Like every year, about a month ago the traditional challenge of football video games began. In fact, the two main series of video games dedicated to this sport have been fighting the market with ever more daring innovations and ever more verisimilitude. more extreme.
We are obviously talking about FIFA – produced by Electronic Arts. With more than 20 chapters behind it (not counting the special versions on the occasion of the World and European Championships) – and of PES – developed by Konami and also born in the mid-years 90 with the name of ISS.
But what were the most important games in the industry? What has marked and changed the way football is played on consoles and PCs? We have chosen five as usual; you give us your opinions in the comments.
1. Kick Off 2
Let’s start from the beginning, that is from 1990. Some football games, at the time, had already been released on various platforms, even if it was always something very spartan.
Among the many, it is worth mentioning the Japanese Kick and Run for Nintendo (also known as Mexico 86 ). The Italian Italy ’90 Soccer by the Dardari brothers, and Microprose Soccer, which – personal note – was a companion of many of my afternoons.
In 1989 something changes with the launch of Kick-Off, a series developed by Dino Dini. at the time a 24-year-old English programmer, the son of Italian immigrants.
The new product, developed for various platforms, immediately stands out for the leap forward in realism, which becomes even more accentuated with the release, in 1990, of the second chapter, which introduces different grassy surfaces, the personalization of the shirts, and the ability to make spin shots.
The lucky series, however, ended here. A quarrel between Dini and the company led to the breakup, with Dini moving to Virgin to develop Goal! (a game that is in fact the true sequel to Kick Off 2 but which did not achieve the same commercial success) and a rewrite from scratch of Kick Off 3 which was a colossal fiasco.
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2. Sensible World of Soccer
Speaking of Kick Off 2 , a few lines ago, we also mentioned Microprose Soccer, a 1988 video game developed for Amiga, Amstrad, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and MS-DOS, a successful video game at the time but which did not give birth to a series of episodes.
This is because the development of that software was entrusted to Sensible Software. which from then on decided to continue on its own giving life to Sensible Soccer. one of the most successful sports sagas of the nineties and which still boasts a fair number of aficionados.
The first chapter came out in 1992 already presenting a good number of novelties. but it is in 1994 that the series settles down, with the release of Sensible World of Soccer.
The strong points of the game were certainly the gameplay but also the bird’s eye view, the possibility of managerial management of the team, and the career mode, which allowed you to play twenty consecutive seasons.
In 2007 the New York Times included it in the list of the ten most important video games of all time. There has also been an Italian community for a long time that has continued to keep the memory of the game alive, and obviously to play it, even if their site has recently closed its doors.
3. Championship Manager 01/02
Championship Manager 01/02 is probably an anomalous element in this list. because it is not a football game tout court , but rather a managerial game in which the player plays the role of the manager (coach and sports director, as in English clubs) of a team of football.
Therefore, you should not use the keyboard to move small players on a green field, but simply choose which ones to send on the field, train them. sell them and buy them, manage the demands of the presidents and the fans, the moods of the locker room, and the various competitions. national and international.
The series, developed in 1992 by the brothers Paul and Oliver Collyer, came in the late 90s to beat the competition and set unexpected sales records, especially in England.
The chapter released for the 2001/02 season is unanimously considered one of the best of the series. because it managed to find a balance between the number of features available and playability.
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Towards Football Manager
A few years later, in 2004, the developers of Sports Interactive broke with Eidos – which still continues with less luck to publish the Championship Manager series – and moved to SEGA, where they continue to develop their software under the name of Football Manager.
However, there is still a large community of users who regularly update the old 01/02 with the current squads and other changes.
Above, finally, a gem: a video that presents one of the strongest players in the game, To Madeira, on which there is a real case since it is probably the only one in the original database that does not exist in reality.
4. Pro Evolution Soccer 3
We arrive at the modern era of football video games, which started in the mid-90s, as we mentioned at the beginning, with FIFA on one side and ISS on the other.
Originally, the dominance of the market, at least in Italy and Europe, was definitely the prerogative of the EA Sports series, which for years had been producing its games for PC and consoles, localized them in Italian with the various sports commentators, and offered gameplay for the first-rate era.
In the 2000s, however, Konami – which dominated in Japan – decided to focus more strongly on the European market, boosting its range under the label PES – Pro Evolution Soccer and succeeding in a short time to snatch a FIFA so clear favors from critics and the public.
Pro Evolution Soccer 3 was probably the point of arrival and the summit of this run-up. It presented some official licenses for the first time, was also available for Windows for the first time, and was also talked about for the choice to put on the cover, not a player. But the referee Pierluigi Collina, who the year before had directed the World Cup final.
The series, as mentioned, continues today with good success, even if in recent years FIFA has closed the gap and probably managed to overcome the quality of the Konami product again.
5. FIFA 10
And then we come to the most recent football video game of our review, FIFA 10, released four years ago and capable of selling about 10 million copies in the first months of marketing and even 1.7 million in the first week of launch alone.
The game was in fact greatly appreciated for two important innovations. On the one hand, the improvement of the game physics, which introduced an unprecedented realism in the movements of the players and the ball but above all in the stops, passes, and shots.
On the other hand, loading times have been significantly reduced for both local and online play (although in the latter case a lot had already been done in the immediately preceding version), making the game faster.
In addition, the managerial part and the management of the development and training of the players have been enriched. In the Italian version, testimonials on the cover of the game were Chiellini and Ronaldinho while the commentary was entrusted as usual to Fabio Caressa and Beppe Bergomi.