The staff voting for Best Alternative Sports Game in 2020 came down to two of my favorite video games of the year: Retro Bowl and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. New Star Games’ stab at an American football video game changed how we played mobile games and brought back the Tecmo Super Bowl nostalgia we grew fond of over the years. It was near perfect. But in the end, it was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 and its seamless transition that took home this year’s award.
When we first got wind of a remastered THPS, I was stoked. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I vividly remember playing the original demo from Pizza Hut, spending countless hours shredding around The Hangar with no real objective in sight. At that moment, I knew I wanted to become a skateboarder, which wasn’t uncommon. The Tony Hawk video game franchise helped kickstart a skateboarding movement. This says all you need to know about how great a video game the original skateboarding classics were.
I don’t know where to start with my love for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. Maybe it’s the perfect transition from the past to the present. I mean, very rarely do we see a game not only pay homage to a classic but enhance it. And as you would expect, that starts with the updated graphics, levels, and skaters — to name a few. This game plays and looks as good as ever. If you never played the original Tony Hawk games on console, you wouldn’t even know this was remastered. It sounds and plays as good as ever.
This is not a knock against Retro Bowl, whose debut in 2020 took the sports gaming world by storm. If anything, it shows you how special Retro Bowl truly is to be in the conversation. For a mobile game to be in the discussion for any big award against a competitor that’s been around much longer is impressive — but not unexpected.
That being said, Retro Bowl‘s franchise mode isn’t necessarily dull, but you can hit a wall after a few years of building. In comparison, there’s a lot more you can do in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. Each level has objectives that can be done on various difficulties and could take up hours of your time as you try to link together the perfect set of tricks. Then there’s also my personal favorite of just cruising around, trying to re-create old-school skate videos. Add in the ever-evolving roster and customization options, and it’s easy to see why this is the unanimous winner.
Community Vote – Best Alternative Sports Game In 2020
- Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
- Super Mega Baseball 3
- Retro Bowl
Admittedly, I’m not a huge baseball guy, but I’ve played enough of Super Mega Baseball 3 to understand the appeal. The game brings an arcade and over-the-top style to America’s greatest pastime. Mixing realistic gameplay with exaggerated character models and over-the-top animations, SMB has become a fan favorite, and rightfully so. No one does indie sports games better than Metalhead, and that remains true here.
And, for me, the thing I like most is how detailed SMB 3 is. Over the years, we all watched as the popular baseball video game franchise continued to grow, developing more and more layers, and this past year was no different. The New EGO system gives users more control and, in return, makes the game more challenging. This new feature, coupled with the in-depth customization options and revamped franchise mode adds a whole new dynamic to Super Mega Baseball. Moreover, like Retro Bowl and THPS, Super Mega Baseball 3 is nearly flawless. A true three-sided coin flip!