Reliving Your Childhood Through Classic Video Games

Occasionally, this blog takes a different turn from its objective: Chicago Cubs baseball cards. I’ve blogged about Pearl Jam, a Smashing Pumpkins concert, and my trip to Italy. Video games are a perfect link to reliving our childhood. Especially, if you grew up and matured on the same timeline as video games.

My first memory of a video game console was as a youngster and my babysitter had an Atari. I don’t really recall playing it, so Nintendo is by far my starting point in games.

I was in first or second grade when I acquired my first video game console: the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Why is this even a topic on my blog? Check Out My Cards (COMC) tweeted out asking what your favorite sports video game is. Easy I thought, then I started reading the comments and decided it’s so hard to have just one favorite, so here’s a rundown of my favorite sports video games…

NES

Tecmo Super Bowl

It begins and ends with Tecmo Super Bowl. I will never forget Christmas 1991, and this Nintendo cartridge was under my tree. Special note: this Christmas my gifts also included a hobby box of 1991 Upper Deck football cards, Home Alone on VHS, and Metallica’s self-titled album on cassette tape. This would be an awesome Christmas nearly 30 years later!

All through grade school, junior high, and high school this was the go-to game among my friends. Slap it into full season mode and go 16-0 with Bo Jackson rushing for 10,000 yards.

The Raiders are the best in this game, don’t overlook the Kansas City Chiefs. Christian Okoye is the just a shade below Bo, and you have Derrick Thomas lined up at linebacker that can block extra points. While the graphics are far outdated, this is a game that has stood the test of time.

RBI Baseball

This is a game that didn’t stand the test of time for me, as I didn’t play it much after moving on to the newer gaming systems.

My first memory was playing this at my friend, Charlie’s house. It was beginner’s luck as I beat him by the mercy rule.

Charlie is also in the above picture. My 3rd grade birthday party. Also you see the old baseball card binder on the floor. We had gone to ABC Collectibles, a card shop in Moline, Illinois for my birthday and retired to some R.B.I. Baseball on the Nintendo.

SEGA/ARCADE

NBA Jam

The golden age of gaming. Remember Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine?

Memories are flooding back now. Going to Wal-Mart on a Friday night and running back to the magazine section and picking up this magazine and flipping through for tips and tricks. It was my first vision of NBA Jam. It looked and sounded amazing. My friend Luke had a Sega Genesis and we would get high on candy and Mountain Dew playing NBA Jam until 3 a.m.

My friend, Jeremy, lives around the corner from me and has a full size arcade that has NBA Jam on it. BOOM SHAKA-LAKA!

My favorite tandem is the Cleveland Cavaliers of Mark Price and Brad Daugherty, though you can’t go wrong with Karl Malone and John Stockton of the Utah Jazz.

Coach K College Basketball

Admittedly, this is a game I forgot about until reading through the twitter comments. By the mid-1990’s I was an all-in basketball fan. Obsessed with college basketball and the UMASS Minutemen, Shaq and the Orlando Magic.

Coach K featured 32 college basketball teams, including the Arkansas Razorbacks, UCLA Bruins, Duke Blue Devils, Kentucky Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, Wisconsin Badgers, Michigan Wolverines, the aforementioned Minutemen, and several other big name programs. There were also eight classic teams.

You also saw a different viewpoint when shooting free throws.

And I would sit in junior high study hall writing out brackets for after school tournaments.

NBA Live ‘95

Basketball was in 1995 as Cubs baseball cards are to me in 2019. Another basketball game for Sega Genesis pops up in my rankings.

Funny story about this game. I wanted NBA Live ‘95 so bad for Christmas. At this stage of my childhood, I was a sneak. Presents under the tree we’re not safe. This particular Christmas either my mom got a little lazy, or Santa came early. Presents under the tree we’re not wrapped, rather the goods were placed inside gift boxes.

Being the animal I was, I would take a box cutter and carefully open the gift boxes until I found what I was looking for: NBA Live ‘95. One Friday afternoon I snuck the cartridge out of the box, and took it to my friend Luke’s house to warm the game up. Upon returning home I taped the box right up and my parents had no idea. I can’t keep a secret and came clean on Christmas morning. It was the last Christmas that gift boxes went under the tree.

The game itself? Lived up to my expectations and I burned that cartridge up. You could also create your own lineups, and my Annawan Braves 8th grade squad dominated. It’s funny, my player ratings far exceeded real life.

SONY PLAYSTATION

Madden 2001

By the time I progressed to the PlayStation, I was more into fighter games and more so racing games such as Driver, Gran Turismo, Twisted Metal, and Ridge Racer.

Madden football was always a favorite, though and the 2001 version was the last I owned. I was more a fan of the general manager side of building a franchise. Most times I would computer simulate the seasons just to see how my teams performed.

And who can forget the classic, “EA Sports…It’s in the game!”

This list only includes games that I grew up playing on consoles I owned. I was never into Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, or XBox.

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