The best sports video game of all time

The latest sports games are not always the best.

The game’s game landscape has an obsession with incremental changes and bullet points, challenging fans’ ability to step back and judge each game as its own standalone title. This is something I try to address in my game reviews on this siteAnd that’s something I’m taking to its logical conclusion in this attempt at Don Quixote to pick one game out of hundreds and call it “the best.”

Sports games naturally don’t emerge as a completely refreshed product every new season. Industry economics dictate that they tend to reuse the same engines and models over the years, meaning that differences between them can often be limited to current livery, some new features and some ball physics changes. And those changes are usually as much influenced by fan feedback as by the development teams working on them.

so it’s hard to see madden 17 if something Complete separately, as its composition was heavily influenced by the sales and receipt madden 16and how this in turn will play a big role madden 18 has been made. How do you pick one of those games and say, well, this is the best, when a lot of the things that made it great were inspired by – or come directly from – an entirely different video game?

Then you have to consider how the sport has changed its entire outlook in the last 20 years. series like in the 90s FIFA And nba live they were perfectly happy that they were fast, accessible, almost arcade like, Fast forward today and advances in technology have turned blockbuster sports games into simulations, each doing its best to replicate the on-field experience (or, failing that, the broadcast experience instead). This makes it very difficult to make direct comparisons between games in the long running series!

To make it worse, each sport is individual, with its own fanbase, style of play, and culture. What makes the #1 baseball game better than the #1 hockey game? Is football better than basketball?

However, I think I’ve found a way to compare all the games, and as strange as it may seem at first, it’s because of one thing they all have in common. The one thing they hold onto more than anything else, and that in many ways defines sports video games as their own niche in video games. And that’s content.

Every game is stingy. It’s arguably the most defining thing about the company, and it’s often the first thing non-fans make fun of. The business model of this genre is completely built around balancing the need for gamers to be happy with the game they bought, but unfortunate enough to have to return 12 months later and buy an incredibly similar product .

So after a short list of really great sports games-madden 2002, nba 2k11, Proevolution 6, NBA Jam, NFL 2K5—I decided to pick a game that was not only a really good game in its own right, but one that decided to just say “fuck it” and give fans everything they’ve wanted or wanted for years to come The essentials, all in one box.

that’s the game FIFA: Road to the World Cup 98, AIt’s weird but loved, I think we’ll see a bigger game like that one day.

At the time of its release in 1997, it was a very good football game. It had very attractive polygonal visuals, audio commentary, all those things that we have long associated as its hallmark FIFA series. But this is where the game went way beyond what we’ve come to expect from a sports game, whether that’s what makes it truly great or not.

indoor football – In addition to regular 11v11 football, FIFA 98 It also includes a completely separate 5v5 indoor mode, which has its own rules and conditions, such as the ball never going out of bounds. it was just as fun as the real thing FIFA, Perhaps More Pleasure. and while it was actually introduced FIFA 97the fact that it stuck 98 While a lot came in the box, it is one of the things that helped solidify the legacy of this game.

a real world cup – The reason for the game’s long title was the fact that the development team decided to include the 1998 World Cup in addition to national competitions. In France not only the final, but also the whole qualification system. This means that over 170 countries and their squads made it into the game, of course ridiculous the number that represented virtually every football-playing nation on (modern) Earth at the time FIFA Games usually only have a few dozen). If you want, you can play as one of the smallest countries in the world, lead them through qualifying and then win the tournament, an achievement so great that after FIFA 98 It would only be seen again in a standalone video game made specifically for the World Cup.

image, FIFA 98

customization: In addition to more than 170 national teams, there were also about 200 clubs in the sport. And you can adjust the plot. Home kit, away kit, even a player’s appearance. I remember spending weeks tweaking it, making sure each major team’s equipment matched the original design and that the players’ hairstyles were accurately recreated. It was not only useful in 1997; people were playing FIFA 98 For years to come, because when 1998 and then 1999 came around, you could see the kit design updated again.

This is the most incredible thing about all this: FIFA 98 was so huge that it made EA’s yet another video game of its own completely redundant. in addition to FIFA 98 (released in 1997), EA Sports had a game designed to monetize the World Cup, scheduled for release in early 1998. world cup 1998It had official branding everywhere, from the tournament’s mascot to the branded kit (a first for the series). But with only 40 teams, what’s the point of buying it if you can start now FIFA 98Edit some kit and enjoy the same experience?

not to do-FIFA Fans Know How Insane It Was, It’s Like NBA 2K18 Is Shipping On Four Blu-Rays Or The Next mlb The game decided to include the entire Japanese and Korean Pro Leagues for one year only.

This kind of thing shouldn’t happen to sports games because it gives the fans everything they need No Buy your game next year. But here we have it, EA Sports is giving away the keys to the kingdom, for a beautiful year. Amidst the blur of releases from year to year, fifa 98 The generosity is as great as has never been in any other sports game.

But it’s not just the extra ingredients that helped FIFA 98 To persevere. Quantity would be nothing without quality, and the game features a range of other favorites from the simple free-kick dart (better than anything EA has to offer nowadays) to tackling the goalkeeper with a slide and quick exit Are included. ., which is one of the most cathartic moves in all of video games, regardless of its pun.

Then comes the game’s soundtrack, which begins with the intro, arguably the most iconic in sports game history:

However, don’t let Blurr’s cameo overpower the game’s actual musical hook, as most of the menu music was provided by The Crystal Method:

Games featuring popular music are nothing new these days, but this was before the coup in 1997 FIFA (in context, checking out fifa 97 Sad attempt at hip-hop and rock, In fact, you can trace the series’ current place in the pop culture landscape FIFA 98 and the soundtrack, which dared to suggest that, hey, maybe these could be sports video games Cold,

In a world where sports have always been viewed as disposable, FIFA 98 stands apart. Having so many teams in such a vast league and allowing such a degree of customization allowed people to delve into it and play it not only in 1997, but in subsequent years as well.

even today when FIFA The series is known for its licensing as well as football and with over 20 years to its name, you’ll find fans are still talking about it FIFA 98 in a respectful tone. It’s amazing what good music, small teams and the ability to try to beat a goalkeeper will do to a fan base…

the best Here are Kotaku’s picks for the best content on (or off) the Internet.

This story was originally published in 2017.

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