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Barry Laminack: My Top 5 video game franchises of all time

Back when Tiger Woods could still play, his video game was a must. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Well it's officially the slow time of the year now that the Rockets have been bounced from the playoffs. Don't get me wrong I love baseball, it's actually my favorite sport, but when it comes to writing articles you can only write so much and so often about baseball.

One thing I turn to in the slow season of sports is sports video games, so I thought I would touch on my 5 favorite sports video game franchises of all time. Now  I know some of your going to disagree with this and that's fine, but this is what I like to play in the order that I like to play them, so as the kids say, “save the drama for your mama.”

No. 5 -- Fight Night (EA Sports)

It only lasted a few years (like 5), and the last release was 2011, but as far as boxing games goes it was the champ (I’m sorry, pun intended). My love for the games kind of went away as my love for boxing grew sour and I turned to MMA for my combat sports fix. In case you’re wondering, I’ve owned one “UFC” game and I hated it.

No. 4  Tiger Woods PGA Tour (EA Sports)

The series was originally titled “PGA Tour Golf” and started all the way back in 1990 for MS DOS computers (look it up kid, I don’t have time to explain it). They changed the name to “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” in 1998 and that lasted until 2013. For some reason they didn’t make the game in 2014, but then in 2015 it came back as Rory Mcllroy PGA Tour. That lasted a year.

It has always been the best golf game out, and whenever I felt like playing some golf (but not actually getting off the couch) this was the franchise I turned to.

You got to play all the most famous courses (and holes) in the world with some of the best golfers in the world.

No. 3 Madden NFL (EA Sports)

I know this is going to rustle some jimmies that it’s not number 1 on my list, but as I stated in the opening, it's my list and my opinion, but I get why your jimmy would be rusteld.

Here’s the deal...I never really got into Madden like I did EA’s college football game (more on that in a bit). For me the game play always felt a little clunky. Franchise/Career mode could hold my attention for a bit, but I always wanted to play with my favorite team as built that year.

For me, part of what I hate about Madden is the AI. I once punched my fridge because I lost on a fumble returned 99 yard for a TD. That’s when I decided that I also want to win when I play video games.

So suck it Madden, you’re No. 3, deal with it.

No. 2 MLB The show (Sony)

I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved playing baseball video games (probably because of my love for the sport itself), so you could really put any baseball game/franchise here, but at the time of this writing I’m playing MLB The Show 18 and loving it. My love of baseball as a video games dates back to the late 80’s/early 90’s, with RBI Baseball being the first title that I can recall in my head that I enjoyed playing.

No. 1 NCAA Football (EA Sports)

It was a sad day when EA Sports stopped making NCAA football (I blame “greedy” players for wanting to get paid for the use of their likeness...ugh). It was my absolute favorite game to play. I love everything about it, especially recruiting. I got a huge rush out of getting a great recruit to sign with a team like Rice Or U of H, and then using that recruit to win more games, get more recruits and eventually get a national tile.

The game was just the right mix of fun and strategy, oh nad I LOVED being able to run the option. I always feel like the controls and the gameplay were way better than with Madden, and even though they were similar they were still different enough to me to keep playing NCAA and avoiding Madden if I could.

It will always be the greatest football game ever hopefully one day they can bring it back but I'm sure it'll never be the same.

Honorable Mention NHL ‘94 (EA Sports)

I’m not a big hockey fan, in fact the only way I learned anything about the sport was playing NHL ‘94 on Sega. It was a lot of fun, and the fact that there was fighting in the game was a huge plus.



 

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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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