They Put Real Players in the Game
In 1987 Namco became the first company to use real athletes from the pros when they made a deal with the players union to make a ten team, cult-classic game called R.B.I. Baseball. Than, in 1989 EA released a dreadful, horseshit game called Lakers versus Celtics in the NBA Playoffs. The other "big two" were soon to follow with games like: Tecmo Super Bowl, and the creatively named NHLPA Hockey.
No more did we have to play with one named players or athletes identified only by jersey number; now we got to be one step closer to the type of athlete we wished we were.