Sport has most definitely dominated my gaming career. I dabbled with RollerCoaster Tycoon as a young boy and joined the Call of Duty bandwagon later on; although I was dreadful and only really played for the headset chat with my friends. However, the only games I have ever really enjoyed and excelled in have been sporting ones.
Indeed, when it comes to sporting games, I would like to think of myself as a bit of a connoisseur. Naturally FIFA has been a staple of gaming consumption, but I have tried all manner of other games. Whether that be Football Manager, Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour, Brian Lara’s Cricket, Virtua Tennis or Rugby Challenge, my sports game library spans a range of disciplines, eras and consoles.
However, two games stand out for me above all others: Athens 2004 and Rugby 08. These were my go to games when friends came around. They are the two that never disappointed and were just as fun however often you played them.
Athens 2004 was a brilliant game in ode to the 2004 Olympics. It was a multi-sport game like no other and it was completely unrivalled in its diversity. From horse riding to athletics, gymnastics to weightlifting, there was a range of sports to master and keep you entertained.
My abiding memories of the game though, will be the physical exertion it required. The sprinting and swimming events offered a thumb workout like no other, with the player having to frantically bash the keys as fast as possible. An hour on this game would leave you physically drained. With rousing music, epic commentary and a plethora of countries/games this had it all. If I still had a Playstation 2, I would play it right now!
Rugby 08 is definitely the game I have played the most in my lifetime. EA Sports’ final rugby offering was a belter! It has definitely not been matched since its release in 2007, which is a travesty for rugby lovers like myself, who have been starved of a decent rugby game for over seven years. It was a game of real quality, with relatively lifelike game play, impressive graphics and lots of great features.
A personal favourite of mine was the ‘Create a Player’ feature, where I could finally give myself the physique and pace I have always dreamed off. Winning World Cups with minnows, or playing in the Heineken Cup or Super 14 meant there was plenty on offer for keen rugby fans. It was also possible to be very good at the game without it becoming boring, a trait which many other sports games fail to possess.
It was also a forum for some feisty duels with your friends, with pivotal last minute conversions creating drama like no other game I have ever played. If EA Sports ever bring a new rugby game out, I might have to dust off the old controllers and immerse myself in rugby heaven just one last time!
Online Sport Editor
What’s your favourite sports game? Can you still not tear yourself away from this year’s edition of FIFA? Let us know in the comments below, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on everything else games and tech, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.