15. EA Sports’ “NBA Live 95” on Genesis (1994)
“NBA Live … 95.” Not only was the name and sound uttering the name upon booting up cool, the unique corner camera angle was also refreshing.
Live 95 took over for the Bulls vs. Lakers, Blazers, Suns era (after a brief hiccup in ’94) and dominated video-game basketball for the next decade (until 2K focused on one sport).
14. EA Sports’ “FIFA Soccer 10” on PS3, Xbox (2009)
Just like Fight Night and Tiger Woods, FIFA is the other series on this list I didn’t own. And it’s unfortunate because the top FIFA game of its series should probably crack the top 10 if not top five.
Blame me on this. It’s all my fault due to non-experience with the game. But don’t let that take away the fact the FIFA series might be the greatest sports video game series ever.
13. EA Sports’ “Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs” on Genesis, SNES (1992)
“Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs” edges the previous “Bulls vs. Lakers and the NBA Playoffs” for one critical reason: signature moves were so much better.
Though the game’s signature moves were created during the debut version of “Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs” in 1989, they weren’t as crisp. Michael’s Jordan signature reverse layup wasn’t as nasty as it appeared in the ’92 version. The same can be said for Larry Bird’s baseline jumper and Magic Johnson’s running hook.
This series was way ahead of its time. When looking at the background animations such as the players on the bench, the crowd and how each player owned its attributes, Electronic Arts really had a winner on its hand.
12. EA Sports’ “NHL 95” on Genesis, NES (1994)
What did EA Sports do after its breakout hit of NHL 94? They simply came back with another solid edition with “NHL 95.”
Following up on the popularity of the NHL with its place on ESPN and the New York Rangers capturing the Stanley Cup, the sport of hockey and state of hockey video games saw its pinnacle during the year of 1995—even with that pesky lockout ruining half the year.
11. 2K’s “ESPN NFL 2K5” on PS2, Xbox (2004)
“ESPN NFL 2K5” for PS2 and Xbox is the most controversial sports video game of all-time.
With an ESPN backdrop and personalities owning the show—namely Chris Berman’s highlight show—many believe the gameplay and overall presentation make it the greatest football simulation of all-time. I don’t agree.
While I certainly played it a lot—along with Madden 2005—the EA Sports version was better. I don’t subscribe to the theory that 2K’s 2005 football game reigned supreme. The overall presentation was better, yes, but the gameplay wasn’t. The sheer football strategy play after play wasn’t.
2K, for some strange reason, made the turbo button as a tap effect. This meant the player had to continuously keep tapping the button in order to get the runner going. That’s arcade stuff—anti-simulation.
Who knows where 2K would be with the football simulations if the NFL license hadn’t forced them to give up football. On the other side of the token, who knows where EA Sports would be with baseball if MLB hadn’t forced them to give it up by way of 2K—who struggles with that sport while watching Sony’s “The Show” dominate the recent hardball landscape.
It’s a tremendous game, no doubt, but a little overrated by some. As it pertains to a pure simulation offensive versus defensive strategic football game, Madden 2005 edged it out.