Chart­ing the most in­flu­en­tial – and best – sports sims from 17 years of Xbox gam­ing

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - START - Ben Wil­son

FIFA, Mad­den, NBA 2K: ask the ca­sual gamer for his or her all-time favourite Xbox sports game and the com­mon an­swer is one of that trio, fol­lowed by a num­ber be­tween four and 19. There’s noth­ing wrong with that, per se. But putting such a fo­cus on the big three does a dis­ser­vice to the many other sports sims that have show­cased ex­cel­lence in their re­spec­tive fields since the con­sole’s 2002 launch.

To that end, here OXM pre­sents its first-ever Sport­ing Hall of Fame. Over the next six pages are the best and/or most in­flu­en­tial games in­volv­ing bats and balls from the last 17 years, with one im­por­tant rule: no mat­ter how long a series has been go­ing, it can only be rep­re­sented once. We left mo­tor sports for a dif­fer­ent time, but ev­ery other sport was el­i­gi­ble, in­clud­ing a sports sim no one saw com­ing – by a cer­tain world renowned pub­lisher – with­out which Niko Bel­lic would still be work­ing taxi jobs in Hove Beach…

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