The Beautiful (Console) Game
We’ve all been there – it’s the 89th minute and you’re one goal down despite piling on the pressure. The stadium is at capacity as tens of thousands of fans express their horror or joy, depending on what colour of shirt they are wearing. A prestigious trophy overlooks the park near the halfway line, ready to be engraved with your opponent’s name – but not if you can grasp this last opportunity. You take a deep breath and charge into the box as a corner kick is swung in. Things begin to move at a slower speed as the ball approaches your head – then suddenly you find yourself staring at nothingness. Darkness. The dog has stumbled over the television power cable and pulled it from the wall. You let out a sigh and reason that it’s time for bed anyway. Like all things tech, football games have improved immensely over the past 10 years, and arrived at a point where console games could be mistaken for televised live games at first glance. Some of the bigger gaming sites on the net, like Browsergamez even allow users to play top quality football games on the sly when the boss is in a meeting. In the spirit of nostalgia, let’s take a look back at some of our favourite footy games from over the years.
Match Day – 1984
Way back when Dino Zoff was the captain of the Italian World Cup winning side and Margaret Thatcher was the British Prime Minister, football fans/gamers were bashing their thumbs on a ZX Spectrum playing ‘Match Day’. The pixelated figures weren’t far off a remake of Pacman, but for its time this game was really impressive, and set a benchmark for the genre.
FIFA – 1993 to Present
A true stalwart of console sports games, the FIFA brand has provided some of the finest football titles ever produced, and continues to do so well into the next-gen era. The franchise is one of the biggest the gaming world has ever seen, creating such a buzz that journalists, commentators and gamers alike are surrounded by a fever of anticipation prior to every new instalment released.
FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 – 1997
Speaking of the FIFA franchise, this particular PlayStation masterpiece from EA stole the hearts of aspiring teens throughout the British Isles, convinced that they could bend it like Beckham not just in the virtual world. One of the first games to make a real step up in terms of graphics, ‘FIFA: Road to World Cup 98’ was a key reason for the huge popularity now enjoyed by the series, and for good reason. Who can possibly forget the indoor pitches and being able to hack the keeper?
Football Manager – 2005 to Present
It’s impossible to discuss classic football games without speaking about the PC game ‘Football Manager’. The game requires gamers to control the players not physically, but mentally. Users select the team, choose tactics, buy and sell players and attend post-match press conferences. Simply put, the franchise is one of the most addictive set of football games ever made. Just one more match, I promise!