Mid-January is not really an ideal time to be a sports gamer -- especially when you live in Michigan. You would think that the colder-than-normal temperatures and frequent snow showers would be the perfect reason to spend hours upon hours cooped up in your gaming cave, but that is not the case. The reality of the situation is that the slowdown of new sports-gaming releases, coupled with the fall gaming releases reaching their saturation point, leads to some hardcore sports-gamer doldrums. With these doldrums comes a delirium much like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, or Homer Simpson in The Shinning if you prefer.
"Cold weather and no sports gaming makes Christian an angry boy."
So what is one to do if he wants to retain his sanity in such adverse conditions? How about get together with an old friend and have an in-depth discussion on the top 25 video game sports teams of all time? Well, that is exactly what I did last week with my best friend Matt (aka Super Nintendo Chalmers), and not only was there plenty of healthy debate over which teams deserved a spot in this exclusive list, but also some great memories were rekindled.
In order to be considered for this list, a team had to meet one simple criterion: The team had to be one that was so good that under no circumstances would you ever allow a friend to choose that squad in a two-player game. These are the teams that were officially outlawed from any and all multiplayer games.
#25 Minnesota Vikings (NFL 2K)
This Vikings team was an absolute menace to play against in NFL 2K on the Dreamcast. Not only did the Vikes have two of the best receivers in the game, Randy Moss and Cris Carter, but the squad also had the ever-dangerous Randall Cunningham behind center. Add to this aerial assault Robert Smith and Leroy Hoard, and you had one of the greatest video game football offenses ever.
This team gave me fits back in college, and anyone who used them was instantly branded as a cheeser.
#24 Philadelphia 76ers (NBA 2K2)
Remember when Allen Iverson was not a washed up shell of his former self playing for the Pistons? I do, and I also remember Matt Geiger being an absolute beast in NBA 2K2. Raja Bell, Eric Snow, Dikembe Mutombo and Derrick Coleman rounded out a pretty tough six-man rotation for the 76ers in 2K2.
This team was rock solid in the game. I remember having 2K2 tournaments in college, and whoever picked the 76ers would somehow win the whole thing -- no matter what the skill level of the player was.
Simply put, Iverson could not be stopped, and Geiger, Mutombo and Coleman were virtually unstoppable in the paint. There was no other team in 2K2 that could deal with the Sixers.
#23 New York Mets (MLB 2K7)
Have you ever played as a team in a baseball game and hit 22 consecutive home runs against an online opponent? How about playing against a team in a baseball game that hit 17 consecutive home runs against you? Have you seen this scenario play itself out multiple times?
I have, and it always involved the New York Mets and MLB 2K7.
For some reason, 2K Sports gave the 2K7 Mets some sort of magic potion that allowed the players to hit moonshots every time they came to the plate. It did not really matter who the hitter was either, everyone on the 2K7 Mets was able to hit home runs like Hank Aaron -- even Pedro Martinez.
#22 Detroit Lions (Tecmo Super Bowl)
Before Detroit was the 0-16 laughing stock of the NFL, the virtual Lions were surprisingly good in the early '90s.
The Tecmo Super Bowl Lions were led by Mel Gray and Barry Sanders. These two players alone could carry your offense and decimate almost every defense in the game. For some reason, Barry could not be tackled, and to make matters worse, Mel would run pretty much every kickoff/punt back for a touchdown.
These two players alone make the Tecmo Super Bowl Lions worthy of a list that is not associated with losing.
#21 Los Angeles (Blades of Steel)
I am not quite sure why this team was so good in Blades of Steel, but for some reason, Los Angeles was almost unbeatable in the game.
It may have had something to do with the awesome yellow and purple blinking jerseys, but I am more inclined to believe that it was because LA had fake Wayne Gretzky on skates and Kelly Hrudey in net.
Whatever the reason, playing against a buddy who selected Los Angeles was an exercise in frustration. It also took a lot of willpower to not punch your buddy in the arm (or face) for choosing LA.
#20 Cleveland Indians (Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.)
How would you feel about pitching to Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, the Alomar Brothers, David Justice, Kenny Lofton, Richie Sexson and Omar Vizquel? Did I happen to mention that most of these players were in their prime when this game was released?
As if playing defense was not tough enough against this team, on offense you would have to face Mr. Charles Nagy, the only pitcher in the game who had all four of his pitches maxed out in the effectiveness category.
This team was a nightmare, no further explanation is needed.
#19 Buffy’s Gym (Sammy Sosa’s Softball Slam)
If you were one of the 10 people who played this game on the original Playstation, you know exactly why Buffy’s Gym has secured a top-20 spot on this list.
Not only did this team have the most power when hitting, it also was the fastest when running the bases. Sure, the squad had the weakest fielders in the game, but that did not really matter because the team could score 21 runs per inning.
Simply put, Buffy's Gym was an offensive juggernaut and proof that defense does not win championships.
#18 LA Lakers (Bulls vs. Lakers)
It is not really a surprise when a team that has its name in the game title is dominant right?
This Lakers team was about as dominant as any team in the 16-bit era. Magic, Worthy, A.C. Green, Sam Perkins and a pre-Taco Bell-endorsing Vlade Divac made this team one of the all-time greats.
Growing up as a Pistons fan in the early '90s, I will never forget spending hours trying to beat the Lakers with Isiah, Dumars and the rest of the Bad Boys. Tragically, the Lakers handed me my 10-year-old butt time and time again.
Tom Barrasso is the only name you really need to know when it comes to the NHLPA Hockey Penguins. Sure, the Pens had Super Mario, Ron Francis and Jagr on the team, but Tom Barrasso was a brick wall between the pipes.
I still sometimes have bad dreams about NHLPA tourneys conducted in my parents' basement; I would always run into the neighborhood jerk who would pick the Pens and Barrasso.
Time after time I had to watch my team attempt to score somehow on the Barrasso wall, and time after time I watched one of three available save animations as Barrasso turned my shots away.
This Penguins team was also one of the first teams that I officially outlawed in the neighborhood. There is no doubt about it, the NHLPA Pens were as cheap as they come -- they are outlawed to this day whenever my Genesis comes out of the basement for some retro gaming.
#16 Chicago Bulls (Tecmo NBA Basketball)
Do you really have to explain why a video-game representation of the '90s Bulls -- including a rare appearance by Michael Jordan -- could be outlawed? When Jordan and Pippen were not canning every one of their shots, it was Will Perdue who proved to be the team's X-factor in the game. Perdue was able to somehow find a way to dominate the paint and appear in some pretty cool cut-scenes. Jordan, Pippen and Perdue were an unstoppable force.
It did not really matter which team you picked in Tecmo NBA Basketball, you could not beat the Bulls. I will give Tecmo a free pass on this in-game dominance, however, as the real-life Bulls terrorized the league for the next six years.
Check in next week for #15-6, and the week of Feb 2 for #5-1. As always, post your own personal experiences in the comments section.