports game, but the curious decision to do away with multiplayer dynasties (aside from in online mode) knocks the overall quality down a bit in my mind. Yeah, playing video games is kind of for losers (and I don’t give a fuck), but sitting and playing alone for hours? I rather prefer the camaraderie of non-pixilated companions.

2. Madden

Hard to go wrong with the greatest sport on earth, but Madden blows it some years by tweaking with gameplay to an extent you wonder what the fuck EA Sports was thinking. However, for a game with 40 seconds or so of absolutely nothing going on between plays, Madden is immensely fun to play, bet on, and even watch when the stakes are high enough.

Fantasy drafts make for an extremely interactive and personalized franchise mode, and the practice feature can help even the Tourette’s-ridden player become formidable, but beware of online tournaments for cash. Winning is impossible — trust me.

Overall a phenomenal game. A lost $60 dollars every August when the new one is released with nothing but new rosters and bizarre gameplay quirks, but a must-have nonetheless.

1. NCAA Football

PLEASE COME BACK. The greatest sports game of all time, and it is not close. Gameplay was far more interesting, better paced, and easy to understand than any of the entries in the Madden universe, featuring trick plays like double reverse passes and flea flickers in standard playbooks. NCAA games were wild, with far more turnovers, big plays amidst boneheaded defensive breakdowns mirroring the idiocy of real life, overmatched 18-year-olds.

The dynasty mode was incredible, allowing recruiting simulations, personalized coaches and playbooks, and features where you could interact with the administration of your employer school. Build champions out of mid-majors or string together dynasties with blue bloods — the level of autonomy and depth in which you could choose to engage were second to none.

Your career was maybe even better. Starting as a high school senior performing in games for better scholarship offers and opportunities, you steer your player (often the version of yourself you wish existed) through signing day and 3/4 years of collegiate lore. This was so realistic that as your player increased his notoriety and national acclaim, the quality of your imagined girlfriend actually improved. A sexist level of realism unseen in E-rated video games.

NCAA pre-tailgate was the greatest ritual, from the fight songs to the iconic mascots and uniforms, a kid could get lost for hours in digital bliss, not wanting to be found.

I beg of you, bring this back.

Image via YouTube

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