Top 7… Sports Games Nerds Actually Like

The only games that get geeks off the bench

Selling points:
Million point combos, skating culture, grinding

Why we love it:
Even if Hawk’s popularity has waned in recent years, the aging skater’s franchise was the first of its kind to really tap into not only the skate culture, but also a hobby that doesn’t really extend past your early-twenties. Sure, just about anyone can score a touchdown in backyard football, but not everyone can wall plant into a Christ Air without destroying their testicles.

Hawk’s gameplay structure has what every growing gamer needs: collectible widgets, high scores to break, fetch quests and open-ended levels. When you think about it, Hawk kind of resembles a platformer when compared to most other sports games - be they Xtreme or not. Even with EA’s Skate trying to muscle Hawk outta the way, we still have a soft spot for the insane flips that only Hawk and co. could perform. Who needs realistic kickflips when you’re grinding guardrails at Alcatraz?

Would suck if:
Entirely realistic like Skate, combos were dropped, skateboarding was a crime

Selling points:
Mario, Goofy-ass weapons, Themed tracks

Why we love it:
Never mind the heaping spoonful of “meh” the latest Mario Kart fed us, we’re still hooked on snaking around corners and laying more bananas on the track than Vaudeville did in its entire existence. But yuks aside, Kart’s design rests on finely tuning an exciting multiplayer experience that’s equal parts simple and immensely competitive.

Unlike the feature-rich Gran Turismo, Mario Kart doesn’t need minisucle engine tweaks to be fun. Eschewing much of GT’s details, MK’s depth boils down to the essentials: racer (or racers if you’re playing Double Dash), vehicle selection and circuit. At the same time, each colorful track is filled with creative designs and its own brand of hazards. Often imitated (seriously, knock it off developers), Kart taps into every nerd’s dream of winning a boxcar derby.

Would suck if:
Rubberbanding AI persists, realistic handling

Did we miss something? Is there a game we missed? Something with a little Boomshakalaka, perhaps? Maybe we were too high to notice. Anyway - let us know in our forums. Either that, or distract yourself with more amazing Top 7 lists.

Jun 30, 2008

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