Sun 10 October 2021 | 19:30

Top 20 best sports video games of all time

Sports games are the best representation of real worlds reflection into the video game world. Which games succeeded to reflect the perfect image and give the gamers what they want? Let us list these games in the top 20 best sports video games of all time.

Like any other video game, sports video games are a perfect recreation of sports in the real world. With the advancement of graphical processors and developing engines, these games are becoming more and more realistic over time. Games like FIFA 22 and Forza Horizon 5 set the bar high up.

Although some may think that the developers need to spend some more time on graphics to make the game look beautiful, but sports video games don't need amazing graphics to be perfect.

They need realistic game mechanics and player movements. That's why FIFA 22 introduced hyper motion which will create new animations for the players based on real-world movements.

To avoid deviation let discuss the main concepts of Sports video games.  To this day, most of the sports have been recreated in a game. Some games place a greater emphasis on actually playing the sport, while others place a greater emphasis on strategy and sports administration.

Some mimic the sport for comical effects, such as Need for Speed, Arch Rivals, and Punch-Out!! This genre has been popular in video games for a long time and is competitive, just like real-life sports.

A number of game series use the names and attributes of real teams and players and are updated annually to match developments in the real world. The sports genre is one of the most well-known in video game history.

Which games have been the best in this genre? How many of them managed to get the attention of the gamers and brought fame and glory to their developers? It is obvious that we can’t list all of the games that are popular and successful but what we can do is to prepare a list and get busy ranking the 20 greatest sports video games of all time.

Ranking the top 20 best sports video games of all time

Now without further ado let us hop into the article and see which games made it to the list of

20 best sports games of all time


NHL 16/Legacy Edition

Starting the article with NHL Legacy edition as one of the

best sports video games of all time

. The game is originally called NHL 16 with a release on PS 4 and Xbox One but there is also another version of the game which is called NHL Legacy Edition that was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

NHL Legacy Edition is a remastered version of NHL 15 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.

There are some minor changes, such as the menu music; however, the EA Sports logo is displayed instead for the album arts, the NHL Moments Live from 2013–14 is replaced by some new ones that became available as the 2015–16 NHL season progressed, and the team’s name selection in the "Custom Team" game mode is improved.


From NHL to NFL, from hockey to rugby, we are going to review one of the best American football games out there that you can get your hands on if you have a PS 2 or Xbox.

On July 20, 2004, ESPN NFL 2K5 was launched for the first time. It was also the final NFL 2K game created by Sega before Electronic Arts (EA) secured an exclusive rights arrangement with the National Football League (NFL) to make EA's rival Madden NFL series the only officially licensed NFL game.

By July 2006, two years after its debut, the PlayStation 2 version of ESPN NFL 2K5 had sold 1.7 million copies and earned $33 million in sales in the United States.

The game was so good that it got universally good reviews and managed to claim so much attention that it became one of the most popular sport games to this day.

According to Metacritic, the review aggregation website, ESPN NFL 2K5 earned critical praise upon debut on both platforms. Thus, it is only right to put this game among the 20 best sports games of all time.

World Series Baseball 2K3

Let us jump to another sport but remain on the current platforms (PS 2 and Xbox). World Series Baseball 2K3 is a sports game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox that was developed by Visual Concepts and published by Sega.

It is the sequel to World Series Baseball 2K2 and the final game in the World Series Baseball franchise. Prior to the start of the 2003 Major League Baseball season, it was released in March 2003. It was initially planned for the Nintendo GameCube, however, the project was shelved.

Despite the fact that it was discontinued years ago, Entertainment Weekly awarded the identical console version great accolades.

According to the review aggregation website Metacritic, the game earned "generally good reviews" on both platforms, falling just short of "universal acclaim." The Xbox version was not only rated the best sports game but also the best game of March 2003 by GameSpot.

We can't ignore this masterpiece while ranking the 20 greatest sports video games of all time.

MLB 11: The Show

Baseball is a sport that brings back memories for many Americans. It is regarded as America's national sport. The National Football League and the National Basketball League are popular among Americans, but Major League Baseball is their favorite.

That is why Baseball video games are popular among gamers. MLB 11: The Show is one of the most memorable games on the list. The game got a PSP release. Needless to say that this handheld console was very popular back then but it was in the spotlight for a very short time.

Back to the game, According to the review aggregation website Metacritic, the PlayStation 3 version got "universal acclaim," while the PlayStation 2 and PSP versions received "generally good reviews."

