Sports Games that Embrace the Olympic Spirit: The Top 10 Olympic Video Games

Last updated: 12/26/2023
6 minutes read

Are you ready to run through the best Olympic video games in history? If you like the sporty things in life, our latest top 10 will certainly get your heart racing.

We all know there are games that cover every aspect of life, as well as things outside the realms of reality. From war and space to castle games, you can immerse yourself in a plethora of weird and wonderful worlds.

With that being the case, it’s hardly surprising that sport is a big deal in gaming. Within this genre are Olympic video games. As you’d expect, they focus on the Summer and Winter Olympics, which means you get to run, jump, ski, shoot, and a whole lot more.

Now, people often ask whether we’ll see eSports in the Olympics. The answer is that we don’t know. If they are, it would be interesting to see world-class gamers compete in Olympic events at the Games.

We know there’s skill involved, which is a good reason to include them. We also know that these games require a certain amount of physical effort because you have to tap buttons like crazy.

Could that convince the IOC to put video games in the Olympics? We’ll have to wait and see. However, in lieu of that, we’ve picked out 10 of the best Olympic video games in history.

So, if you’re ready to get sporty, scroll down for a rundown of the finest Olympic offerings.

The Top 10 Olympic Video Games of All Time

Okay, so without further delay, here are 10 of the best Olympic video games of all time. We’ve not ranked them in order, so don’t get mad. We have, however, picked out 10 games we think embody the Olympic spirit and, in turn, the spirit of gaming.

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Bigger, brighter, and bolder graphics make this one of the best Olympic video games in recent years. Of course, it’s also an official game, so there are plenty of familiar faces, landmarks, and events.

There are 18 sports you can compete in, but the standout feature of this game is the fact you can customize just about every inch of an athlete.

Beijing 2008

Developed by Eurocom and published by Sega, this 2008 tribute to the Beijing Olympic Games features 32 national teams and 38 events. That makes it one of the most comprehensive Olympic Games video game offerings in history.

Indeed, there are almost too many things to do in this game. However, if you want the full Olympic video games experience from the comfort of your own home, it’s perfect.

Vancouver 2010

This Winter Olympics video game is another product of the Eurocom/Sega link-up. You can try a variety of Winter Olympic sports, including snowboarding, slalom, and bobsleigh.

You can also improve your skills by completing 30 different challenges, such as landing jumps in specific zones.

London 2012

Another of the official Olympic video games, London 2012 took what the franchise started and made it better. There are 31 sports to compete in, each with its own leaderboard. The biggest reason to play this Olympic tribute is the national pride feature.

Basically, your results contribute to the overall success of the nation you’re representing.

Steep: Road to the Winter Olympics – 2016

This isn’t an official Winter Olympics video game, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. Developed by Ubisoft, Steep was available for PlayStation and Xbox, and it took the Olympic video games genre to a more extreme level.

As well as standard sports, you can try base jumping, wingsuit flying races, and speed riding.

Athens 2004

Eurocom partnered with Sony for this Olympics video game and produced a small but well-appointed product. The list of sports isn’t as extensive as later Olympic titles, but all the main bases are covered.

This means you can sprint, swim, shoot, and set your sights on gold in more than 20 events.

Olympic Gold (Barcelona '92) – 1992

This was the official Olympic Games video game for Barcelona ’92 and it was available for all Sega systems, including the Genesis, Master System, and Game Gear.

Mashing the buttons was a major part of Olympic Gold, but what was most interesting was the competition you faced.

Although rudimentary by the standards of today’s Olympic video games, the complexity setting meant each nation was better at certain sports than another. This actually added a nice layer of variety to the game.

Daley Thompson's Decathlon - 1984

It’s only fitting that one of the greatest Olympians in history has an equally impressive game dedicated to his legacy. Compared to a modern Olympic Games video game, Daley Thompson's Decathlon is visually inferior. However, just like the man himself, it has plenty of other talents.

The gameplay is entertaining and there’s an overarching goal. You compete in 10 events, naturally, over the course of two days. Therefore, you have a clear target to aim for, which isn’t always the case in Olympic video games.

Nagano Winter Olympics '98

Konami’s Nagano is often seen as a turning point for the Winter Olympics video game genre. This 1998 creation was the first true 3D Olympic Games video game, and it paved the way for everything we see today.

As well as bringing a new level of aesthetic depth to the genre, Nagano Winter Olympics '98 wasn’t all about button mashing. There was some, but not like previous games.

It was more refined and that helped future Olympic offerings become more like strategy games than ever before.

Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Olympic video games don’t have to be serious. There have been various showdowns between Mario and Sonic over the years, but their battle at the Tokyo Games is one of the most enjoyable. There are some critics of this game.

For some, there’s a lack of content in story mode. Additionally, players that enjoy realistic games don’t like the aesthetics. However, the gameplay is extremely entertaining and there are plenty of sports to compete in.

Therefore, if you want an Olympics video game that’s a bit more lighthearted, Mario and Sonic is perfect.

Practice Makes Perfect

There you have our list of some of the best Olympic Games video games in history. But with each tournament comes a new offering, so perhaps the next classic is just around the corner.

We'll just have to wait and see!