Sports videogames have a long history that dates all the way back to the early 1970s with titles like Atari’s Pong and Sega’s Grand Prix. Both titles are some of the earliest 8-bit takes on real-world sports competition. Fast forward to today and the sports genre has advanced by leaps and bounds with incredible graphics, authentic audio and detailed physics that closely emulate their real-life counterparts.
We’ll explore some of the best sports games out currently and take a look at what’s coming next. Let’s dive into the wild world of sports and find an experience that’s right for you!
Major league sports games
If you are a fan of professional sports leagues, they each have titles releasing annually. From basketball to pro golf all major leagues like FIFA soccer, the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and PGA all have games out now to help live out your pro sports fantasies.
Each year, sports games go through a refresh adding better graphics, new gameplay mechanics and features that continue to bring them closer to their real-life counterparts. If you are hitting the gridiron, hard court, ice or field all your favourite players and teams await. Here are some of the major pro league franchises developed by EA Sports and 2K Games:
The beautiful game returns on consoles with FIFA 22. Innovative features across every mode, such as HyperMotion, include advanced full-team mo-cap data and learning of new tactics to boost your gaming performance.
This year experience the gridiron like never before in Madden NFL 22. The all-new Dynamic Game day, it uses next-generation stats, powerful AI, and real-life data for incredibly authentic gameplay. Utilize new staff management features and an enhanced scenario engine to create the ultimate team.
Experience a whole new world of basketball with NBA 2K22. You’ll play against the best teams and choose among international, NBA and WNBA players. With the MyCAREER feature, embark on your own pro journey to rise to the top of the league. Build your custom player with MyPLAYER as you take him to the heights of stardom.
The most authentic virtual hockey experience has arrived with NHL 22. Visual improvements like overhauled player likeness and cloth animations bring players to life, creating truly immersive game environment with the Frostbite engine. Superstar X-Factors system allows you to compete higher, unleash your players’ abilities to reach the top, and dramatically refreshes the game experience.
MLB The Show 22
Baseball’s most authentic virtual experience awaits in MLB: The Show 22. Real players, teams and all new legends of the game hit the diamond this year. Whether you’re an aspiring rookie or veteran of the diamond, step up to the plate and take your place amongst Baseball’s legends. Along with Xbox and PlayStation versions, MLB The Show makes its debut on the Nintendo Switch this year!
PGA Tour 2K21
It’s a whole new era of golf with an attitude, express yourself through your style and signature shots on the green. Golf with the pros and make a bid for the FedEx Cup or join an Online Society to challenge your real-life friends and more in PGA Tour.
Motorsports are one of the most fun and exciting parts of this genre. The depth and breadth in how you can take a checkered flag on a track are incredibly varied. From arcade racers like Mario Kart to the ultra-realistic Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo simulators offer challenges to gamers of all skill levels. Let’s take a look at what each offer with some of the category’s best games:
If you are looking for a more accessible, action-packed experience arcade racing has plenty of fun and thrills in store. Born and bred in arcade cabinets, classics like Out Run, Daytona USA and Ridge Racer shaped the modern arcade racer experience we enjoy on home gaming consoles today.
These racers come in many different styles and settings from cartoony kart racers to out of this world sci-fi showdowns. They aren’t without their challenges, but if you are looking for over the top fun, here are some great titles:
If you are looking for a high-adrenaline, off-road experience Dirt 5 delivers. The game is packed with a variety of vehicles, tracks customization options and multiplayer modes. It straddles the line between arcade and sim racing to deliver a satisfying experience on the track.
Hot Wheels Unleashed
More than just a racing game, Hot Wheels Unleashed lets you show off your driving skills in detailed and interactive environment. Get behind the wheel of incredible vehicles, each with its own style, traits, and personality. Venture to massive themed playgrounds where you’ll enter into immersive races and flex your abilities.
Release Date: Available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.1/5 (83%)
If you prefer the more aggressive side to car racing Wreckfest offers pure mayhem. Throw the rules of etiquette out the window and get ready for high-octane destruction, a racing game with collisions & full-out calamity.
If you are looking for pure fun on the racetrack, give kart racing games a whirl. Kart racers streamline controls while adding in twists like out of this world tracks and even introduce combat mechanics. Careful how you use that purple shell in Mario Kart!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Released back in 2017, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe still remains the undisputed champion of kart racers. This is the definitive version of the game featuring 42 characters, 48 courses, and 40 karts. This is the best Mario Kart out there and an instant classic. Nintendo continues to support Mario Kart 8 through paid DLC with the Deluxe Booster Course Pass. The DLC adds on a whopping 48 additional tracks that will be released in waves until the end of 2023. If you are a Nintendo Switch owner, MK8 is an absolute must play.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Rebuilt and remastered from the original 1999 release, this new and improved CTR will keep kart racing fans coming back for more. The game features 31 tracks, 26 playable characters, and a ton of content and modes that adds a lot of replay value. With online and local multiplayer modes, you’ll never race alone!
