Sports games that need to be rebooted

With sports making a comeback in the United States, the Shacknews staff put our heads together and came up with sports franchises we'd love to see make a return.

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Almost six months after the pandemic, sports are beginning to start up again in the United States. Whether they be in a bubble or on the field, many of the major American sports are back in action. Regardless of whether that's a good idea or not, it's hard to deny that there's been a thirst for athletic competition. So with sports on the American consciousness, we wanted to take a look at some dormant sports franchises that we'd love to see make a big comeback.

The Shacknews staff assembled for this one and here are some of our ideas for which sports games we'd love to see, either on PC, the next console generation, or our Nintendo Switch.

Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball

Draymond Green's Combat Basketball

Forget Bill Laimbeer, let's reboot Combat Basketball with Draymond Green. We need more arcade style basketball experiences, and Draymond Green is the perfect NBA star to reboot the franchise in the 21st century. The original Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball was not really even close to a remotely good video game, but the core concept of combat basketball just seems right in 2020. This new era of Draymond Green's Combat Basketball could have gameplay inspired by NBA Street while allowing players to kick people and do all the horrible stuff that has made Draymond Green a household name for Warriors fans. Remember when that team was relevant? Now you can in a video game with Draymond Green's Combat Basketball, folks. Only $29.99. This really sells itself.
-Asif Khan


Blades of Steel

What video game sports fan wouldn't want to play Blades of Steel in 2020? It's one of the most iconic hockey games we've ever had the opportunity to play, and since it came out nearly 33 years ago, there's an entire generation of gamers that have never had the opportunity to experience one of the classics.

Obviously a rebooted Blades of Steel would need an update, but the spirit of the game should keep its distance from the current simulators we have, like NHL 20 now and NHL 21 in a few months. It should also come out on every platform so the maximum amount of people can be exposed to its greatness. While we're at it, let's get some crossplay so that I can play on PC against Asif on his Nintendo Switch against Sam on his Xbox One against Blake on his PS4.

Maybe we'll get lucky and EA Vancouver will work this out and just include it as a new mode in one of their future NHL games.
-Bill Lavoy


3 Count Bout

3 Count Bout, sometimes known as Fire Suplex, comes from the golden age of Neo Geo games and is perhaps one of the most stylized wrestling games of the entire era. The whole thing oozed love and homage to the best parts of professional wrestling, with clear tributes to greats like The Great Muta, The Road Warriors, and Terry Funk, pageantry entrances, and some extremely flashy moves with bouts of punches and kicks between. Even so, 3 Count Bout was more of an arcade fighting game than a true wrestling game, bogged down by an ridiculously difficult and cheap AI and a need to finish the game in less-than-flashy ways with plenty of punches and kicks as opposed to the big moves. It could do with a remake that would put the best parts of the 3 Count Bout experience and those lovingly crafted wrestlers forward in the spotlight where they belong.
-TJ Denzer


Saturday Night Slam Masters

Some of you may remember the massive mayor Mike Haggar of Final Fight and more recently Marvel Vs. Capcom fame, but did you ever wonder where the mayor got those sweet wrestling moves? Saturday Night Slam Masters had your answer, plus a really good wrestling game to go along with it.

Whether you were throwing down as the mayor of retro city or any of the others in the colorful cast, Saturday Night Slam Masters brought the style and intensity to the ring. There's never a bad reason to see Mike Haggar back in the squared circle where he began and its been decades since Saturday Night Slam Masters was last in the arcades. It's safe to say we'd be happy to see the triumphant return of both.
-TJ Denzer


Baseball Stars

Baseball Stars had something truly lacking in modern baseball games: pure over-the-top showmanship, especially like that found in Baseball Stars 2. From the intense base running, to the zoomed-in and exaggerated features of the players themselves, right down to being able to call in a heroic pinch hitter or a relief pitcher when things were looking shakey, Baseball Stars hit you non-stop with intensity and packed an incredibly satisfying game into what was meant to be an arcade quarter-eater. In particular, we absolutely loved the dynamic, almost comic book-like action moments when a catch or tag was a clencher. Let MLB The Show handle the pure simulation experience. There are few others that will do it better. But for absolute, action-packed arcade-style baseball, our money goes to Baseball Stars.
-TJ Denzer


Super Mario Strikers

We've almost taken for granted that Mario is a multi-sport superstar. We've seen him play tennis, we've seen him play golf, and we've even seen him take part in the Olympics. You know what we haven't seen him play in a while? It's been a long time since we've seen Mario play soccer.

