DAR Games: 6 Underrated Sports Gaming Franchises

By @TrueGodImmortal

Over the years, video games have always been a source for sports fans. As a fan of sports, the NBA franchises have always enticed me and the NFL franchises as well. We took a look at the best sports franchises previously that delighted gamers, and of course, featured on that list were NFL Madden, NBA 2K and Live, FIFA, and more. However, what about those franchises that had a nice run and didn't get the credit they really deserved? Today, we take a look back at some underrated sports gaming franchises. What makes the list? Let's take a look.

*Xtreme Series 

-Starting with this series, I remember I was the only person in my neighborhood that played these games, preferably the 2Xtreme game. It was on a Playstation demo that I received and I was hooked instantly. Utilizing rollerblading, skateboarding, biking, and snowboarding as well, these four challenges were fun for a kid who knew little about these four sports. With the patented "get some air" catchphrase through the game, it had flavor that made that particular game a lot of fun before the days of the Tony Hawk series taking off. 3Xtreme was one I played a few times and it had the same essence that the first two had. Many people probably didn't enjoy these games the way I did, or at least they don't discuss them often, so I definitely think this fits under the banner of underrated.

*NBA Street Series 

-One of the most fun series for basketball, NBA Street was one of those series that brought the raw fun back to the game. With an arcade style gameplay, NBA Street was a departure from the more reality based NBA Live and 2K games, and the first two brought a hip hop flavor with it that made it endearing to casual and hardcore gamers alike. The rosters were stacked here and the first game even had Michael  Jordan as an integral piece as well. The second NBA Street is regarded as the best of the bunch and many don't remember the final two much, but V3 and Showdown were solid games in their own right, just not comparable to the first two. Still, many of us came up playing NBA Street and it's not mentioned nearly enough.

*NFL Gameday Series  

-A series that never seemed to get the credit it deserved, I always found NFL Gameday to be one of the better games in the entire football world, and I thought it was close to Madden in terms of gameplay. Sure, Gameday wasn't always the top seller, but the game was critically acclaimed from the start and really hit the apex with their 1998 and 1999 editions, the two best in the series. With Jerome Bettis and Terrell Davis on the covers respectively, the game itself had a realistic factor to it that seemed to allow it to stand out. From the plays to the mechanics, the Gameday series was an unsung hero in the football gaming genre.

*Knockout Kings 

-While many looked to Fight Night as the premier boxing game as the years went by, I'll forever have a special affinity for this series. This was the first boxing game I played since the days of the Mike Tyson Punch-Out and I was hooked. Utilizing some of the greatest boxers of all time made these games such a fun play, and the fact that the games included the GOAT Muhammad Ali was a huge selling point. Other boxers here like Roberto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, and Sugar Tay Leonard were fun to use as well, and the gameplay was pretty fluid throughout. Was Knockout Kings better than Fight Night? That's really your decision and opinion, but Knockout Kings did it just as good, perhaps better than Fight Night, and they did it first, making this series important for the short lived run.

*SSX Series 

-I was really late to the party on this series, but once I finally got into it, I appreciated it in the same way that I would come to love the Xtreme series. I was not familiar with playing a game full of skiing or snowboarding like that, so this was pretty fun to learn. The mechanics are mostly simple, and allows you to have fun with this style of play. For me, of course, the best edition of this series is the Tricky game, but there are more games in the series that provided you with hours of fun. SSX 3 and SSX On Tour are both fun follow up games that helps carry the legacy of the series.

*NHL Hitz 

-I am not a hockey fan, by any stretch of the imagination, but this series was actually pretty popular, although I have rarely played them. This is basically the Blitz game for hockey, just labeled different. It featured the arcade style of play and was hard hitting and for hockey, it was welcome. I'll be honest, due to the style of the game, I'm sure this appealed more to the casual crowd than diehard NHL fans, but that's the best part. It was a game for those who might not know a thing about the Chicago Blackhawks at the moment, but playing this game and having fun with it might make you want to at least tune into a Detroit Red Wings or New Jersey Devils game. NHL Hitz didn't pave the way for the NHL series that followed, but it gave hours of fun gameplay which is all you could ask for really.



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