EA’s NHL Hockey Series Through the Years – Infographic

September 13, 2012 at 11:15 am | Posted in News | 2 Comments
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With NHL 13 now released, EA’s NHL Hockey series has amassed 22 titles since debuting in 1991 (23 when you include EA Hockey).  Justin Bourne at http://www.thescore.com blogged an awesome infographic highlighting different pieces of trivia about the series.  The tidbit about NHL Hockey debuting on the Mega Drive is technically incorrect (was released on the Genesis in North America only but would work on the Mega Drive) but that’s just nit-picking.  Seeing all the covers next to each other brings back a lot of memories.  Did you know that NHL 95 had 24 players with a rating of 100?  And if you were ever curious about the geographical background of all the cover athletes, well, this infographic is for you.
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The Collector’s Guide to Tecmo Bowl

September 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Posted in Features | 10 Comments
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Tecmo’s football franchise is a true flagship in the world of retro sports gaming.  Fueled by 8-bit success on the NES with the still very popular Tecmo Bowl and Tecmo Super Bowl, Tecmo expanded to the 16-bit era before one last hurrah on the PlayStation in 1996.  Spanning just seven years, the series that mastered two-button football gaming retired as sports gaming moved to 3D.  As with many vintage video games, there have been attempted reboots of Tecmo Bowl to stoke the nostalgic fire of gamers.  All told, if you are a fan of the series or looking to experience it for the first time, the Tecmo Bowl library is very manageable from a collecting standpoint. The big question as always is, what are these retro titles worth?  The Collector’s Guide to Tecmo Bowl sets out to cover the entire Tecmo Bowl cannon, from the late 1980s through the re-releases of late.
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Team USA Basketball: Olympic-sized Letdown

August 8, 2012 at 10:20 am | Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment
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The mission statement for Retro Sports Gamer World has always been to educate on the best and worst of sports gaming.  In judging and labeling a certain title, I strive to have an open mind and either eliminate or be very transparent about any bias coming into a piece.  I’ve had my mind changed from a previous perception – for better and worse – in a number of articles.  This brings me to our participation in 1 More Castle’s Review a Bad Game Day” with Team USA Basketball for the Sega Genesis.  Despite this edict of reviewing something “bad”, my approach to Team USA Basketball was no different from previous games.  I nominated the game because of a previous negative play-through (I talked about it here) and being topical and all with the current Olympics in London.  And there was even a 15-minute stretch where I found myself enjoying the game and thought I would have a different angle for this piece.  Alas, Team USA Basketball had a great premise but at the end of the day, just could not deliver an experience worth replaying or recommending.
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Retro Replay Diary: Coach K College Basketball

April 9, 2012 at 1:12 am | Posted in Features | 4 Comments
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In the mid ’90s EA Sports hit their stride.  Their ongoing NHL Hockey and Madden franchises were winners, they struck gold with NBA Live ’95, and FIFA Soccer was a big hit.  College Football brought in money with the Bill Walsh College Football series of games, which then spun off from the (then) Stanford coach’s license and became College Football USA.  On the hardwood, college basketball wasn’t a yearly lay-up for the guys at Electronic Arts.  In 1995, they wisely took their incredibly successful NBA Live engine and created a college basketball counterpart.  Coach K College Basketball was a one-time unique enigma in the 16-bit sports universe as the game came out for just one console and had no yearly follow-ups.  With the white cover branding of EA titles of that gaming generation, Coach K College Basketball had real universities (32 teams plus 8 classic squads) and real college players (just with numbers instead of names – similar still to restrictions today).  This was the first attempt at any type of college basketball simulation that didn’t have generic state-named teams with made up players and EA delivered the complete NCAA basketball experience on its initial try.  When the game was first released, I was ecstatic that one of my favorite teams, Villanova, was in the game.  I knew all the player’s real names and played through a full season before being shockingly bounced out of the tournament by #1 ranked Arkansas in the Regional Final (Elite 8).  While I played the game for years after that stunning loss, I never played another season nor took my beloved Wildcats through another tournament run.  My thirst for nostalgic revenge was the motivation for this Retro Replay Diary.  It was time to dust off Kerry Kittles and friends and make another run at the college basketball championship.

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Retro Showdown: Walter Payton vs. Joe Montana on the Sega Master System

February 12, 2012 at 1:24 am | Posted in Features | Leave a comment
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Welcome to the first ever Retro Showdown at Retro Sports Gamer World.  Retro Showdown is where we take two retro sports games that share a common theme and compare them over a number of categories. After plugging the results into a complicated algorithm, we will come to a scientifically provable conclusion as to which is the better retro sports game.  The categories that we will examine include Game Features, Game Presentation and Graphics, Gameplay and Controls, Music and Sound Effects, and a final fifth category of Replay Value and Historical Significance.  In this Retro Showdown we’re going to take a look at two football titles on the Sega Master System: Walter Payton Football and Joe Montana Football.  Now, the Sega Master System isn’t usually associated with having classic 8-bit sports games.  For one, the quantity of titles in the genre is considerably small and definitely overshadowed by their 8-bit brethren, the NES.  Their earlier “Great” series of sports games (Great Football, Great Basketball, etc.) come off as generic based on the bland titles but the Master System built on those games with future releases that added affiliations with star athletes like Reggie Jackson, Walter Payton, and Joe Montana.  With these two titles released just a year apart, which of these Sega 8-bit gridiron games of yesterday will come out on top?
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The Holy Grail of Madden Football Games

