The Roar
The Roar


Taking a look at the best of virtual sports

Roar Guru
9th November, 2012

Since you’re on your PC reading about sport, I’m assuming you like computers and sports. So I am going to combine the two and list some of my favourite sports games.

I have not included trackside as my enjoyment depends on other factors, like the pub it’s at. However, you should definitely try these games.

Cricket 96
I was about 10 or 12, and my family had just bought our first proper PC with a highly technological new device – a CD-ROM drive (Dad thought it was a cup holder, jerk).

Despite coming out of a weetbix box, the game itself had all the teams in the right colours, though the players were not real. More’s the pity, because M.Borg was a gun all-rounder and would have played for Australia if he was not made of pixels.

You could play a tri-nations series, Test matches, or one day games. Players could choose from 10 to 50 overs in the one day games – the origins of T20, perhaps?

It is quite sad that I used to think the graphics were rad, because if the same graphics were on my iPhone now I would get both my phone fixed and my eyes checked.

AFL 99
The players looked simple, but you could position them anywhere on the field, which was pretty cool. A virtual flood or Pagan’s paddock was entirely feasible.

All the speckies were this odd star jump and one handed mark, which Bruce McAvaney would then loose it about.

My fondest memory was playing a full season as the Kangaroos and choosing to play as the opposition before every game so I could just smash up Wayne Carey for a year.


I’m not sure if the graphics were bad or just an accurate representation of some of the preseason and away jumpers at the time. I’m looking straight at you, Adelaide and Hawthorn.

Rugby 08
The only Rugby game. Wallabies Challenge, hmmm, yeah I’ll pass.

It had all the stars, all the teams, and all the leagues worth having from around the world. World Cups, Tri Nations, the whole lot.

The players all had ratings, and the usual suspects (Gregan, McCaw, Wilkinson etc.) were rated as stars and had super abilities. I think Quade Cooper was about a 40/100 and had the ability of social media abuse, so the ratings were remarkably accurate.

By creating myself as a player in the game and then comparing that to real life results, it also proved my theory that I would have won the Wallabies the 2007 Rugby World Cup on my own, as I have long suspected.

The graphics and gameplay are still good even nearly five years on. The only annoying thing was Grant Fox’s commentating, so the game gets extra points for realism.

Football Manager series
A giant database, and you only watch the games with text commentary and dots moving around the pitch (though recently they have added actual graphics to games). Sounds really boring?

Well, the thing is that you can control almost everything that a real manager does. Literally.


Want to scout somewhere for new talent? Instead of the FIFA series, where you just press ‘send scout’, you have to choose a scout (or hire one) based on their knowledge and abilities, have board approval to go there, and find out everything about the players.

Players have over 100 different stats, a huge range of characteristics, and personality traits that affect how ideal they actually are. The best player stats-wise could well just be a pain in the Tevez.

Needless to say, the amount training and strategic options are ridiculous. There are even press conferences.

I think there are over 100 playable leagues from around the world, though don’t quote me on that, as it is ever growing.

The real measure of the game’s realism is the amount of times something will happen in game (a transfer, etc.) that then happens in real life.

If you want to try it, be warned – this game has been cited in 35 divorce cases in the UK (seriously). Though what could be more romantic then spending the night scouring the Nigerian leagues for young talent?

Other games to try are the ever popular and improving NBA and FIFA series, International Cricket Captain, Sid Meier’s Sim Golf (just don’t take it too seriously), NBA Jam, and the Mario games – Golf, Tennis and of course Kart – again, not to be taken seriously.

Good Gaming!