Open world racers
A relatively new genre, open world racers have quickly become the most interesting motorsport games in this category. These games let you hop in a vehicle and take it just about anywhere your heart desires. The freedom these games offer is extremely satisfying and gained a loyal following from both casual and hardcore racing fans.
Burnout Paradise Remastered
One of the best arcade racers of all time, don’t let Burnout Paradise pass you by. Get ready to head back to Paradise City, where you’ll wreak havoc in a rich, detailed open world. Buckle up, few racers have such a breakneck sense of speed and destruction.
Forza Horizon 5
The latest entry in the legendary Forza Horizon series takes to road in Mexico. Explore the series most ambitious setting yet packed with races, challenges and a massive lineup of cars.
When it comes to simulation racing games, developers painstakingly work to deliver a real-world driving experience. These games feature realistic physics, and mechanical details right down to aerodynamics, tire tread wear, brakes and the ability to tune your car.
Release Date: Available now on Stadia, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.2/5 (84%)
Race against the best drivers in the world in the most accessible and most comprehensive Formula 1 game yet, F1 2020. This year includes the addition of My Team mode and casual elements that gives both rookie and veteran drivers plenty to experience.
Gran Turismo 7
The real driving simulator is back! Experience the life of a racer by building your professional career, customizing your cars, competing in numerous tracks, and participating in real-life leagues in this visually stunning motorsports game.
Upcoming racing games
Redefine your race day in Formula 1 2022 and experience immersive or broadcast race sequences. The full lineup of all 20 drivers and 10 teams are ready to race. Take your team to the front of the grid with new depth in My Team career mode, race head-to-head in split-screen or multiplayer, or change the pace by taking supercars from some of the sport’s biggest names to the track.
Extreme / Arcade Sports
Step into the wild side of sports where all the limits and boundaries are pushed by athletes who push themselves to the limit. Alongside the wild side of extreme sports are also arcade experiences that bend the rules of sport to create more fun for their audiences. Here are some of my top picks:
Mario Golf: Super Rush
Release Date: Available now on Nintendo Switch
Get ready to hit the links with Mario and the rest of the gang! Play with up to 4 players locally or online in Standard Golf, Speed Golf, or RPG-like story mode. Shoot like a pro with the Joy Con controller and the adaptive shot gauge, meant to cater to both rookie and pro golfers.
Nintendo Switch Sports
Release Date: Available now on the Nintendo Switch
Unleash a new world of gaming experiences with the Nintendo Switch Sports for Nintendo Switch. Featuring six different sports, this switch lets you play your favourite sport with a far-away opponent or as a team sitting in the same room. With the intuitive Leg Strap accessory and Joy-Con controllers, you can curve the bowling ball, hit a tennis shot or even kick a soccer shot.
Grab your bike, skis, snowboard, or wingsuit as you explore a massive open-world playground where you make the rules, whether in Career or multiplayer mode. Customise your character and explore a variety of scenic landscapes, including US national parks such as Yosemite, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. Let’s ride!
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.5/5 (90%)
One of the most iconic sports titles of all time has made its return to next gen consoles. Pull off insane skateboard tricks from the comfort of your living room in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.
Challenge your friends and the rest of the world to see who can get the fastest time (or the most spectacular wipe out!) with Trials Rising.
Upcoming arcade sports games
Mario Strikers: Battle League
Release Date: Coming soon to the Nintendo Switch
Team up with the Mushroom Kingdom gang in Mario Strikers: Battle League exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Own the field by scoring the most goals by slamming opponents, throwing items, and performing special shots and do whatever it takes to win. Local and online multi-player available for playing matches with friends or other players all over the world.
Release Date: Coming soon to the Nintendo Switch
Get ready for turf wars in ink-based territories with the Splatoon 3 for Nintendo Switch. It features the sun-scorched desert known as the Splatlands, inhabited by Inklings and Octolings. Make use of the new bow-shaped weapon to ink more ground and escape attacks with dynamic moves to win the battle.
Sports-based prize fighting
If you are a fan of boxing, MMA or wresting this is the sports subgenre for you. These games emulate sports with hand-to-hand combat delivering the thrills of the ring or octagon right to your gaming console. Get ready to rumble!
EA Sports UFC 4
Get your MMA fix with EA Sports UFC 4, featuring a deep career mode and immersive training and development elements.
Step in the ring with a revamped WWE 2K22! You can unleash devastating moves, kickouts, and finishers with the biggest and best-looking Superstars and Legends: The Rock, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, and more. With new features, improved graphics, and rebuilt engine, you’ll feel a new level of intensity!
High adrenaline action
The sports genre offers a wide range of experiences that look to light a competitive fire in you while playing. Whether you are a fan of big-league sports, racing, extreme competition or prize fighting this genre has something for you. I recommend trying a title from each category above and see which is the best fit for your gaming tastes.
Let us know what your favourite sports game is in the comments below!