The Top 5 Sports Video Games Out There

It always irks me when I see any "top 5/10" list for video games, because it casts a shadow on many great and underrated games. And yet here I am making a list of some of the best sports games the gaming industry has to offer today. Before I begin, it is important to note that I make this list with the intention of reviewing some of the most groundbreaking video sports games of our era, not just to praise five good ones and ignore the rest.

A classic NES controller.
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With that, let's begin:

5. Duck Hunt

Realism is always an important goal to achieve in sports video games … right? But sometimes the best games don't have to focus on that at all. And Duck Hunt is as good of an example as any. While it's debatable that Duck Hunt can be called a sports game in today's industry, hunting is still quite an intense sport. It can be argued that if you haven't popped this cartridge into your NES and mindlessly blasted ducks into oblivion at some point in your life, you haven't had a complete childhood. As the first of its kind, this game paved a path for Nintendo starting from the 1980s and has been an important part of video game history.

4. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005

Without a doubt, the king of all golfing games is the Tiger Woods franchise, and '05 remains my favorite of them for the massive improvements it made from '04. Taking an already massively successful game and improving it is a daunting task, but EA stepped up to the plate and gave us thorough character customization, more game modes, and detailed courses.

3. Madden NFL 2004

No list of top 5 sports video games would be complete without a game from EA's legendary Madden series. Of course, there is a lot of debate over the best Madden game, but while I certainly enjoy the new releases, Madden 2004 will always hold a spot in my heart as the best the series has to offer. Every addition, small or big—from the ability to increase stadium prices to use Playmaker controls on offensive and train in the offseason—trained the spotlight on EA's fantastic franchise and led to much of the series' fame.

2. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

I still remember the day this game came out. Skipping high school classes to score near impossible tricks and mastering the skateboard had never been more fun. Such is the nature of this pick -up-and-play styled game, which is an important landmark in not just the sports community, but the video game industry as a whole. With its large single player mode, an addictive multi-player and the inclusion of even more pro skateboarders, Pro Skater 2 is the definition of a near perfect game.

1. Punch-Out!!

Shame on you if you were surprised to see this game at the top of the list. No sports game has made such a cultural impact the way since this game was released over 20 years ago. Reinforcing the point that realism is no necessity in a great game, this charming and chaotic game became an instant classic (and probably bumped up Mike Tyson's fame a few notches, too).

Sources:

http://www.gamespot.com/tiger-woods-pga-tour-2005/

http://www.gamespot.com/tony-hawks-pro-skater/

http://punchout.nintendo.com/

Dylan Young is an avid gamer and regularly publishes content on video games through the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is also a competitive Team Fortress 2 player.

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Updated Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012