With respect and admiration for, if not apologies to, the late Ernie Harwell, here's something adapted from his famous Induction Day speech at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Aug. 2, 1981, which itself was adapted from this 1955 essay.
Sports video games are the very first video game, a glowing ball bouncing back across an oscilloscope in a atomic research laboratory. Tennis for Two. They're there with the first coin-operated video games, at a bar in Sunnyvale, Calif., in a crude machine stuffed with so many quarters that it broke down. Pong. That's a sports game.
They are the original fighters and the original racers. Turbo and Punch-Out!! Pole Position and Ring King, Ready 2 Rumble, UFC Undisputed and Fight Night. Sports games were there at the beginning of console multiplayer gaming, on a dialup and a Dreamcast.
There's a young man in Semmes, Ala. who will start a family with the million dollars he won pitching a perfect game in MLB 2K10. That's sports games. So is the Missouri alum in Denver who always beats the hated Jayhawks 100-to-nothing. Sports games nourish the expression of a competitive spirit that, for millions, began a long starvation on their last day in shoulderpads or stirruped hose.