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5 Best Olympic Sports Video Games of All Time, Ranked

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The Olympic games have played a crucial role in our society for generations, with athletes all over the world submitting their talents towards the nexus of global sports in a bid to weave communities together. And now, thanks to the art of gaming, the world can celebrate the traditional event with a front row seat to every game and every podium, as well as a chance to take part in the contests from the comfort of their own homes.

While we've definitely seen our fair share of Olympic games over the years, only a select few have managed to make a solid impression on both gamers and Olympians alike. And with that, let's take a moment to gloss over the timeline of all officially licensed releases and give them a podium of their own. From the Mario spin-offs to the formal expansions, here are, in our opinion, five of the best Olympic sports video games, ranked.

5. Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Heroes Showdown Trailer

While some would say that Mario & Sonic peaked in 2011 with their London 2012 entry to the Olympic domain, others would say that they only continued to broaden their horizons and gradually ascend the ladder. But no matter which side of the fence you sit on, there's no denying the fact that, when together, the two gaming icons produce some absolutely fantastic material.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was a welcome tribute to the sporting platform, and a warm hand for both gamers and sports fanatics alike. It continued to deliver jam-packed events with plenty of roster shifts, and gracefully upped the ante when it came to delivering next-level multiplayer modes. It was, in essence, a solid sequel to London 2012, only with a few added cogs to help keep the contraption in motion.

 

4. London 2012

London 2012 - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games - Launch Trailer (UK)

Long before London 2012 set the benchmark for sports games, Sega worked tirelessly to push the boat out and deliver top-tier titles for its Olympics handle. And while its predecessors were equally as addictive in terms of gameplay — London 2012 definitely ramped up the remaining elements, including its visuals and range of events.

Unaware at the time, London 2012 would have been the game to hold the podium for eight years, before Tokyo would've swept up the gold and claimed the throne in 2020. And for that reason alone, we're happy to slot it in as one of the most defining entries in the category to date. But then, taking into account that Rio 2016 wasn't actually made into a video game — I suppose the competition was pretty thin, to be fair.

 

3. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Wii and 3DS) Gamescom Trailer

Going back to what I said about Mario & Sonic peaking in 2012 — half of that was actually true. Or, at least half of the players that followed the series claimed it was. Since then, many have given the following entries the cold shoulder, and have even branded games as new as Tokyo 2020 as being subpar to the decade old title.

Wherever you stand, there's no denying the fact that Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games was, and still very much is a fantastic game for the Wii and 3DS, with party elements that still stack up in today's standards. Its games were beautifully assorted, and its crossovers were most definitely plentiful. Overall, it just felt complete, like a fully compressed package with all the bells and whistles one could ever want from a sports collection.

 

2. Steep: Road to the Olympics DLC

Steep: Road To The Olympics: Open Beta Trailer |

Steep was hands down one of best snowboarding and skiing entries to the winter stadium of all time, with events and side activities that ranged from paragliding to base jumping. And while the game itself lacked in narrative, it certainly made up for in everything else. From the snow-glazed open world to the intensifying training segments — Steep made up one of the best winter sports chapters to date. And as far as its DLC went — Road to the Olympics was, metaphorically speaking, the tip of the iceberg.

Boasting an actual story, unlike the run-of-the-mill base game, Road to the Olympics was made up of lengthy training arcs and cinematics, in which you, the player, would have to roll with in order to crack the podium and ascend the Olympian leaderboard. It was smooth, satisfying, and definitely worth the extra $30 for a solid 4 additional hours of icy entertainment.

 

1. Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Official Video Game - Launch Trailer | PS4

It was only natural for us to expect the worse from the Japan-exclusive Tokyo 2020 when COVID-19 struck the industry and prolonged development. But to our absolute surprise, despite the hurdles, Sega was able to come out with one of the best and most diverse entries to date, with new events, online features and fully customizable characters.

Although the art style changed to a more cartoon-like format, the gameplay continued to uphold the series' reputation, with more features to help broaden its ambition. Rock climbing, boxing, and beach volleyball; just a few things that helped drive the Tokyo 2020 games into the spotlight this year. And as for the future of the saga, well, let's just say the 2024 edition will have a lot to live up to.

 

So, do you agree with our top five? Would you rank them differently? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

 

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Jord is acting Team Leader at gaming.net. If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.