December 23, 2011 at 12:19 am | Posted in Reviews | 13 Comments
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Pre-owned Madden football games are everywhere.  When you have a series that has been churning out a title every year for twenty years, there are a lot of discarded games to be peddled.  The picked-through seller at the flea market is guaranteed to have a stack of PS2 Madden titles to sift through.  Your neighbor’s garage sale is going to have recent versions for next-to-nothing prices since everyone only wants to play the most recent iteration.  With a massive supply built across almost every console for gaming generations now, the previous editions of Madden football have an almost nonexistent resell value.  Outside of this mass production, there is one title that is not common and is one of the few sports titles that hold value for collectors.  John Madden Football Championship Edition was a rental store exclusive released in 1992 for the Sega Genesis and it is the Holy Grail for retro sports gaming collectors.

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Twenty Years of EA’s NHL Hockey: A Look Back at the Original

December 1, 2011 at 12:30 am | Posted in Reviews | 11 Comments
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EA’s NHL Hockey franchise turned twenty this year but does anybody else out there care? While the video game industry celebrates Sonic the Hedgehog’s 20th birthday or the twentieth anniversary of the Super Nintendo and Super Mario World, EA’s franchise and groundbreaking hockey game isn’t even a footnote. I was perusing my free subscription to Game Informer (Yes, I frequent GameStop and am a Power whatever it’s called) and they recently ran down all the big milestones in gaming for the fall of 2011. Twenty years of relevance is an impressive feat and 1991 was really big in the history of video games so the list was substantial. I put my finger on the page and skimmed down, hoping to see some kind of acknowledgement or tip of the cap to EA and found nothing. I was so upset I even tweeted (follow me @retrosportsgmr) my disdain at the oversight to Game Informer (We actually follow each other now – it’s cute). Turning to Google, surely other video game writers would have blazed the path of commending the NHL Hockey lineage, like my man Jon Robinson over at ESPN (formally Johnny Ballgame at GamePro), but nary a word was to be found outside of EA themselves putting together a cool retrospective video. I will champion this accomplishment along with you EA! In getting it all started, NHL Hockey and EA Hockey for the Sega Genesis and (Sega) Mega Drive, respectively, were out of this world compared to the other hockey games in the early nineties and set the tone for the franchise with great 16-bit sprites and fast and fun game play.

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Reggie Jackson and the Amazing Technicolor Baseball Game

November 7, 2011 at 12:55 am | Posted in Reviews | 4 Comments
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The year 1988 was the tipping point in the history of baseball video games. In the early eighties there were generic baseball titles for the Atari, Intellivision, and Collecovision, while the Commodore 64 and Apple II had simulation games like Micro League Baseball. After Nintendo’s Sports Series title Baseball launched with the NES domestically in 1985, sports gamers waited years for another real option. Sega’s self-proclaimed Great Baseball was released for the Sega Master System in 1987 and it wasn’t until Tengen published R.B.I. Baseball in 1988 that a follow-up NES baseball game was released. With a slew of sports games ready to flood the NES 8-bit hardware, Sega fired their last baseball bullet on the Master System with the color-clashing and somewhat novel Reggie Jackson Baseball. Continue Reading Reggie Jackson and the Amazing Technicolor Baseball Game…

Daytona USA Hits the Track Again

October 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment
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Do I feel that NASCAR is a sport?  No.  Did Sega Sports produce the original Daytona USA games?  Technically the home releases were labeled as such.  Talk about a conflicted retro sports gamer!  Given that I recently talked about the state of downloadable sports titles hereI would have been remiss if I didn’t take a look at the recent HD release of Daytona USA.

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16-bit’s Baseball Best: A Look Back at World Series Baseball ’95

October 25, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Posted in Reviews | 4 Comments
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With the Cardinals and Rangers topically set to wrap up a great World Series, I wanted to post an article I wrote for Racketboy.com’s “Together Retro” series back in September.  Together Retro is a monthly event where retro gamers all play the same game and then discuss in the Racketboy forums.  The full article on World Series Baseball ’95, including an intro to past sports titles in the “Together Retro” series can be found here.

Sega’s World Series Baseball franchise kicked off on the Sega Genesis and Game Gear in 1994 and went head to head with Tony La Russa Baseball (and to a lesser extent – Tengen’s RBI Baseball series) on the Genesis. World Series was revolutionary with its new batting camera angle and had great control and feel. As with most entries, it was the follow-up that really hit the ball out of the park (baseball pun intended).

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