2006 feels like a different lifetime nowadays, but it was then that Nintendo released the Wii, the world’s very first motion-controlled gaming system. But with a gimmick like that, people were going to have to experience it to be convinced, so Nintendo did what any smart company would do and gave away some exciting freebie software bundled with the console, and thus was born Wii Sports.
The original game offered five sports to showcase the console’s features. In 2009, Nintendo dropped a sequel of sorts with Wii Sports Resort, which had a dozen sports to choose from. Then, most recently, we got Nintendo Switch Sports. From the original game, we got tennis and bowling; Wii Sports Resort offered swordplay (Chambara), and newcomers soccer, badminton, and volleyball have entered the mix as well. Golf is on its way as DLC, too, reportedly sometime in 2022.
But, did anyone actually want those particular games? Because Nintendo Switch Sports has coasted since its April 2022 release on reception, that’s been just okay – it’s got a 72/100 on Metacritic, with other reviews hovering in the same neighborhood. Fans praised haptic responses and some of the included games, but many agree that different sports, such as but not limited to the following, would have made for a way better game.
9 Ice Hockey
Hockey is one of the four main competitive sports in North America, alongside baseball, American football, and basketball. And while the NHL might be smaller than the MLB, NFL, and NBA (OMG, acronyms), that doesn’t mean their followers don’t get wild. I’ve only ever been to one hockey game, but the energy stuck with me – those fans don’t mess around.
Besides, hockey is the most popular sport in Canada by a long shot – it’s considered to be their national pastime. And although people around the world would enjoy it, too, even if it is just for Canada’s sake.
8 Disc Golf Or Frisbee Dog
The first time I played disc golf in real life, I was, in a word, terrible. Despite careful tutorial from my extremely patient date, eager to share his passion for a sport where he’s won tournaments, I still almost managed to launch my disc into traffic. We went ahead and blamed the park for its course design instead of my lackluster skills.
Frisbee sports were introduced in Wii Sports Resort, and in it, you had a couple of options. Frisbee Golf is what it sounds like, but Frisbee Dog was excellent, too. In that, you got to play with a delightfully round digital puppy, who would shake its butt then haul off after the disc. It was just like fetch, and we could all really use a puppy play date these days.
7 Another Ball Sport, Any Ball Sport
We got soccer in Nintendo Switch Sports, and it was a solid choice – it’s the most-followed sport in the world, with dozens of countries between Europe, Africa, and both Americas having national teams. And with the popularity of the game in Nintendo Switch Sports, it seems like other ball-based field sports would also have done well, too.
Both rugby and American football are immensely popular, with rugby mostly watched in the UK and its commonwealth countries, and American football being popular in, well, America. The sports are similar, but rugby players wear much less protection. American footballers hit the field in hard-shell helmets and plush padding, but rugby players get out there with nothing but jerseys, shorts, knee socks, and their moxie.
When the Switch launched in 2017, Nintendo released a few games to hype up its player base, but no title moved consoles quite like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In fact, if you ask any Nintendo fan to list famous fictional archers, they’re probably going to put Link in their top three – we did, anyway.
Not only was archery in Wii Sports Resort, but it was well-loved for being fun and challenging. With the enhanced response of the Joy-Cons when compared to Wii Remotes, it seems like this would have been Nintendo’s chance to spit-polish something players already enjoyed.
The world’s second-most popular sport, cricket, has followers in the millions. It’s got quite the wide spread of passionate fans, everywhere from East Asia to South Africa, and while it’s never reached the same popularity in Japan or Western countries as it has in those places, it’s definitely still got the numbers to support its inclusion.
Even outside its popularity, it’d be fun to play on a Nintendo game, anyway. Cricket sees batsmen hitting the ball while the opposing team is trying to knock down the wickets atop the posts (called stumps). It might take some precision to figure out on Nintendo’s part, especially for couch co-op, but it seems like it’d get intense.
Speaking of ball sports, where the hell is baseball? It was my favorite game in the original Wii Sports, and I was great at it, too, typically forcing a Mercy Rule so that my enthusiastic and good-natured but not exactly coordinated mother didn’t have to try to close the gap in our scores.
Baseball is really popular worldwide, too. It’s said to have descended from cricket, and not only is it one of the most popular sports in the US, but it also has quite a following in East Asia and Latin America as well. Global, fun, and easy enough to pick up and play? Count us in.
3 Yoga (With Wii Fit Trainer, Naturally)
Nintendo has always tried to use its motion controls to get people off their couches – after all, this article is literally about a sports game. Between spirited dancing, gamified adventures with auxiliary accessories, and wild robot arms, Nintendo has never been shy about wanting us on our feet. 2008’s Wii Fit, where Nintendo yoga was born, is still one of the best-selling games to not have been bundled with a console.
I spent the summer of 2008 perched carefully in my living room, stretching and breathing with the iconic Wii Fit Trainer, and I loved every minute of it. Yoga is good for a lot of things – posture, pain relief, and relaxation, to name a few – and there’s not a person alive who couldn’t use help with at least one of those things.
2 Boxing, And Bring In Matt
Just the mention of boxing is enough to boil the blood of many who attempted the sport back in the day. The Wii might have been the first motion-controlled console, but it wasn’t the greatest because boxing was tough sometimes. I’m not too proud to admit that some victories were attained by flailing my arms at my digital opponents and hoping for the best.
But Nintendo has had time to work on its motion-control responses. While the Switch isn’t always perfect, it’s definitely better at accurately recording your inputs than the Wii was. And besides, we’ve got a good number of hand-to-hand combat games on the Switch, so they’ve got to have ironed out the kinks. They put absurdly-difficult boxing champion, Matt, in for Chambara, but I don’t find myself as angry at him, and beating him doesn’t feel as satisfying, either. Just let me punch him again, Nintendo. Please.
1 Golf, And It Shouldn’t Have Been DLC
Golf has always been a popular sports game: it’s straightforward, easy to design, fun, and it begs for replays without feeling samey. Nintendo has been pumping out golf games for decades, even branching into their own franchises with Mario Golf for N64 in 1999. My brother and I spammed the vocal call buttons in that game; I can still hear the since-vanished character of Charlie grumbling, “Hey, while we’re young!”
Golf is indeed coming in DLC for Nintendo Switch Sports, but it seems strange to have excluded it in the first place. The sport was popular enough that they’ve been enjoying its success with regular golf games that also include less-traditional, more ridiculous fresh takes on the sport. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for nights on the couch with my family, but there are definitely a lot of people excited to see golf making its triumphant return.
NEXT: Games Like Wii Sports