Sports video games are one of the most popular genres on the market today. The yearly Madden roster update masquerading as a new game tops the best-seller list year after year. For sports fans, the appeal is obvious - you can take control of your favorite team and take them to the Championship. In later years, as consoles got more sophisticated, players would be able to create themselves in the game to be the QB, point guard or center fielder for their favorite teams.
However, that's all the good. There's plenty of bad. In the early days of Atari and NES, the older game systems couldn't really reproduce anything that looked or felt like a real sports experience. Also, in the early days, before the professional leagues and player unions realized how much money was in video games, there were plenty of games with full rosters of generic players with fake names. There was also a glut of terrible games "made" or "endorsed" by a sports star. Madden is one of the few holdovers from that era.
These misfires cover a broad spectrum though. Sports games didn't suddenly become perfect once they became corporate, as there are still bad sports games made today. The increase in technology and the death of generic teams/players hasn't stopped game developers from making some terrible lapses in judgment. Also, this list features entries from the world of Pro Wrestling, baseball, football, soccer, NASCAR, and even cricket, just to name a few.
20 Gaelic Games: Football
19 NFL Head Coach
When Madden added the "Franchise Mode," it gave fans the ability to control their teams for multiple seasons. Why win a championship when you can build a dynasty? There was free agency, the draft, trades, the whole shebang. It was almost a game within a game.
18 Royal Rumble
17 James Buster Douglas Knockout Boxing
16 Michael Phelps Push The Limit
When the XBox 360's Kinect came out, video game fans pictured the great uses down the line for motion capture in video games. There were even more great uses for sports games, from throwing punches and dodging in a boxing ring to trying to hit a curveball. Unfortunately, no one was dreaming of how it would translate to Olympic Swimming.
14 Football Manager 2013
This series is very similar to NFL Head Coach, but just swapping in World Football for American Football. The concept isn't the worst, as the world of European Soccer has lots of tactical decisions, ins and outs, and whatnot. Lots of fans liked the series as a whole.
13 Beavis and Butthead: Bunghole in One
One could argue that just reading the title of this game would tell you everything you needed to know already, but this game was so much more worse than the title could promise.
12 White Men Can't Jump
There's no denying that it was a great movie, but the video game left a lot to be desired. This stinker has a unique claim - to be on lists for the worst sports game AND the worst movie game of all time. It also was bizarrely released three years after the movie came out, very different than today when games come out simultaneously, or even before, their movies.
11 WWE Crush Hour
10 Mega Man Soccer
Before you ask, there was no indication of soccer fans having any interest in the Mega Man series before this game came out. No doubt one of the weirder sports games ever released, it didn't have to be so bad. The Super Mario Strikers games have proven that it can work.
9 Madden Football 64
8 NASCAR Rumble
Another misstep in the crossover genre, this game took the NASCAR license with the stock car history and famous names and slapped it on a bad Twisted Metal/Mario Kart hybrid. The second "extreme racing" type game on the list, NASCAR Rumble is more notorious for having actual racers in the jokey arcade and power-up heavy game.
7 Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball
6 Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed
5 Michael Jordan - Chaos in the Windy City
4 Slam City with Scottie Pippen
3 Outlaw Tennis
2 Peter Shilton's Handball Maradona
It isn't enough for this game to be a soccer game where you only control the goalie, making 3-6 saves per game. That would be bad enough, but the entire game is a childish whine about one of the most famous plays in Soccer history.
1 Ashes Cricket 2013
This bomb would get a spot on a general list for the worst video games ever. It's even more jarring to see a game so recent make this list. Ashes Cricket 2013 came out online ahead of a planned release for consoles later. It was quickly obvious that the game was half-broken, with outdated graphics and other bugs making the game unplayable.
It only lasted four days online before being pulled from release. Everyone that had tried to play it got a refund and all further versions and releases were cancelled. It was a major black eye for the studio and a waste of the cricket license that's hugely popular throughout the world.
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