Super Mario Strikers is one of the most overlooked Mario sports franchises, but it's also one of the most fun. It's arguably the traditional sports game that's most suited to wacky Mario Kart-style power-ups, like banana peels and Chain Chomps. And the actual soccer element is still as solid as it is in most other games. It really is a shame that we haven't seen anything out of the Stikers series since the Wii sequel came out well over a decade ago. I could use something to scratch the soccer itch, something that isn't a traditional simulator.
-Ozzie Mejia


Base Wars

Let's just be honest, everything's better with robots. Even a sport that's as boring to watch as baseball can be invigorated with a cybernetic upgrade. Just ask the 1991 NES classic Cyber Stadium Series Base Wars and it will tell you that's affirmative. Of course, throwing in a mechanic that makes robots beat each other to an oily pulp in order to defend or take a base on a force play definitely helps. Then there's other cool stuff like robo-pitchers who use charge-up arm cannons to throw balls and the ability to upgrade your bots in between games. All of these mechanics would work great in a modern version of the game, and it would be wonderful to see other features added, like custom bots and teams. It might even make a good replacement for the real thing considering how things are going in the world at the moment.
-Blake Morse


Baseball Simulator 1.000

As great as MLB The Show is, there's a place for baseball games that aren't strictly of the simulator variety. And ironically, the series that comes to mind is the one literally called Baseball Simulator. For those who remember the old-school NES classic Baseball Simulator 1.000 (and the SNES follow-up Super Baseball Simulator 1.000), they'll remember that this series was predicated on the idea of traditional baseball sim gameplay, but one that also contains wacky power-ups.

Built on a bedrock of baseball sims, players can also try and trip up batters with Ultra Pitches, like the Stopper Ball, the Fan Ball, the disappearing Phantom Ball, and the oddly-patterned Ninja Ball. Batters can try and even up the odds with Ultra Hits, like the Meteor Hit that KOs fielders with line drives and the Missile Hit that literally drags fielders straight to the outfield wall.

The gimmicks in Baseball Simulator were a joy to experience and it'd be great to see the series make any kind of comeback. If you're one of those people who think baseball is boring, imagine what modern gaming developers could come up with to spice the game up.
-Ozzie Mejia


Mutant Hockey League

Hockey is definitely a violent and aggressive sport, so it makes perfect sense that adding mutants, skeletons and robots into the equation would just make it more awesome. Mutant Hockey League was the follow-up to the highly successful Mutant Football League and mostly played off similar tropes. Not only could you throw down with you opponents Blades of Steel-style in a traditional hockey brawl, but you could also mutilate them in the general field. Add in hazards like holes on the ice and special tactics like exploding pucks and bribing refs and you’ve got a winning formula. I don't know why EA stopped making the Mutant League series here, but it’s a damn shame as I could only imagine that the viscera would be flying around like a Mortal Kombat game. If Mutant Football League can get a spiritual successor with Mutant Football League, why can’t we get the same treatment Mutant Hockey League?
-Blake Morse


Madden NFL

Perhaps the biggest disappointment from all the next-generation game reveals we've seen over the summer came when EA showed of a few snippets of the next era of Madden games. The footage teased looked largely similar to the dependably underwhelming releases the franchise has been shoveling out to gamers for more than a decade. As the exclusive provider of NFL simulation games, EA has little incentive to do better as fans have no choice but to buy Madden if they want a pro football game.

In a perfect world, a reimagined Madden game would be built from the ground up to more closely mimic its real-life counterpart. A focus on dynamic, physics-based player interactions and strategic decision-making would be ideal, as would a push towards offering a visual presentation that at least matched what we saw more than fifteen years ago with Sega's ESPN NFL 2K5. A robust, online franchise mode is a must, with realistic player progression, scouting, and contract management taking a front seat. Ideally, MUT, the trading card microtranscation-fest that infects the current game, would be a side attraction rather than the main event. At this point, I'd be happy with just a tease of competition from literally any other developer/publisher.
-Chris Jarrard


