By Dan Treadway
July 10, 2014

They don't make 'em like they used to.

Sure, that phrase gets thrown around a lot but it seems especially true when it comes to sports video games. Rapidly advancing technology and increased resources he resulted in most next-gen games not appearing to be that different than a contest one might watch on TV. The games are sleeker, realistic and by most measures, quite superior to the ones we grew up with... but still, it something feels like something is missing.

There was a certain charm attached to the sports games released throughout the 80s and 90s. While most games today require several hours of practice in order to become even a passable player, anybody could pick up a Super Nintendo controller, get a 10 second explanation of the controls and be fully-prepared to play until their eyes bled.

And then there were the songs. Of course, they were never good by any stretch but they still trigger a little something inside me. For example, whenever I hear the NBA Jam theme, I don't instinctively nod my head along with the generic beat. No, I just get pretty happy because hours and hours (and hours) of repetition has resulted in my brain getting excited to play NBA Jam whenever I hear that song. Every part of me wants to pound on an invisible "start" button so I can begin filling it up with Reggie Miller and Detlef Schrempf.

With this in mind, I decided to put together a collection of some of the best classic sports video game music for this Throwback Thursday. I hope you enjoy, and feel free to add any I might have missed in the comments section:

Tecmo Bowl

Despite their limited resources, Tecmo Bowl might have had the catchiest sports video game theme song ever. If you listen very carefully, you can hear my screams from 1992 after my best friend scored on me with Bo Jackson... again.

Blades of Steel


<3 Konami


I can't tell what instrument is supposed to be playing a solo here. Is that like an electrical pan flute? 

Wave Race

The music was easily the best aspect of this game.

Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.

This is another song that gives me some feels. Edgar Martinez was unstoppable in this game. His hitting circle was so big that you could usually at least get a seeing-eye single while not even looking at the screen.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

Bow down. 

NFL Blitz 2000

These games were almost too fun. Sure, the computer would make you fumble 9 times if you happened to have a lead, ensuring that every game would always be decided by single digits -- but alas, it was the egalitarian nature of late 90s video games that made them so great. 

RBI Baseball

So upbeat! Everybody's so happy to be playing baseball!

Tony Hawk Pro Skater

I can picture the white guy with dreadlocks who pitched this theme song to the video game studio executives and they assumed he knew what he was doing.

NHL '94

Loud horns, sick guitar riffs, cowbell. I feel like I'm at a Springsteen concert.

Bulls Vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs

Did anyone else play this? I still can't believe they made a game just based on these two teams. But in all fairness, the NBA in the early 90s was basically just Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler and a bunch of other guys. 

WWF No Mercy

Will there ever be a weirder song than this? Not just in terms of sports video games, but all music in general. How many options did they choose from before landing on this?

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