I never liked sports video games, aside from the occasional game of Baseball Simulator 1.000 for Nintendo (made by Culture Brain, a great little company). If I wanted do something sports-related, I'd throw the football around with my friend or bike down to an abandoned tennis court to join a game of roller hockey. But maybe I just didn't play the good sports games, or perhaps sports games have gotten better -- that is, increased at a faster rate in quality than games overall.
Nope. To check whether my assessment of sports games from awhile ago is correct, I went to eStarland and looked up used Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games, sorting them from low to high price. Almost without exception, the first 100 or so of roughly 500 games are sports games. Think of all the other genres that could have been mixed in there too -- yet the bottom fifth (and maybe more) are almost entirely sports games.
Then to check on more recent consoles, I looked up used PlayStation 2 games from low to high price. Again, virtually all of the really low-priced games -- i.e., those that no one wants -- are sports games. The graphics may be better, and you may be able to customize your team more than before, but compared to other genres, sports games are still garbage.
So, what is it about sports games that makes them so unpopular? It can't be "I could do that in real life," since The Sims is incredibly popular (among girls anyway). I don't think it's that we expect sports to be physical, so that a test of our button-pressing doesn't live up to a test of coordinating our whole body. After all, the beat 'em up games are supposed to be physical, and they don't live up to the feel of actually killing 500 guys with your bare hands. Thoughts?