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As live sports return, the DTH sports desk reminisces on favorite sports video games

Andrew Reynolds is a Sports Writer for The Daily Tar Heel. Photo courtesy of Andrew Reynolds.

With few televised sports and more time being spent inside during this pandemic, video games have been a popular outlet for fans and sports writers to see the action we desperately crave.

Whether it was a way to relax from the hustle and bustle of school, to see who is better on the sticks or a way to build a league in a mind-bending alternate reality, video games offered something for any casual sports fan.

Here are some of The Daily Tar Heel sports desk’s favorite sports games ever:

Andrew Reynolds: MLB 12 The Show

Given the time I've invested into the game and what the franchise meant to me at the time, my answer is hands-down MLB 12 The Show.

Baseball is my favorite sport, and The Show had limitless possibilities in career mode. I made two careers: one as a pitcher for the Houston Astros and one as an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves.

Countless all-nighters over the summer and any free time in the normal schedule were invested into both careers.

To possess baseball ability beyond my own and be a dominant force in the MLB in both careers hooked me. Eventually, I logged 20 years on careers and some incredible moments along the way.

So, when I think of the best sports game, it had to be this one. While this iteration wasn't anything groundbreaking in The Show series, it was the one I played the most and holds a special place in my heart.


PJ Morales: Wii Sports

Let’s be real here: there is no sports game more ubiquitous than Wii Sports. I played Wii Sports. You played Wii Sports, whether you owned a Wii or just used a friend’s. It’s the fourth bestselling game of all time at nearly 83 million copies sold, and it’s that same universality that makes Wii Sports my favorite sports game of all time.

Growing up, I was never any good at sports. There were brief forays into baseball, soccer and football — I started at defensive tackle in sixth grade, not to brag or anything — but I was more of a sports appreciator than an athlete myself. But during those moments playing Wii Sports, all of that went out the window.

If you knew how to click one or two buttons and swing your arm, a whole world of possibilities was unlocked. You could be a championship boxer, an ace golfer or literally two tennis players at once. It was a way to engage in sports with a lot of people, and actually be good at it. There was none of the technical prowess that games like FIFA or Madden required. With Wii Sports, having fun is what made you good. If that’s not the perfect sports game, I don’t know what is.


Cooper Metts: Madden NFL

I started playing my favorite sports video game, Madden NFL, on my Wii when I was 11 years old. Playing as Cam Newton, Chris Johnson and Calvin Johnson, my favorite players at the time, kept me entertained for hours on weekends or over holidays. 

My favorite feature of the game was the campaign mode, which let you be a player, coach and general manager of an already existing organization or a drafted organization from a pool of all active NFL players. In this feature, I’d try to take the Panthers to the Super Bowl and make big trades or sign big-name free agents to improve the roster. 

I now play Madden on a used PlayStation 3 that I got for free. The PlayStation 3 editions of Madden allow players to adjust playbooks and run the read-option, triple-option or run-pass option plays. They also allow players to adjust rosters and add new people to the team. Although many adjustments have been made to Madden since I started playing, I still enjoy playing as Cam Newton at 20 as much as I did when I was 11. 

Austin Bean: PGA Tour 2K21

At the moment, PGA Tour 2K21 has to be my favorite sports video game. My brother and I, along with two of our friends, have made a habit of hopping online at night after our classes are over for the day and letting it loose with a few matches of golf.

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When you first download the game, 2K allows you to customize the player that you will be competing with and your club selection. As you play the game more and gain experience, you can earn currency to buy better clubs and different outfits to stand out against the competition. 

After setting up your player, it's time to hop into a match. You can choose to play online against your friends in a private party, random people online, PGA Tour professionals in your offline career or you can just play solo if you need to get some practice in. 

The gameplay is great because you can choose from up to 15 official PGA courses, along with hundreds of other courses that people create in the game that have pretty awesome and somewhat realistic graphics. 

PGA 2K21 is definitely the right step forward for golf video games, and I look forward to seeing what future surprises they have for fans as the game evolves.

@DTHSports |