“That was four the moment it left the bat”
By Aaron Callaghan
Living in the digital age it is interesting how much time we spend scrolling our social timelines aimlessly consuming memes and poorly formed opinions in Facebook comments, then a well crafted piece of content catches your eye, in this case sending me on a nostalgic afternoon perusing YouTube watching cricket video game – gameplay, 45 minutes later you remember you’re actually at work and actually have things to do – whoops, sorry. Last week Channel 7 cricket posted to their Twitter feed an image of the finest cricket video games over the years, imploring the reader to consider the proposition of just selecting one game to sustain their virtual cricketing needs.
The above social media graphic spurred me to power rank these four cricket video games. There have been many attempts at cricket video games over the short history of video gaming however the four in the graphic are the cornerstones, the four pillars, the standard that all cricket video games are held to. Now even before we dive in, I know what you’re thinking, Shane Warne Cricket 99 is the greatest video game ever forged over coals and sweat in the cricket gaming laboratories, well the power rankings may surprise you … or maybe not.
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Clocking the lowest score and unfortunately ranking last (read: fourth) on the cricket game power rankings, this Super Nintendo Classic was a must have for 90’s kids and sports fans alike. Featuring iconic cover art, Super International Cricket was a masterpiece at the time and I lost countless hours and pocket money hiring the game from the local video store. Remember when we used to hire games?
Watching YouTube gameplay on this title, it simply doesn’t hold up, it looks clunky and comparative to later titles a poor gaming experience and unfortunately that’s the lens we must look through to review this game.
Great in 1994 but hasn’t aged well.
Coming in at second-last (read: third), International Cricket Captain and its various slightly different iterations of name and developer is a simulation based cricket manager with actual on-screen action, think Football Manager. Extensive databases of players and leagues including domestics. If you’re into simulators, cool, if not these manager style games can be boring.
A reasonably polished effort only limited by it’s managerial-simulation gameplay.
Ray Pointing Cricket – Ahh sorry Ricky Ponting Cricket is an iconic cricket game, a rebadged version of Brian Lara Cricket 2005 and in the belief of many the second best cricket video game ever made. Ricky Ponting Cricket 05 was infamous for the use of slight variations on cricket players names to avoid trademark. I’ve listed some of the best Australian names below, no prizes for guessing their real names;
· Jason Guisseppi
· Glenn MacGrith
· Brett Leap
· Justin Linker
· Matthew Hyder and
· Steve Worde
The gameplay learning curve was not steep and mostly intuitive, especially bowling in comparison with some other cricketing titles. A fun title to jump on and battle against some friends.
Shane Warne Cricket 99
Michael Jordan. Michael Jackson. Shane Warne Cricket 99. Three of the greatest to ever do it.
One of the most iconic sporting video games of all time, Shane Warne Cricket 99 was and still is a masterpiece, perhaps my nostalgia is giving me rose coloured glasses as I was coming of age in 1999 but I digress – Shane Warne Cricket was one of the most enjoyable titles of the sporting genre, the game was infinitely re-playable and that’s how we consumed video game content before the rise of online play, we replayed the story mode over and over, in this case test match seasons, world cups or one day international series against the CPU or your mate, sitting next to you, on the floor.
The bowling actions were rigid and the spin options bowling run up and action didn’t quite look right, throwing in from the boundary after fielding the ball was always cause to pinch another run however the batting animations were closer, not perfected but passable.
Perhaps the most enjoyment was gained from entering cheat codes;
· Destroy bowling attacks with – SUPERMAN
· Play cricket on the beach - SUNSHINE
· World XI Team – PENSIONS
· Make the fielders drop every catch – DROPBALL
The first point anyone makes regarding their Shane Warne 99 experience was the commentary glitches. Geoffry Boycott was on fire;
· “Smashin shot, really really smashin, you’d pay money just to watch that”
· “Many more balls like that and the captain will have to take him off”
· “That's a great catch.......from the person in row M”
· “That was four the moment it left the bat”
Shane Warne Cricket 99 – The definitive cricket gaming masterpiece and number one on The Unsportsmen cricket video game power rankings.
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