If there are three things that Twitter likes to debate they are politics, sports, and video games. Well, two of those topics have combined into one and the social media site is having an absolute field day. ESPN’s SportsCenter has posed a simple yet polarizing question on Twitter: who is the greatest video game athlete of all time?
It is an excellent question because many of the top selections are real-life athletes who dominate the competition on a daily basis, but also in the virtual world. Meanwhile, some selections are exclusive to gaming. Most of the time the best gaming athletes come from the best retro sports games, where a player or two seemed to overpower the rest of the field.
The choices that SportsCenter put forth are great selections, but of course, commenters mentioned their own ideas as well. Steph Curry from NBA 2k16 is the newest athlete on the list, as his 3-point shooting was unguardable. Ken Griffey Jr. is on the list, as is Micahel Vick, Bo Jackson, and Ronaldinho. Many are excited to see NCAA Football make a return, and many remember Reggie Bush tearing it up back in NCAA Football 06 as well.
A few other excellent choices are Pablo Sanchez from Backyard Baseball (and the Backyard series at large) and Stretch from NBA Street; fictional characters that were too good to be true. Meanwhile, Mike Tyson from Punch-Out and Matt from Wii Sports were both more like difficult video game bosses than anything else.
When it comes to Twitter, two players specifically started trending thanks to this conversation: Bo Jackson and Michael Vick. Jackson in Tecmo Bowl is often the first name out of anyone’s mouth when discussed as an unstoppable force in sports games. Meanwhile, Vick was like a cheat code in Madden NFL 2004 as a scrambling QB that could chuck the ball 60 yards down the field with ease and outrun everyone.
While many players seem to emulate a version of their game after Michael Vick, and cover athlete Lamar Jackson is the modern-day Vick, the game will never play that same way. The gameplay was shifted, purposely, so that quarterbacks could never run around in the pocket with that much game-breaking freedom again, because Vick was just too unfair.
The debate and fun in the comment section that SportsCenter got started is very entertaining. There are quite a few write in candidates and the Bo vs Vick arguments are unending. That being said, there appears to be a lot of love for both Pablo Sanchez and Matt as viable candidates as well. Most games now are purposely designed with so much balance in mind (and perhaps for good reason) that completely dominating athletes in video games is harder to find in today’s games. For that reason, and a dash of nostalgia, these types of conversations are fun.