"The barrier to entry may be a little high for younger baseball sim players," GameZone wrote of the PS3 edition, "but with a little patience and plenty of practice, you'll find yourself in love with MLB 11: The Show."

The game is always present in any list that is related to the best sports video games of all time. That is when you know that this game was a huge success.

F1 2010

We are going to talk about 3 driving games back-to-back, the first of them being F1 2010. F1 2010 is a video game based on the Formula One world championship season of 2010. The game had a few innovative gameplay mechanics like the weather system.

F1 2010 has "the most complex weather system ever seen in a racing game," which is crucial to the game's gameplay.

When it starts to rain, the track begins to lose traction gradually, with certain sections losing traction quicker than others. Overhanging trees, for example, will provide shade for the track, but asphalt dips and indentations will collect more standing water and provide a larger risk.

At the BAFTA Video Game Awards, F1 2010 won the Best Sports Game category, beating out games like FIFA 11 and Football Manager 2010. The overall success of the game was expected due to the development team's massive efforts.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012

A nostalgic game which many gamers spend numerous hours playing, Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012 is one of the best Need for Speed games that brought fame to EA and amazing revenue to its developers.

Positive reviews centered on the global map, which merged the aesthetics of earlier Burnout and Need for Speed games, as well as the social elements, while negative reviews concentrated on the single-player mode.

The game achievements list is so long that we can’t contain all of it in this article, thus we get to the sales statistics of the game. This 20 best sports games of all time list contender was the ninth best-selling game in the United States in November 2012, according to NPD Group, with 509,000 units sold.

These numbers, however, do not include the number of PCs sold or sales made through digital distribution. In the week after its release, Most Wanted was the fifth best-selling game in the United Kingdom, and the fourth-highest new entry of the week.

While sales numbers were not published in EA's financial result report for Q3 2013, it was stated that Most Wanted to surpass 2011's Need for Speed: The Run. Need for Speed Rivals was not produced on the Wii U or PlayStation Vita due to the low sales of Most Wanted on both platforms.

Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

Let's get to one of the most realistic games on the list. Well, it was super realistic back then and not compared to the recent games. The last driving game of the 20 best sports games of all time list was released only on PlayStation 2.

The game was a critical and financial triumph, eventually becoming one of the all-time best-selling video games. It is the second-highest-rated racing video game of all time, with a total score of 94.54 percent on GameRankings.

In the first three days after its debut, Gran Turismo 3 sold one million copies. It has sold 3.8 million copies and grossed $120 million in the United States alone by July 2006. Between January 2000 and July 2006, it was the third best-selling PlayStation 2 game in the United States, according to Next Generation.

The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) awarded the game a "Double Platinum" sales award, meaning that at least 600,000 copies were sold in the United Kingdom.

EA Sports MMA

The first fighting gamer on the list has arrived with a glorious title called EA Sports MMA. AS you might know fighting sports like MMA, boxing and karate are very popular among sports lovers, thus it comes as no surprise to see one of the best games on the list is a fighting one.

Although the game got into controversies with UFC and its president Dana White, the game managed to push aside these controversies and grab the attention of the gamers.

On October 19, 2010, EA Sports MMA had a public launch party for fans and journalists. UFC Hall of Fame fighter Randy Couture and former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko, who both feature the game's cover, finally had the chance to battle each other, although through their video gaming identities, at the meetings. Fedor went on to win the match via TKO.

Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version a score of 79 percent after 55 reviews (78 percent after 42 reviews for the PS3), while Game Rankings gave the Xbox 360 version a score of 80.5 percent after 39 reviews (78.2 percent after 25 reviews for the PS3 Version).

While EA Sports MMA has been a critical success, it hasn't been as commercially successful. Sales of EA Sports MMA have been dismal, according to a Cowen & Company analyst, with analyst Doug Creutz stating that it's "more or less dead-on-arrival at retail."

Mario Tennis 64

Whenever we are talking of the best games of a certain category, the Mario series has something to present, and in this game for the

20 best sports games of all time

list, we meet this cute plumber once again with Mario Tennis 64.

The simple yet diverse control system was one of the main points of this game's popularity. The game has a unique control scheme compared to most other tennis video games on the market.

The accessibility and complexity of the controls were praised by critics, who praised Mario Tennis for its accessibility and depth. The mechanics of the game and the amount of material have also been lauded. According to the review aggregation website Metacritic, the Nintendo 64 version got "universal acclaim."

The game was a close second to Perfect Dark for GameSpot's annual "Best Nintendo 64 Game" award. It was nominated for the publication's "Best Game Boy Color Game" category in 2001, which went to Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages.

