While Nintendo is primarily known for making big adventure games through iconic characters Mario and Link, the gaming giant has their hands in the creation of titles for every genre under the sun. The titanic company has even managed to translate real-world sports into some of the most fun video games on the market.
Nintendo has created and/or released a fantastic range of sports-themed games over the years, seen both on the Nintendo Switch today and on systems of the past, and they cover a wide range of events, with varying levels of competitiveness. But what are the best sports gaming titles that Nintendo has to offer?
Updated on September 22nd, 2022 by Stacie Rook:
New great sports games continue to be released on the Nintendo Switch, and the latest Nintendo Direct showed that there’s more for fans of the genre to look forward to, as expansions for games like Nintendo Direct Sports and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are on the way (as per NintendoLife).
Rocket League (Nintendo Switch)
Developed by Psyonix, Rocket League is a game of soccer unlike any other, where players on the pitch drive cars that can be propelled along at breakneck, rocket-fueled speeds.
While at first glance this seems like it could just be a gimmick, the fast-paced nature of the game makes its premise worthwhile, creating a fun environment for matches. Additionally, the game is now free-to-play, making it easily accessible to players across consoles.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch)
The newest entry in the Mario Kart series, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch took the existing Mario Kart 8 (made for the Wii U) and enhanced it for the new console while retaining all the iconic features of the kart-racing game.
Aside from making use of the best Mario Kart shortcuts ever, players of the game on the Nintendo Switch can purchase the Booster Course Pass, an ongoing DLC that grants players access to a number of new tracks, released in waves throughout the year, making the game feel continually refreshing.
Ring Fit Adventure (Nintendo Switch)
There’s no other game quite like Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch. The exercise-themed game has multiple play modes, including an RPG storyline and workout routines.
A fantastic way to engage in home fitness, Ring Fit allows players to engage with the console in a new way through the use of the Ring-Con, and the assistance of the Leg Strap, which turns the Switch’s Joy-Cons into a workout apparatus. The game’s RPG mode is particularly inventive, taking players through a fantastical narrative.
Nintendo Switch Sports (Nintendo Switch)
Successor to the immensely popular Wii Sports, Nintendo Switch Sports currently allows gamers to participate in six different events: badminton, volleyball, chambara, soccer, tennis, and bowling, with more on the way.
Showing why the Nintendo Switch Expansion Pass is worthwhile, Nintendo Switch Sports has an online mode, which puts people around the world into matches that help them hone their skill, and earn points to unlock new gear. With fun controls and multiplayer modes, the game is perfect for groups.
Mario Strikers: Battle League (Nintendo Switch)
The third game in the Mario Strikers series, Mario Strikers: Battle League was long anticipated. Released in 2022, a huge fifteen years after its predecessor, it focuses on five versus five soccer.
With a roster of familiar Mario characters for players to choose from, each possessing unique soccer abilities, Battle League is a greatly customizable game and can be played in co-op mode or online. Furthermore, the game’s second free update has just launched (as per NintendoLife), including new playable characters and adding finesse to the overall gameplay.
Mario Super Sluggers (Nintendo Wii)
Mario Superstar Baseball is a great game on the Nintendo GameCube, but its sequel, Mario Super Sluggers, just edges it out. This is because it has a far more extensive story mode, as well as more players.
The Wii motion-controlled remote also allows the player to feel like they are actually in the game itself. It is simply a far more entertaining Mario baseball game and is still great to play, even over a decade later.
NHL Hitz 2003 (Nintendo GameCube)
NHL Hitz 2003 is one of the coolest hockey games that Nintendo ever made because it not only has real-life rosters from that time period, but it is also a fantastic arcade-style game, too.
There is never a dull moment when playing, as it is full of bombastic body-checks and goal-scoring. It is the game that makes hockey fans wish this series would just come back already.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (Nintendo 64)
When playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the Nintendo 64, there is no question that it is outdated in terms of graphics. However, that does not take away from its fun, as it allows the player to land extremely cool tricks while also having a fun overall story.
The significance of this game for the skating community is immeasurable, too, as it has inspired many people to try the sport out over the years, and it’s considered one of the best Tony Hawk games. It’s clear this game’s legacy is still being felt, as a modernized remake of it just came out this past year, too.
Super Mario Strikers Charged (Nintendo Wii)
Super Mario Strikers Charged is unlike any soccer game out there. The iconic electric fence in this game makes this point clear as day, as it shocks characters when hit into it. Also, the mega strikes in this game result in the player having the ability to score multiple goals at once.
It is a rather unique take on a Mario sports game, as it is far more violent than any other, while also possessing a doomsday-type theme. Every game is full of constant mayhem with foes and power-ups, so it is chaotic in the best way possible.
MVP Baseball 2005 (Nintendo GameCube)
One traditional sports game that is simply remarkable is MVP Baseball 2005. Produced by EA Sports, this game offers features that are commonly a part of modern baseball games, such as Franchise Mode and directional hitting in gameplay.
This game also pays homage to the Boston Red Sox breaking their 86-year World Series drought, which is a nice touch for those in their fandom. However, more importantly, it’s aged well because of some of the great legends that dominate in the game, such as Randy Johnson and Manny Ramirez.
NFL Blitz (Nintendo 64)
One of the most iconic games on the entire Nintendo 64 console, NFL Blitz takes the game of football in an entirely different direction. It possesses an arcade style that results in much faster speeds and far more action than most.
Although the series itself is no longer in production, this game is one that still holds up. It is epic in every single aspect, whether in the actual game or even browsing its menus because of its bombastic narrator.
NBA Street V3 (Nintendo GameCube)
NBA Street V3 is a great game on any console, but it has to be played on GameCube because it incorporates Mario, Luigi, and Peach in one epic game as they go toe to toe with legitimate NBA stars.
That alone makes the game entertaining, but it’s also important to praise its unique player moves, whether it be through ball-handling or monstrous dunks. Also, the announcer during gameplay delivers a lot of hilarious slang-ridden dialogue.
Wii Sports (Nintendo Wii)
Whenever one of Nintendo’s best-selling consoles, the Nintendo Wii, was purchased, it came with Wii Sports for free. This would turn out to be an incredible bonus, as the now-iconic game gives players the chance to try out five different sports: tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, and boxing.
While the best sport in the game is up for debate, it’s clear that each is entertaining in its own way, and the game is remembered for its distinctive music as well as how it allows the gamer to use their custom Miis in any sport they choose.
Mario Tennis Aces (Nintendo Switch)
Mario Tennis Aces is one of the newer sports games from Nintendo, and shows just why the company needs to continue to make sports games. It has a very detailed story that requires Mario to take on a plethora of tasks and challenges to save his friends.
The game is also great because it features some uncommon characters, such as Dry Bowser, Chain Chomp, and Blooper. The gameplay is quite beautiful when it comes to its graphics, and only made gamers more excited about the next Mario sports game on the Switch, Mario Golf: Super Rush.
Mario Golf (Nintendo 64)
The original Mario Golf on the Nintendo 64 is a spectacular game. For an older title, its graphics still hold up exceptionally well, and it features some unique non-Nintendo characters, not usually a part of a Nintendo sports game.
The courses in the game are varied, and it opened the door for Nintendo to create more sports games for Mario and his friends, so its significance cannot be ignored. Still clearly making an impact, the most recent installment, Mario Golf: Super Rush, is available on the Switch.