With the 2014 World Cup now in full swing in Brazil, I thought it apt to recount my favourite football games from the vault. Whilst many football games have scored own goals over the years, this top ten have well and truly had me punching the air celebrating a winning goal.
SWOS 96/97 – Amiga
This game needs a whole review in its own right. All I can say is the pure playability brilliance of the Sensible Soccer series coupled with a superb management mode from a database of thousands of players equals one of the best games, let alone football games, ever. Sensible Soccer may not have created the top down football genre, but to many it perfected it. I still play this game to this day. If you fancy taking me on, add me on XBL – evilution666 – but be warned! – I’m a beast with Allen Boksic!
Championship Manager 92/93 – Amiga
Before Football manger there was Championship Manager. Championship Manager from the early 90’s was responsible for many a missed day at school – It was not so spreadsheet style of today’s incarnation, but a more simplistic innocent jaunt. Back when footy rules included the three foreigner rule! (Thanks Mr Bosman!), The purchasing of the best Footy Manager players ever – Mark Collis & Ferrah Orosco (The game’s developers who cunningly included themselves at the mighty Colchester utd) will forever remain in my memory.
ISS ’98 – N64/PS1
Yes, “The one with Ince & Ravanelli on the front”! Before Pro-Evo, Konami’s unlicenced International Superstar Soccer was the king of arcade style playability. ISS was arguably the pinnacle of multiplayer football games, and probably caused many fights! Fast, furious Fun.
Fifa ’06 – Xbox/PS2
Fans of EA’s best-selling Fifa series will have many views on the best incarnation, I nearly plumped for 1998’s Road to the World Cup, but for me the last great Fifa was back in 2006 (World cup year) and my reasoning for this was ’06 still had a fast fluid arcade style of play. 4-4 draws were common place and to be honest, I prefer this style to today’s gritty realism and generally low scoring matches.
Football Manager – PC
Very difficult to pick the best vintage, but often dubbed “spreadsheet manger” FM has had me thinking of tactics and transfers before going to sleep many a time. Whether its Tonton Zola Moukoko or Cherno Samba, we have all unearthed these gems who have catapulted our teams to stardom! Oh and this game is great with a beer – just not too many!
Kick Off – Various
Ah, the top down football game. Many claim to be crowned king, From Microprose Soccer to the all-conquering Sensible Soccer. A Certain Italian by the name of Dino Dini created the Kick off series, and to those in the know, Kick off compares favourably to Sensi Soccer in many ways, just to keep it to yourself though, Sensible soccer fans can march in their legions!
Striker – SNES
Originated from Japan, and in its purest form, J-League striker offered a different perspective with a very low top down view. One of the trump cards of the mighty SNES, Striker was lightning fast and received awesome review scores, a superb alternative to the then emerging FIFA series.
Fifa Soccer – Sega Mega CD
The original Fifa, My fave version was the Championship edition on the Sega (Mega) CD. Unlicensed at first, I was soon scoring screamers with players such as the mighty Mike Swanson. FIFA broke the mould by introducing the Isometric view, which has developed into today’s games, albeit now more horizontal. FIFA Soccer did indeed revolutionise the genre. Oh and you could run away from the referee in the original games!
Ultimate Soccer Manager – Amiga
In the mighty Amiga days, football manager games were bountiful, other than the champ manager games, ultimate soccer was my next management game of choice. Rather memorably Ultimate Soccer offered you the chance to bribe and bet on games! How little did they know!
European Club Soccer – Sega Megadrive
I played this in the early 90’s on my beloved Sega Megadrive. I include this game as it contains possibly the best cheat of all time! If you entered a password of “Three Shredded Wheat” your players received a super-human boost and could score from their own halves!