Fight Night Round 4

The last game on the list before we get into the top 10 is Fight Night Round 4. When you see the cover art and the boxers on it you know that it has to pack some meat. Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson are looking great on the cover and give the gamer a sense of joy when he understands that he/she is going to play as these legends.

It includes 48 licensed boxers as well as several additional modes, including Legacy mode. Players may utilize picture game faces to more quickly insert the player in the game, boxers can only block high and low, and career mode has been revamped and replaced with legacy mode.

More emphasis on counter-punching, a point system replaces the user-controlled cutman, and characters may be downloaded. Round 4 of Fight Night For the first time in a game, Flyweight and Bantamweight weight classes were included.

The game got generally good reviews from Metacritic and GameSpot. Famitsu awarded it a 26 out of 40 rating in Japan, with three sevens and one five. We highly recommend the game as it is certainly one of the 20 best sports games of all time.

MVP Baseball 2005

Starting the top 10 with MVP Baseball 2005. Manny Ramirez, the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox at the time, is featured on the cover.

Full Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, and Major League Baseball Players Association licenses are included in the game. As of 2006, it is ranked 98th on IGN's reader-voted top 100 games of all time. The broadcasters are Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow, real-life San Francisco Giants commentators, like in prior iterations of the game.

X-Play awarded the game the title for the best sports video game of 2005. The game was named fourth on ESPN's "Best sports video games" list in May 2013.

MVP Baseball 2005 was a finalist for PC Gamer US's "Best Sports Game 2005," which went to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 in the end.

Snowboard Super Cross 3

It may sound weird to say this in an article about the best sports video games of all time but you might have not heard of this game. Well, that is because it was widely known for SSX 3. SSX 3 is a snowboarding video game released by EA Sports BIG and developed by EA Canada.

The game was first published on the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox on October 20, 2003. Visual Impact transferred it to the Game Boy Advance on November 11, 2003, while Exient Entertainment ported it to the Gizmondo on August 31, 2005, as a launch title.

It's the third entry in the SSX franchise. We should mention that you can still experience the game because backward compatibility makes it playable on Xbox One consoles since April 17, 2018.

The first game in the SSX series to sell one million copies was SSX 3. SSX 3 for PlayStation 2 has sold 750,000 copies and made $28 million in the United States by July 2006. Between January 2000 and July 2006, it was the 83rd best-selling PlayStation 2, Xbox, or GameCube game in the United States, according to Next Generation.

By July 2006, the SSX series had sold over 3 million units in the United States. The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) awarded SSX 3's PlayStation 2 version a "Gold" sales award, meaning that at least 200,000 copies were sold in the United Kingdom.

Was this enough to convince you that this game was one of the 20 best sports games of all time?

WWF No Mercy

It might surprise you to see a WWE game or rather WWF game in the list, while the validity of it being a sport is debatable, but this title was so good that we decided to put it on the list while we are

ranking the 20 greatest sports video games of all time


Improved visuals, a "Championship" mode that enables players to engage in numerous storylines, and a more in-depth character creation system distinguish No Mercy from its predecessor, WWF WrestleMania 2000, released in 1999.

When the game was first released, critics praised the improvements made to the game, as well as the series' well-known gameplay and controls.

Despite this, the game was panned for its blocky visuals, slowness, and computer-controlled opponents' difficulty level. Overall, the game got positive reviews and went on to become one of the best-selling Nintendo 64 games, as well as the third best-selling wrestling game.

Madden NFL 06

Probably the best NFL game ever made, this game hit different back then and it will still give you some decent NFL experience although it has been years since the game's release.

As you can tell by the name, the game was released in 2005. It is the 16th entry in EA Sports' Madden NFL series, which is named after famous color analyst John Madden. Donovan McNabb, a former quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, is featured on the product's cover. It's the PlayStation Portable and Xbox 360's debut Madden game.

The PlayStation 2 version received 85.26 percent and 88 out of 100 from GameRankings and Metacritic, respectively; the Xbox version received 84.11 percent and 86 out of 100 from GameRankings and Metacritic.

The PS 3 and Xbox 360 versions didn’t do as well. Because of the concurrent changeover from the Xbox and PlayStation 2 to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, both fans and EA developers see Madden NFL 06 as "the indisputable lemon of the franchise."

By August 2006, the PlayStation Portable edition of the game had sold 590,000 copies in the United States, earning $28 million. It was the 48th best-selling game for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, or PlayStation Portable in the United States between January 2000 and August 2006.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Let us get into something different and less popular than all the sports we have already talked about. If you know Tony Hawk you would probably know how cool he looks doing the tricks on his skateboard. Likewise, the game which is named after him is one of the coolest sport games ever made.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is based on the same game engine as its predecessor, but with improved visuals and gameplay, including the addition of manuals and monetary prizes.

