☆ When Football Video Games Ruled My World! ☆

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When I think back to all of the video game genres that I have played over the many years that I have been a gamer there is one genre of video game that I spent the first 20 years of my gamer life playing the most. 

In fact, I would say that I obsessed over this genre to the detriment of playing any other genre of game at the time. At this point in my life, I was completely devoured by the need to find the perfect football video game (soccer).

This quest spread across the two main sub-genres of football video games. I was looking for the perfect Football Manager Simulation and the perfect Football video game. 

The need to find this perfect reproduction of the beautiful game grew from playing Football Manager on my friend Briggsy’s AMSTRAD CPC. Once I played that game I was hooked into the football video games genre forever.

The problem I had was that I couldn’t seem to find Football Manager on my Atari 800 XEGS system anywhere! I was desperate to recreate the Amstrad glory on my Atari but alas it seemed impossible for me to get my hands on an Atari version. 

This was the pre-internet 1980's obviously and I had to rely on Logic computer shop in Cheshunt and Rossi’s toy shop in Chingford for my video games and neither of these cool places stocked it. That was the extent of my purchasing power back in those days and I was at the mercy of those two shops. This meant that I was forced into trying out every variant of football video game that I could lay my hands on for the Atari.

Looking back now, this was probably a good thing as it meant that I didn’t just pop Football Manager 2 into my tape deck every time. Instead, I was sampling the best and the worst that the Atari could throw at me in terms of football games. It led me to experiment with all different football franchises across many different systems that my friends owned.

I remember me and my friend Paul buying a box of around 100 or so Spectrum games and a Spectrum +2 from a car boot sale and then proceeding to play our way through every single game in that box. The majority of those games were football related and it was as though we had discovered gold! We hardly left his room that Summer holiday as we plugged away at every game that box had to offer.

Another example of a marathon binge on football games was a purchase of an Amiga 500 plus a disk box full of cop1ed games. Again, the vast majority were football related and we worked our way through classics such as Sensible World Of Soccer, The Manager, Championship Manager, Microprose Soccer, Kick Off 1 & 2, Football Tactician and Dino Dini’s GOAL!

Later on, in my gamer life, I got hooked on Pro Evolution Soccer for the PS2 and I clearly remember that I played nothing else apart from PES 4 solidly for 2 years. It was literally the only video game that I needed to own. This again meant I was missing out on lots of other great experiences that I was totally oblivious to but at the time I thought nothing of just playing PES.

Eventually, I fell out of love with PES and called it a day at PES 6 as it was no longer fun. It was at this point I took a break from video games totally and I sold my PS2 as I felt I’d grown out of video games. Looking back now I realise that it wasn’t video games that I was bored of, it was constantly playing football video games that were the problem.

Since ‘downing tools’ at PES 6 I’ve rarely ventured back to football video games. My next console after the PS2 came in the form of the Nintendo Wii. Luckily this didn’t really have any great football games on it so instead I began to play games that brought a smile to my face again rather than blinkered continuing on the quest to find the ultimate football video game. Since then I dabbled in FIFA on the PS3 but quickly became bored as the simulation was too real and not fun.

Now I don’t touch football games at all unless they are fun throwbacks to the retro football games. I like the look of Sociable Soccer as it’s trying to harness all the goodwill and memories we all have from Sensible Soccer and Jon Hare is making it so hopefully, they will succeed in making something we can all enjoy.

So, after all those years of throwing endless hours into football games, what is my verdict on the best football video games ever?

Well, you have to have two categories.

Category A – Football Video Game

Category B – Football Manager Simulation

Each category can accommodate 3 games (Gold, Silver & Bronze)

The Winners are:

Category A – Football Video Game

GOLD: Pro Evolution Soccer 4
SILVER: Sensible World Of Soccer
BRONZE: International Superstar Soccer DELUXE

Category B – Football Manager Simulation

GOLD: Championship Manager 94/95
SILVER: Football Manager 2

All those hours of gameplay have boiled down to these 6 football related video games.

For my next task, I sat down and thought of every football video game that I could remember playing. It was a tough task and I think I managed to pick out every game that I had played up until the end of the PS2 era.

Here’s my list of games and my own personal ratings for them all:

Game TitleFormatYearRating
1-0 Soccer ManagerAMIGA19924/5
1st Division ManagerAMIGA19914/5
Actua SoccerAMIGA19953/5
Amiga SoccerAMIGA19882/5
Brian Clough’s Football FortunesAMIGA19871/5
Championship Manager 92 / 93AMIGA19935/5
Emlyn Hughes Int SoccerAMIGA19883/5
Eurpoean Super LeagueAMIGA19903/5
FA Cup FootballAMIGA19862/5
FIFA International SoccerAMIGA19934/5
Football ManagerAMIGA19824/5
Football Manager 2AMIGA19885/5
Football Manager 3AMIGA19932/5
Football Manager World Cup EditionAMIGA19903/5
Football ChampAMIGA19904/5
Football DirectorAMIGA19863/5
Football GloryAMIGA19943.5/5
Football TacticianAMIGA19924/5
Footballer Of The YearAMIGA19864/5
Footballer Of The Year 2AMIGA19895/5
Gary Linekers HotshotAMIGA19883/5
Graham Souness Soccer ManagerArcade19922/5
Great Soccer (SMS)Arcade19872/5
Hatrick Hero 2Arcade19923/5
International Match DayArcade19851/5
International SuperstarSoccer DeluxeArcade19955/5
World Cup ITALIA 90ATARI 800 XE/XL19902/5
John Barnes European FootballATARI 800 XE/XL19922/5
Kenny Dalglish Soccer MgrATARI 800 XE/XL19893/5
Kick OffC6419893/5
Kick Off 2C6419904/5
Kick Off 3: European ChallengeC6419943/5
Konami Hyper SoccerC6419922/5
Libero GrandeCommodore 6419973/5
LMA ManagerCommodore 6419994/5
Manchester United EuropeDOS19913/5
Match DayMega Drive19842/5
Mega Man SoccerNES19943/5
Microprose SoccerNES19884/5
Peter Shilton’s Handball MaradonaPS119862/5
Premier Manager 2PS119934/5
Sensible SoccerPS119925/5
Sensible World Of SoccerSEGA Master System19945/5
Sierra SoccerSEGA Master System19943/5
Soccer (NES)SEGA Master System19852/5
Soccer KidSuper Nintendo19934/5
Soccer SupremoSuper Nintendo19872/5
StrikerSuper Nintendo19923/5
Super SidekicksSuper Nintendo19924/5
Super Soccer (SNES)Super Nintendo19913/5
Tehkan World CupTECMO19853/5
The BossUS GOLD19842/5
The DoubleZX Spectrum19863/5
The ManagerZX Spectrum19914/5
Ultimate Soccer Manager 98ZX Spectrum19984/5
Virtua StrikerZX Spectrum19943/5
World Cup 90ZX Spectrum19894/5
World Cup USA 94ZX Spectrum19933/5
World SoccerZX Spectrum19904/5
World Soccer (SMS)ZX Spectrum19873/5
Fantastic SoccerZX Spectrum19892/5

Hopefully, this list has awoken some nostalgic feelings about some of these awesome football video games and Manager Sims that I have played over the years.

Let Me Know What YOUR Favourite Football Video Game and Manager Sim Of All Time Is In The Comments Box Below…

"Stay Frosty"

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