2. Grand Slam Tennis 2
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
At the end of the day, it's just a really, really luxe game of pong. But EA Sports managed to get as close to a "real" tennis game as there's ever been, one that's stupidly addictive with smooth-as-butter graphics, and one that reduced every other tennis franchise to child's play (sorry, Virtua Tennis). It's also one of the first sports games to make a dual-analog control scheme work to perfection: Once you learn it, the only buttons you need to hit are modifiers, one for lob shots and the other for drop shots.
Throw in John McEnroe screaming at you during training sessions, and a mode that allows you to replay some of the greatest tennis matches in history, and you've got one of the most surprisingly brilliant and overlooked games of the year, sports or otherwise. On top of that? It's the rare sports game that wants to teach you about the sport you're playing, and even more rare in that it does so exceptionally well.