We're passionate about sports video games here at Balls.ie, and when you spend as much time playing the Maddens, FIFAs, and Pro Evos of this world as we have, you end up seeing a lot of intro videos.
A good intro can set the mood for the entire game. It's easy to just throw up a licencing screen and 'Press Start' screen, but we have developed a real appreciation for when a games studio takes time out to produce a montage of moments for our entertainment.
This is our Top 10 countdown of sports video games intros that flood our brains with nostalgia, get us far too pumped up to remain seated, or just look really damn good.
#10 - NHL Hitz 2002
We can forgive those who made this game for inexplicably putting a 'z' at the end of Hits, because they used Limp Bizkit's iconic punk rock anthem "Rollin'" as a backing track to a montage of massive hockey hits and goals.
#9 - Jonah Lomu Rugby
What could get you more in the mood to play some Jonah Lomu Rugby than a bunch of Maori men doing a haka in your face?
#8 - FIFA 2004
Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, and Alessandro Del Piero have seemingly been forced to play a secret football match in the dark against a bunch of plain jersey wearing henchmen, and a number of helicopters have been sent in to provide a light source, which quite frankly seems like a waste of resources. The Kings of Leon's excellent 'Red Morning Light' was a great music choice.
#7 - Madden NFL 08
WHO WANTS IT MORE!? A brilliantly American montage of dramatic moments with even more dramatic background music.
#6 - Pro Evolution Soccer 4
Back when Pro Evo was king, Konami made a habit of making beautifully animated intros that made for surprisingly compelling viewing. The hope back then was that we would one day see in game graphics of a similar standard, but unfortunately the wait continues.
#5 - Rugby 08
Seeing Brian O'Driscoll's blond locks squeezing the ball down just inside the corner flag against Australia always meant this intro got at least a few seconds play before we skipped it, but the rest of it is pretty great as well.
#4 - FIFA Road To World Cup 98
Blur's 'Song 2' absolutely made this. Nothing got us more in the mood for some virtual footy than this one.
#3 - Madden NFL 13
Ray Lewis giving a motivational speech so moving that most gamers probably put their controller down and went outside and spear tackled the first person they saw.
#2 - Pro Evolution Soccer 2
Remember when we said nothing got us more in the mood for virtual footy than Blur 'Song 2'? We lied. Remember when we said Konami had a knack for making beautiful animated intros for the early PES games? We didn't lie then, as this masterpiece was set perfectly to Queen's anthem 'We Will Rock You'.
#1 - FIFA 06
This goosebump inducing montage with a stirring Scottish monologue is appropriately titled 'The Beautiful Game' because it is just that, beautiful. Honestly it deserves some sort of award with a higher prestige than being our #1 sports video game intro of all time. Just watch it.