With football season over and most sports that are playing slogging towards the end of their respective regular season, the staff here at HOTSPROTSTAKES decided it was time to pick some of our favorite alternative sports video games.
The rules were simple: Alternative sports games, like Blitz, NBA Jam or any of the Mario sports game, not simulations or attempted simulations like NHL 94 or old Madden Games. Five rounds, snake draft.
If you picked a series like say, SSX, you get all of the games in that series, this saves us from arguing over slight variations of the game that are really the same game but just made kind of different two years later so they could have more money.
Here’s how the draft went down.
James, Pick 1: NFL Street
Ron, Pick 2: NFL Blitz
Walsh, Pick 3: NBA Jam
Analysis: We’re all thinking it: James, what were you thinking with the first pick? When we started this draft, I thought there were two games you could take at No. 1 and not have an argument about either, Blitz and Jam. But James takes NFL Street, which while good, was nowhere near as iconic as the other two games.
Walsh, Pick 1: NBA Street
Ron, Pick 2: Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey
James, Pick 3: Mario and Sonic at the Olympics
Analysis: NBA Street is great value in the 2nd round, could have very easily been a 1st round pick. Wayne Gretzky was much like Blitz and Jam, but never as popular despite being a blast. And James again make a different pick, but those Olympic games are a ton of fun, keeping the spirit of the games, but adding Mario and Sonic fun.
James, Pick 1: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Ron, Pick 2: Mario Golf
Walsh, Pick 3: Mario Tennis
Analysis: We debated on if Tony Hawk was allowed, but it was accepted because the game was just incredibly fake in terms of the moves you could do and combinations. We also get to the Mario portion of the draft, and Golf is always better than Tennis, just ask Walsh, who was really upset by me taking it one spot in front of him. Honestly, this might be the strongest round in the draft.
Walsh, Pick 1: Skate
Ron, Pick 2: Mutant League Football
James, Pick 3: NASCAR Rumble
Analysis: With Tony Hawk being an option, that opened the door for Skate, which was pretty innovative. Mutant League Football was awesome, it was essentially a 7 on 7 version of Madden set in the Mad Max universe. James again surprises us with our first racing game, but it was a solid game that was fun in short bursts.
James, Pick 1: Ready 2 Rumble
Ron, Pick 2: Super Baseball Simulator 1.000
Walsh, Pick 3: NFL Xtreme
Analysis: Ready 2 Rumble was a ton of fun, and it’s surprising there aren’t more crazy boxing games out there. Super Baseball Simulator was a total nostalgia pick but a great multiplayer game, especially when you used the Ultra League teams. And NFL Xtreme…well, it was a rip-off of NFL Blitz and we were getting near the bottom of the barrel.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympics
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Ready 2 Rumble
James Explains: I think my stable is fairly well-rounded. There was only one game that was taken I wish I could have had in Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey, but otherwise, this is a fairly good haul. I believe the most versatile pick was the THPS franchise. It’s right on that line of sim and entertainment and has enough growth and character to be repayable between franchise selections. It never gets old to me and the music selection is pretty great too. NFL Street, my first pick, is extremely dependable. Strong NFL branding with a variety of in-game playing options and customization that was unparalleled to that point. Mario and Sonic at the Olympics is low-key one of the best franchises I’ve played. Most all major sports are represented, and the true world graphics and branding lends an authentically unique experience to the games. My last two picks might not stand the test of time, but man, were they fun. NASCAR Rumble was a ridiculous arcade-style game that allowed you to race souped up stock cars again golf carts and drive around corn fields and the Roman Colloseum while controlling the weather. HOW COOL IS THAT? And Ready 2 Rumble was well ahead of its time, a classic that was recognized after its era. With goofy characters and an interesting controls, it has a lot of replay value, especially if it’s on a Dreamcast.
Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey
Mutant League Football
Super Baseball Simulator 1.000
Ron Explains: My thought with each pick was simply to take the best game available at each pick, and I think I nailed that with the first three. NFL Blitz is THE iconic alternative football game, and the same goes for Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey. They both fall into that category where you could play it all night at a party with friends. Mario Golf was perfect, it was easy to pick up, but added challenges like crazy Mario courses made it a tough game to master and to collect all the Birdie Badges. I still own this game and play it often. My last two picks were nostalgia picks. Mutant League Football was really fun and played better than the old Madden games, it was like Blitz but ahead of its time. The fact that it didn’t have any NFL licensing probably helped it be so violent. And Super Baseball Simulator might be the most fun game I’ve ever played when it comes to 2-player mode. The Ultra League teams with bomb home runs, players who could jump to the roof or throw lightning balls, you were truly never out of the game. Honestly, top to bottom I think I have the deepest draft of the three.
Walsh Explains: NBA JAM: Is there a man alive between the ages of 15 and 40 that hasn’t played NBA Jam? It’s one of the most popular video games of all time, let alone the most popular game that fits into this very specific niche of game. Everything about this game, in all of it’s resurrections, owns and I will throat punch anyone that suggests otherwise. NBA Street: OL WALSHY WITH THE DOUBLE DIP. NBA Street is the cousin that goes to a college in another part of the state that NBA Jam will take road trip visits to hang with on big weekends. Differing from Jam in some minor aesthetic and gameplay areas, Street was basically video game street basketball and fun as hell. I took it here as a “best player available” pick. Mario Tennis: After taking two basketball games, I felt compelled to go in a different direction with this selection. And since Ron (that jerky idiot) took Mario Golf, I decided I would pick Mario Tennis, it being the next best thing. Everything you need to know about this game is in the title, kind of like my next pick. Skate: Skate was a hyper realistic skateboarding game that came as an antithesis to the cartoony Tony Hawk series. But it’s sober physics made it all the more appealing: bombing a giant hill and weaving in and out of traffic felt as thrilling as landing a 900 in THPS. It was a hard game, but once you mastered it, was so much fun. NFL Xtreme: Basically a flag football version of NFL Blitz. A perfect parallel, but Xtreme had one pass catching center instead of three down offensive linemen.
What do you think readers? Who had the best draft?