Tecmo Super Bowl

Now it might be a pipe dream, but a new Tecmo Super Bowl would be wonderful. There are mods out there and modded carts where people can play the old game with new rosters, but it would be so very cool if we could play a new game inspired by the classic SNES and NES franchise. The NFL and Madden are certainly an obstacle, but it is hard to really say that Madden and Tecmo Bowl are the same type of game. If the NFL likes money, they should give Tecmo the NFL license to reboot Tecmo Super Bowl. Maybe they can even bring back the Mighty Bomb Jack Halftime Show.
-Asif Khan


Monday Night Combat

Monday Night Combat was a gift that we took for granted. Much in the vein of Team Fortress 2 before it and Overwatch after, Monday Night Combat exemplified the team-based hero shooter methodology, bringing strategy and team roles to your typical shooter style to make teams work together and discover winning composition metas. All of this was styled into a futuristic sports spectacle meant to emulate the vibe and mood of Monday Night Football. There were so many things in Monday Night Combat that worked so well. Alas, Monday Night Combat never did quite reach the hype of other games like it, and when Overwatch came out, it all but swept the leg on a good team-based game. Even so, we say Monday Night Combat deserves another chance, some more attention, and a real push to be the successful hero-based team shooter it could have been with more love behind it.
-TJ Denzer

(Editor's note: Happy 10th birthday to Monday Night Combat next week!)


NCAA Football and Basketball

The NCAA Football franchise met its demise in 2014, and many players feel that it was still the best EA Sports football simulator that was ever shipped. It is truly sad that players have been deprived these series and have been left to play the same Dynasty Mode for over half a decade. The actual players in the NCAA need to be able to be compensated for their likenesses, which has created a whole bunch of issues with either NCAA Football or Basketball video games ever seeing the light of day. There are mods out there for Madden, but nothing is the same as the genuine article. We miss NCAA games.
-Asif Khan


NFL Blitz

Following the success of NBA Jam a few years earlier, arcade giant Midway unleashed a football version of the same idea on arcades in the form of NFL Blitz in 1997. The game was a runaway success thanks to its easy-to-pick-up controls and brutal action. One of the first wave of 3Dfx-powered arcade cabinets (San Francisco Rush, Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey), it not only carried the gameplay pedigree from NBA Jam, it featured state-of-the-art 3D graphics that further enhanced its curb appeal.

Following several successful sequels and home console ports, the rights to NFL Blitz eventually ended up with Electronic Arts, who released the last Blitz game back in 2012 as a digital download. That version of the game drew criticism for shying away from the brutal tackles and rule-bending that made the original game a household name. The removal of said content was at the behest of the NFL, who has worked to distance itself from the public perception that its sport is violent or unsafe. This situation really hurts the chances of a faithful new remake, but one can always dream.
-Chris Jarrard


2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge

Imagine it wasn't 2020 and we could safely go out in public and crowd around arcade games. I guess we'd be talking about the 90s if we're referring to the 2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge, which is an arcade game that released in 1995. This four-player hockey game went less the direction of simulation and more towards an arcade-style hockey, not unlike what you would find in NBA Jam in terms of spirit.

Much like we need a new Blades of Steel, who wouldn't be down to do some 2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge with their friends on their console of choice? How about a few wobbly pops and some couch co-op action? It all sounds good, but what we really need is a reboot of the classic 1995 arcade game and the ability to visit an actual arcade to play it. We can dream.
-Bill Lavoy


Hyperblade

One of the true hidden gems of mid-1990s PC gaming, HyperBlade offered a stylish take on a futuristic blood sport akin to hockey. Matches were hosted in what appeared to be the bottom half of a zeppelin and participants were tasked with moving a spiked ball into goals that were in elevated positions on either side of the playing surface. Each HyperBlader was equipped with an arm sword that was used in predictable fashion — to separate the ball (or head) from the carrier.

As an early benefactor of 3D accelerator graphics cards, the in-game action was always fast and smooth. The skating and player movement was incredibly impressive for the time and the game had a beautiful flow. I could easily see a modern re-imagining of this classic with more brutal interactions and eye-catching animations.
-Chris Jarrard


SSX/Cool Boarders

Once upon a time when Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and other extreme sports games were hitting the shelves en masse, games like Cool Boarders and SSX were making their mark on the snowy side of intense, score grinding extreme sports games. Each new game between these two series brought with them a wealth of new features to their respective series. However, much like the decline of the Tony Hawk franchise itself, games like SSX and Cool Boarders died out and little has been seen of this type of game since. It feels like Ubisoft's Steep is one of the very few games still proudly carrying the banner of extreme winter sports, but one can't live on Steep alone. With the recent influx of interest in skateboarding games, including the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 remaster, SkateBird, Skater XL, and an upcoming Skate 4 game, we'd love to eventually see franchises like Cool Boarders or SSX make a return too, if only just briefly.
-TJ Denzer


