Football fans are the most loyal customers in the world. From purchasing new kits to following their team’s Europa League campaign in an obscure country, fans spend a lot of money on the beautiful game. Gaming has been another area where supporters are regularly spending time and money on their beloved clubs, perhaps by managing the team on specific releases or by scoring a belter with a club legend.
Over the years, the football gaming genre has been blessed with some truly memorable releases. These days, the sophisticated offering in this space has progressed massively, with an appetite for football games being firmly established given the success of past masterpieces. In the modern-day, fans are regularly changing their Premier League fantasy football squads in the lead up to Saturday’s big kick-off, while others are combining their love of football and online slot games in football-themed slots like Microgaming’s 11 Champions. Then there are graphically advanced and highly sophisticated offerings like FIFA 21 and Football Manager 2021. These types of creations wouldn’t be so popular today if it wasn’t for a selection of iconic titles which came before. That’s exactly why our focus is on some truly classic releases of old, which helped shape the football gaming landscape of today. Below is a look at some of the best of them.
FIFA Street (2012)
Available on PS3 in 2012, FIFA Street served up a feast of five-a-side action as players battled it out with some of the world’s biggest stars in a truly epic skill-off. Frankly crazy tricks were on show in what was a truly entertaining release to tuck into, although failure was a certainty if you failed to master the nifty footwork and sharp passing which was required to batter your friends. After all, solid defensive work and a well-oiled unit doesn’t really win you a futsal game.
Rocket League (2015)
Rocket League isn’t a football title as such, but it was clearly inspired by it. Like football, but instead of players the game features cars, Rocket League’s sports/driver hybrid registered massive success when it was released. So much so, in fact, that it is now a popular esport and has a big following behind it. A chaotic football release, players aim to outscore their opponents by charging the ball into the net. Full of jammy deflections and crashing tackles, Rocket League is a blast to play.
Sensible World Of Soccer (1994)
(Image via https://twitter.com/jeffsayhi)
The ultimate top-down football game, Sensible World Of Soccer is fondly remembered by many football fans. Its banana-shaped bullet strikes and superhuman saves added to what was a chaotically beautiful release for its time. The Amiga game was arguably ahead of its time, too, featuring 24,000 players and 1,500 teams. Impressive.
Championship Manager: Season 01/02 (2001)
Football management games are extremely popular these days, and their success is surely down to former masterpieces like Championship Manager: Season 01/02. Released in 2001 on PC, Sports Interactive’s management release was massive. Players picked the team, unearthed gems like Tonton Zola Moukouko in foreign territories, and experienced the highs and lows of being a football manager. The drama-packed text commentary was a beautiful touch, too.
Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (2006)
The Pro Evolution versus FIFA debate will rumble on for years to come, but there is no doubting just how enjoyable Pro Evolution Soccer 6 was. With the ability to score from virtually anywhere with Adriano or make the most of some intelligent off-the-ball movement from Andriy Shevchenko, Pro Evo 6 paved the way for so many of the popular titles we see today. Konami absolutely nailed this one.