ESPN decided to ask fans who they thought the best video fictional sports game star was and Dreamcast fans made their opinion abundantly clear. Sega diehards wanted people to put some respect on Afro Thunder from Ready 2 Rumble's name. Rivals were a big focus as Jon Dowd from MVP Baseball '05 and Matt of Wii Sports boxing fame got a nod. There were classic characters like the Philadelphia Eagles QB from Tecmo Bowl, Stretch Monroe of NBA Street, and Pablo Sanchez from Backyard Baseball. Alongside them were player characters like Alex Hunter from FIFA 19's career mode and 2K's massively popular MyPlayer from NBA 2k20.
For those who don't know, Ready 2 Rumble was a very popular boxing game back in the early 2000s. All of the characters had gimmicks, much like Punch-Out, but their personalities were aided by recorded lines in the game. The Midway title even featured Afro Thunder on the front cover of the game and it's sequel Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2. People gravitated towards the ex-cab driver for a myriad of reasons, but the style that oozed from the combat is a huge reason why people remember the game so well. (As well as the entire Dreamcast era so vividly.)
Kathy Astromoff was the third party account manager for Sega of America during the heyday of the Dreamcast. She talked to Gamasutra about the era and what made it so special. "The best part was working with talented game creators who were bringing their best effort for our players. A big reason I joined Apple Arcade was to get close to game developers again, on a platform with massive scale," she began.
If only these video game stars were real 💪
Who's the best of the best? pic.twitter.com/lii4Yu9OFR— ESPN (@espn) April 5, 2020
"With the Dreamcast, we knew we were innovating on creativity. The whole team also had very deep developer empathy - we loved our partners and I think it showed in the games," Astromoff explained. "For example, one day these two really nice guys from Canada came to the office to show us their progress on their game, MDK2. Ray and Greg were particularly excited about the implementation of Max the robot dog. From thence, Bioware!"
"But there were also more challenges during those days. Like figuring out how to get an obscure firmware bug fixed, propagated to SDK, distributed to devs, updated in binaries, burned to gold master, flown to San Francisco, checked for compliance, flown to disc replicator, and shipped to players. I don't miss disks at all," she continued. "In all, if everyone who today tells me they loved the Dreamcast had actually bought it, and kept buying games for it, it would have been the most popular console of all time!"
Have you been digging out any of your retro games during all this time inside? Let us know in the comments!
The Ready 2 Rumble fans are OUT
Me when I see Afro Thunder trending, knowing there's a bunch of Ready 2 Rumble fans on twitter along with me: pic.twitter.com/H4r1OJd5ya— JACPearlbirth (@pearlbirth) April 5, 2020
For the youngsters
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing (1999) pic.twitter.com/5xsqYCMmzi— AuxGod (@TheOXGod) April 5, 2020
Afro Thunder had hands b https://t.co/EtcRIVXVYz— Jasdeepdaku (@jasdeepdaku) April 6, 2020
You mess with the 'Fro, you got to go
Afro thunder pic.twitter.com/70IlTzlpDI— Jayveonn Grant (@ITZ_LITTY_JAY) April 6, 2020
Afro Thunder easily 🔥🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/B91E9jAeTF— Jay (@1Word_Respect) April 5, 2020
I kept my Afro Thunder all these years for this particular moment in time 🔮 pic.twitter.com/rux0njaKc0— F▵X🦊 (@Maroctv_) April 5, 2020
The easy pick is Pablo Sanchez but Afro Thunder in ready 2 rumble is my sleeper pick for sure https://t.co/vRuDmXmFN0— Chris Stasiewski (@cstasiewski) April 5, 2020
The people love him
AFRO THUNDER 🔥💯🔥💯🔥 https://t.co/JEzzvQFEci— strobe (@StRoBe813) April 5, 2020
This would be hysterical
Tim Meadows is Afro Thunder pic.twitter.com/bEsaKzKLJC— corey (@fuzzywazme) April 5, 2020
He's real in our hearts
I thought Afro Thunder was a real boxer when I was little. https://t.co/DA7EPHd02v— josh (@NikThaGoat) April 6, 2020
Hello old friend
Afro Thunder. We meet again.... https://t.co/tzDH1UH3bW— Qel (@_sicknastyyy) April 6, 2020
They don't hear you though.
Gimme Afro Thunder. Boy had them HANDS— bobbied. (@BigRobb__) April 6, 2020
I was dusting boys with afro thunder! https://t.co/bFKqLvDVFJ— Hey You! Yes You!!! Go ahead and follow! 😉 (@EveryTHGCulture) April 6, 2020
This is too real for words
If y’all played the ready to rumble series you would know that afro thunder will literally make you cry lol https://t.co/frRqulcisK— Frederick Hicks (@FuwapHaine) April 6, 2020