With Christmas and New Years long gone, the rest of winter break drags until spring semester’s start. It’s a time of hibernation, hiding from the bitter cold outdoors, and a whole lot of nothing for a month. It’s in this month off from college where important goals can be set and achieved… in video games. In this post, we look at the definitive sports games to play over winter break. These games span over different platforms, years, and sports. One game for each sport.

Baseball: MVP Baseball 2005 (EA Sports); PS2, XBOX, Gamecube

Arguably the best baseball game to date. MVP has simple controls for any gamer to pick up on, yet it isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Today’s 2K baseball games with the stick-based pitching make playing a hassle. MVP has a ton of features, including dynasty (play and manage an entire organization from MLB to Single-A), owner mode, and mini games. Baseball is a long sport as it is, so the various modes keep things fresh during winter break

Hockey: NHL 14 (EA Sports); PS3, XBOX 360

Easily the best of the series. Skating is more fluid, more controls are added, fighting is more authentic, and ’94 anniversary mode provides even more fun. The expanded “Be a Pro” mode named “Live The Life” is the perfect excuse not to live yours.

Football: Madden NFL 2005 (EA Sports); PS2, XBOX, Gamecube

Two words: hit stick. This titled launched the greatest feature on the defensive side of the ball. Aside from the standard gameplay, Madden 2005 has franchise mode and a handful of mini games. This was the last title before Madden was released on XBOX360 and PS3 with the ridiculous “QB Vision” feature.

Basketball: NBA 2K11 (2K Sports); PS3, XBOX 360

This is what put NBA 2K not just steps ahead of EA Sports NBA Live/Elite, but years. The gameplay itself is perfect, as the animation and controls are great. What makes this a great winter break game are the Michael Jordan challenges. Gamers can play as classic Jordan teams, replay actual past games, and much more. This game was so good it was released for PS2… but definitely stick to the newer generation.

Honorable Mentions:

NFL BLITZ (Midway); N64, Playstation
The original from 1998. Considered by many one of the greatest sports games ever made. 7-on-7 football, no rules, and big hits. It’s what the XFL dreamt to be. Hard game to leave off first picks, but Madden has more features to accomplish those winter break “goals.”

NHL HITZ 20-03 (Midway); PS2, XBOX, Gamecube
Another Midway sports game, Hitz is a fun 3-on-3 hockey experience with huge hits and crazy animation. Tons of mini games and  franchise mode make this a great winter break choice.

Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports); PS3, XBOX 360
You really can’t go wrong with Madden. Connected franchise allows online players to interact even more. Any of the newest sports games could be on the list because of online gameplay alone. But that isn’t enough, for there needs to be enough offline entertainment during those long lazy days. Not everyone has online access and the older games were built for local gameplay.

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