Dusting off some video games

Wed, Jan 6

"NBA Jam" is back. Or, it will be. That got us thinking -- why stop there? The '80s weren't good just for hair metal -- they also produced some thumb-blistering sports-themed video games. Here's a sport-by-sport breakdown of what should -- no, what needs to -- be brought back.

Baseball: "RBI Baseball"
"RBI" said goodbye to anonymous figures and heralded an era of agreements with the MLB Players Association (but not the MLB). What's in a name? Everything. Without it, how could you play with historic rosters? Not to mention, "RBI" is the first -- and possibly only -- game to give Tony Armas his rightful dues as one of the most dominant men in the game.

Honorable mention: "Base Wars." Baseball-playing robots. It's like a dream come true. Imagine how the league would benefit from more than just one cyborg.

Basketball: "Dr. J vs. Larry Bird: One on One"
Were there better basketball games? Yes. But would any have more hype than a revamped version of this 1983 EA classic? Heck no. Freshen it up as "Kobe vs. LeBron: One on One," and watch it fly off the shelves. If EA were to make dreams come true, it better not remove the angry janitor who cleans up after you break the backboard.

Honorable mention: "Double Dribble."

Football: "Tecmo Bowl"
Case closed. Before someone writes an angry letter, we know it was sold on the Wii. But that version was no different than digging it out of your closet and playing it, after blowing hard into the cartridge and your aging Nintendo Entertainment System. Let's see what "Tecmo" could do if it was reinvented. Then again, EA's "Madden" franchise does have an exclusive deal with the NFL, so ... we won't even be able to see a return of QB Eagles.

Honorable mention: "10-Yard Fight." Talk about a killer game.

Hockey: "Ice Hockey"
Greatness comes from originality. Since "Ice Hockey," I've yet to see a game that lets my three-on-three hockey team be either all fat, skinny or medium-sized men.

Honorable mention: "Blades of Steel," aka "Double Dribble" on ice. How many people played this simply to brawl?

X games: Oh, the choices! "Excitebike," "Skate Or Die," "Super Dodge Ball," "California Dreams" -- it's like choosing which kid I love most. OK, well, it's "Excitebike." Imagine sharing your courses across the PlayStation 3 universe. Nerdy, but addictive.

Outdoor games: "Duck Hunt"
Hush up, PETA; this game rocked. And the fact that I was packing a gun in my hand didn't make me a mad man -- so relax. What's so wrong about a boy, his neon orange plastic gun and his old hound out shootin' some duck? Nothing, if you love America.

Other: "Kung Fu"
I'm sure Silvia still needs saving from Mr. X. I mean, the game ended with the ominous note that their happiness does not continue long. They need to bring this back! What happened? Did they get a divorce? Did Mr. X steal her again? Let us save her with my kick of choice: the squatting shin kick.