…or Soccer videogames, for the Yanks and the GAA purists among us. Strictly-speaking, the term ‘Soccer’ comes from the description ‘Association Football’ which probably dates back to 1863 when the first Football Association was set up in Britain, but whatevs.
Since the latest iterations of FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer are upon us, the demos of both PES2014 and FIFA14 having been released now, I was plunged into a nostalgic and wistful look back at the best both franchises have mustered up ’til now. This list will be highly personal and not even attempting a bare modicum of objectivity. They’ll just be my faves, remembered in chronological order.
FIFA 95 on the Mega Drive
This one still holds a special place in my heart. The immovable isometric viewpoint, the chubby little players, the unbearable frustration any time anyone beat me (this was often, and I was an extremely bad loser)… It wasn’t the first game I ever played – that was the preceding FIFA game, FIFA International Soccer, which I played at my mate Greg Barrett’s house – but it was the first I ever owned, on my first ever console. I didn’t have too many Megadrive games; it was basically this, FIFA 96, FIFA 97, Lion King and Urban Strike. That’s it. But when ya got FIFA, what else do you need?
That FIFA was a world away from what it is now. No licences, no real player names – my heroes back then were Brian Plank & some lad called MacMillan, they were quality – no promotion/relegation, no career mode, no commentary, no nothin’… Just pure football. Even that was pretty basic – my sis, Justine, stuck rigidly to a method of hitting the Shoot button whenever & wherever she got possession, and enjoyed far too much success that such a barbarian and, dare I say it, Stoke-ish tactic deserved.
For my part, I would try to run in a straight line down the wing and then shoot from a spot about level with the corner of the penalty area – if anyone tackled me, I’d most likely get a throw-in, and if not, the keepers seemed to have a blind spot so that most shots from there went in. Once you had scored, there were no custom celebrations like today – there was just a nifty little audio thing where each button you pressed during the celebration would make a different noise. It was quaint and sort of hilarious, though it got old quite quickly.
What a fuckin’ game though.
I think my favourite thing to do in this game that you can no longer do in current versions is the B+C punch. Just so fucking funny. Check out the glorious gameplay from almost 20 years ago:
Stay tuned for #2 in the rundown of my top 5 football videogames EVER! Or don’t, whatever, I’m not gonna tell you what to do, you’re your own people…
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…⊗