Sports video gaming: The downfall

Jotham Israel, Sports Editor

Ah, sports video games, the hobby that stands alone as the cream of the crop of any young man’s childhood fun. The legendary sports games like Madden and NBA 2K are unbelievably successful, and they were so fun to play.

However, many of my other favorite sports video games have fallen off. Now that 2K is the king of basketball and EA Sports is the king of football, sports games just aren’t the same anymore.

Let’s go back to the early 2000s, the golden age of sports video gaming. During these years, these games turned into the Avengers and assembled a video game dream team.

Two companies stood out from the rest in 21st century sports video gaming: EA Sports and 2K Sports.

EA Sports was the hands-down the best sports gaming company out there. They were rolling with Madden, NBA LIVE, NCAA Football, MVP Baseball, NASCAR and so much more.

These classics gave fans a huge variety of games to play. Things like EA Trax and crisp gameplay across the board are what made EA great! Also, the cameos… Oh my goodness, the cameos!

It was beyond legendary to start an EA Sports video game, hear Andrew Anthony say, “EA Sports, it’s in the game” followed by footage of fans and cheerleaders repping their teams or players and coaches introducing themselves, then they say EA’s famous motto, and Anthony tops it off by emphatically, but smoothly telling you the name of the game.

Ladies and gentlemen, that was top-notch production from EA Sports. Unfortunately, that’s not the case today. Out of all the 31 sports titles EA Sports has ever made, only five of them are still standing to this day. (And it’s about to be four in a minute)

FIFA and UFC are still decent games, NHL is still fun to play, Madden is not nearly as great as it used to be and NBA LIVE appears to be the next game out of the door. EA Sports just isn’t as good as it was back then.

2K Sports, the company that spent the majority of the 2000s in EA’s shadow, is somehow doing just fine with only NBA 2K being the company’s big-name product.

It’s a shame because, just like Madden and NFL 2K, NBA LIVE and NBA 2K used to legitimately butt heads and compete for basketball video game supremacy.

Don’t get me wrong, NBA 2K is still a great overall game. It’s packed with top-notch customization and great features, but there was a time when 2K was known for more than just basketball.

Back then, you had 2K football, 2K basketball, 2K baseball, 2K college football, 2K college basketball and even 2K hockey! On top of all those games, ESPN was incorporated into each of those games, and it made you feel like you were actually watching a game on ESPN!

I can go on and on about how NFL 2K5 and PlayStation 2 Madden games have much better gameplay, innovation and replay value compared to the modern Maddens. No microtransactions, no additional money to be spent and no serious glitching problems. That’s how it’s supposed to be done.

People ask me why I still play the GameCube and the PS2. It’s because the sports games were so much better back in the day. Unless EA and 2K have legitimate competition in the future, we will never see such a great era of sports video games ever again.