Wave Race

Wave Race 64 was one of the best games for Nintendo 64 when the console launched back in 1996. The N64 would become known for awesome couch co-op racing games with some legendary titles gracing the platform like F-Zero X, Mario Kart 64, and Diddy Kong Racing, but Wave Race 64 felt so real at the time, as racing jet skis was a bit more plausible than Diddy Kong flying a plane. Sure 1996 graphics don't really hold up today, but I recall being stunned by the water in the game the first time I saw it. It would be awesome to see a new Wave Race game built on the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe engine be released on Nintendo Switch, but as with most awesome Nintendo racing game IPs, Wave Race will probably sit on the shelf for another generation. Please understand.
-Asif Khan


Those are our picks for sports games we'd love to see rebooted. What would you like to see take the field, pitch, court, ice, beach, or whatever else? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments. If you haven't made an account with us, what are you waiting for? Click that button at the top of the page and register! And consider subscribing to Shacknews Mercury while you're at it and get the optimal, ad-free Shacknews experience.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 3, 2020 8:00 AM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Sports games that need to be rebooted

    • reply
      August 3, 2020 8:02 AM

      Rallisport Challenge

    • reply
      August 3, 2020 8:03 AM

      Rallisport Challenge 2

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      August 3, 2020 8:13 AM

      I played the hell out of Base Wars, I'll take a remake of that and Baseball Stars.

      How many people know about Baseball 2020 on SNES?
      Loved that game too.

    • reply
      August 3, 2020 8:23 AM

      Freestyle Metal X and Dave Mirra BMX

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      August 3, 2020 8:25 AM

      Burnout Revenge please

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        August 3, 2020 8:28 AM

        Three Fields is trying to do that. (They are ex-Criterion Games ppl). They have been slowly and steadily making games that get to that point w/ racing and collisions and the like, they're just not quite at the "fun" element yet.

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          August 3, 2020 8:29 AM

          Whoa, just checked out the website - that’s really exciting!

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            August 4, 2020 2:04 AM

            They're kind of working up to a "proper" burnout spiritual successor. Dangerous Golf was pretty but too random to be fun for long. Their first driving game was just crashes with no roads or tracks due to limited resources, but must have done well enough to let them make Dangerous Driving which wasn't terrible but nor was it great or up to the standard of Burnout 3. Dangerous Driving 2 is supposed to be coming out this year, if they build on the first one it might be quite good.

            My only gripe is they're banking really hard on the Burnout name without matching or even exceeding that standard of fun and polish, but I get that part of it is just the size of an independent studio versus a big publisher backed one.

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      August 3, 2020 10:52 PM

      sign me up

    • reply
      August 4, 2020 12:43 AM

      This article should have been a blank page.

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      August 4, 2020 12:47 AM

      Threewave CTF

    • reply
      August 4, 2020 1:35 AM

      speedball 2

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        August 4, 2020 2:06 AM

        You know what I REALLY want? The original Speedball 2, as is, exact same graphics and feel and control (which none of the remakes ever matched) but with a full view of the entire pitch in portrait. No scrolling. You can always see both goals and the person you're passing too. It's the only thing that I think would improve the original, at least the multiplayer version. One of the best 1 on 1 games of all time, to this day.

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          August 4, 2020 2:17 AM

          Oh shit. Not 100% what I'm after, but a while ago some dude reverse engineered some of the game: http://bringerp.free.fr/RE/Speedball2/remake.php5

          Doesn't seem he plans to take it further due to copyright concerns though: https://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=61305

          He's done a bunch of other cool stuff for reverse engineering Amiga/Atari games. Paging the fuck outta roushimsx

          I wish Bitmap Brothers would just release the source code, but they're still comfortably re-releasing it for mobile or whatever every few years.

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      August 4, 2020 1:46 AM

      Fond memories of Base Wars, Mutant League Football, and Blades of Steel. I'd offer Dusty Diamond's All Star Softball.

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      August 4, 2020 2:17 AM

      NFL Blitz on Dreamcast yo.

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