The game takes place in a three-dimensional urban setting with punk rock and hip hop music playing in the background. The user controls a variety of skateboarders who either do tricks or gather items.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 was critically lauded at its first release and is widely regarded as one of the 20 best sports games of all time, as well as the highest-rated sports video game.

The game's addicting gameplay, vast locations, rich visuals, smooth and accurate controls, personalization possibilities, and music were all lauded, with minor critiques focused on the lack of a first-person camera and the Nintendo 64 version's shortened soundtrack.

Wii sports

Wii sports is probably the most popular Wii game and of course, the starter of our top 5. This is not a game but rather a collection of 5 different games which are Tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, and boxing.

Players use the Wii Remote to simulate real-life sports activities like swinging a tennis racket. Each game's rules have been streamlined to make them more approachable to newcomers. Training and fitness modes are also included in the game, which tracks players' progress in sports.

Wii Sports got positive reviews from reviewers, won several accolades, and is widely regarded as one of the finest video games ever created. It is the highest-selling single-platform game of all time, and fourth-best overall, with over 82 million copies sold by the end of 2017.

It's also the best-selling Nintendo video game ever. In Wii advertisements, news stories, and other programs, Wii Sports has been highlighted. The game has become a popular way for people of all ages to socialize and compete.

Pro Evolution Soccer 6

Do not worry we also have a

FIFA title

on the list. But for now, let us talk about the best PES game out there. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 was released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows platforms, with later versions for the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable.

In the Official UK PlayStation 2 Magazine, the PS2 version received a flawless 10/10 rating, beating FIFA 07 (9/10). However, owing to sluggish loading times and an inadequate editor, the PSP edition of the game rated worse than the FIFA 07 PSP version.

The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) awarded the PlayStation 2 version of Pro Evolution Soccer 6 a "Double Platinum" sales award, meaning that at least 600,000 copies were sold in the United Kingdom.

The Xbox 360 version of the game received a "Platinum" certification from ELSPA, indicating that it sold at least 300,000 copies in the area.


We have considered this title an exception and have put the whole franchise on the list. The original 1993 NBA Jam, the sequel to Midway's Arch Rivals, enabled players to jump several times their own height, make slam dunks that defied human capabilities, and freely shove or elbow opponents out of the way without being tagged.

It also had a number of hidden characters, as well as the ability to keep track of player records and statistics between sessions.

The NBA Jam series was ranked 99th on Next Generation's list in 1996 "NBA Jam is still a fantastic game, especially in the arcade with four players," he says in "Top 100 Games of All Time." Many of its ideas have now become clichés, yet it is still one of the greatest arcade machines available."


Here it is as we promised. Because of the exceptionally smooth 360-degree player control, better animation, and realistic opponent AI, FIFA 10 is the finest game in the series to date.

This year's game also has a revamped Manager mode and a brand-new Virtual Pro function, which allows you to immerse yourself in the game and earn new skills in almost every game style. Whether you're playing a fast game with your friends or sitting in the manager's chair for multiple seasons, the outcome is an unrivaled football experience.

There are still some flaws, such as an overburdened menu system due to the vast quantity of settings and game types, as well as the possibility to improve players for real money.

According to EA, this game in the FIFA series is the fastest-selling sports game in Europe ever, with 1.7 million copies sold in its first week. Due to its global audience and lower license costs than the Madden series, FIFA 10 sales in Europe had the potential to increase by as much as 30% year over year, making FIFA the most profitable EA Sports title.

After the launch of Grand Theft Auto IV, this game was the only one to surpass its sales, even passing its predecessor, FIFA 09 and another version of GTA which was San Andreas. FIFA 10 had 48 percent more sales that the previous version of the series.

Punch out

The top game on the 20 best sports games of all time list is Punch out. Probably the oldest on the list yet the best among the sports games. It does not have to be new to be good. Enough praising let's get to the game description and reception.

It was voted the 6th best NES game by GameSpot readers. In Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list, it was ranked as the 17th best game produced for a Nintendo System. It was named the sixth-best Nintendo Entertainment System video game by Nintendo Power in August 2008, complimenting it for prioritizing arcade-style excitement above realism.

Despite its nostalgic feel and old age, it still has an active speedrunning community. For long years, one man, Matt Turk, held the record for each individual fight in the game.

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20 best sports games of all time


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