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Six of the most-iconic football computer games ever made

| 25.04.2013

From the sheer joy of smashing the ball into the top corner from the half-way line to the sense of achievement of guiding a non-league minnow up the pyramid into the Champions League, football computer games have been making the seemingly impossible possible for sports fans for years.

Every gaming element may have evolved dramatically since the likes of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer kept the nation’s gamers entertained in the late 1980s, but the concept remains very much the same.

Two teams battling it out for virtual glory. It’s friend versus friend, gamer versus computer, gamer versus online gamer. Personal pride is at stake each and every team your virtual XI crossed the white line.

Fast, furious, frantic and fun, football games remain as a popular as ever.

While the emphasis these days is mostly on the latest releases from the FIFA and Pro Evolution franchises and each one seems to be billed as the best ever thanks to advances in technology, there was a time when other games took centre stage.

Here, we remember six cult classics from yesteryear.

International Superstar Soccer 2000

ISS 2000 was a game massively ahead of its time graphically with great visuals effects, including a trail behind ball, goal animations and celebrations when players netted. Scoring from distance was made easy if you mastered the art of getting them just right.

A “cheeky penalty cheat” made shoot-outs a tense affair, although the lack of real player names was disappointing. The career mode proved highly addictive though.


Sensible Soccer

The original Sensi game from 1992 had a Cannon Fodder look and feel to it, only with a football replacing guns and grenades. The stand-out feature was the ability to curl the ball at ridiculous angles, arching it from one top corner to the other with a sharp twitch of the joystick.

The ability to play as club sides from countries like Luxembourg – can anybody even name any club sides from Luxembourg? – was met with genuine excitement, while the fake team names were equally comical. Highbury instead of Arsenal, for example. Great game and great memories.

Football Manager ’08

Anything was possible on Football Manager 08. You could start way down in the doldrums of the Polish leagues before working your way to the dizzy heights of winning the treble with Portsmouth.

Taking charge of a football club and being able to do everything from fining players to changing the pitch dimensions gave gamers ultimate control on and off the pitch.

World Cup Italia ’90

Every football fan has fond memories of that ‘first’ major tournament when you are old enough to follow all the action and feel the heartbreak when your team crashes out. Well, it was Italia ’90 for me and this game formed part of a memorable summer.

You could pick your own squad, diagonal shots were the only way to score a goal and passing seemed to take an age as the ball soared like a penny floater, meaning World Cup Italia ’90 wasn’t the easiest game to master, but it was fun nevertheless.

FIFA ‘94

Another major tournament produced another classic football game in FIFA ’94. Hands up who always mimicked the ‘EA Sports, it’s in the game’ slogan every time you started the game up? Guilty.

Having a pre-match coin toss and being able to select which way you wanted to kick in the first half was a bit of a novelty, as was the crooked camera angle that took a bit of getting used to. You always knew on FIFA ’94 as soon as you struck the ball when it was going to ping across the keeper into the top corner, which was a great feeling as a button-thrashing kid. Plus, you could set fireworks off after you scored. Awesome.

Pro Evolution Soccer 6

Adriano and a fresh-faced John Terry were the poster boys for PES6 – one of the more bizarre double acts when it comes to computer game covers. Not surprisingly, Adriano was pretty special on the game and had a shot power of something daft like 98.

This was Pro Evo at its best when it comes to fans of goals as you could score the most incredible wonder strikes. Admittedly, it was probably too easy to find the net, but that was half the fun if you started a mini league with your mates.



Mark Bowering