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
BRONZE: LMA Manager
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:
|1-0 Soccer Manager||AMIGA||1992||4/5|
|1st Division Manager||AMIGA||1991||4/5|
|Brian Clough’s Football Fortunes||AMIGA||1987||1/5|
|Championship Manager 92 / 93||AMIGA||1993||5/5|
|Emlyn Hughes Int Soccer||AMIGA||1988||3/5|
|Eurpoean Super League||AMIGA||1990||3/5|
|FA Cup Football||AMIGA||1986||2/5|
|FIFA International Soccer||AMIGA||1993||4/5|
|Football Manager 2||AMIGA||1988||5/5|
|Football Manager 3||AMIGA||1993||2/5|
|Football Manager World Cup Edition||AMIGA||1990||3/5|
|Footballer Of The Year||AMIGA||1986||4/5|
|Footballer Of The Year 2||AMIGA||1989||5/5|
|Gary Linekers Hotshot||AMIGA||1988||3/5|
|Graham Souness Soccer Manager||Arcade||1992||2/5|
|Great Soccer (SMS)||Arcade||1987||2/5|
|Hatrick Hero 2||Arcade||1992||3/5|
|International Match Day||Arcade||1985||1/5|
|International SuperstarSoccer Deluxe||Arcade||1995||5/5|
|World Cup ITALIA 90||ATARI 800 XE/XL||1990||2/5|
|John Barnes European Football||ATARI 800 XE/XL||1992||2/5|
|Kenny Dalglish Soccer Mgr||ATARI 800 XE/XL||1989||3/5|
|Kick Off 2||C64||1990||4/5|
|Kick Off 3: European Challenge||C64||1994||3/5|
|Konami Hyper Soccer||C64||1992||2/5|
|Libero Grande||Commodore 64||1997||3/5|
|LMA Manager||Commodore 64||1999||4/5|
|Manchester United Europe||DOS||1991||3/5|
|Match Day||Mega Drive||1984||2/5|
|Mega Man Soccer||NES||1994||3/5|
|Peter Shilton’s Handball Maradona||PS1||1986||2/5|
|Premier Manager 2||PS1||1993||4/5|
|Sensible World Of Soccer||SEGA Master System||1994||5/5|
|Sierra Soccer||SEGA Master System||1994||3/5|
|Soccer (NES)||SEGA Master System||1985||2/5|
|Soccer Kid||Super Nintendo||1993||4/5|
|Soccer Supremo||Super Nintendo||1987||2/5|
|Super Sidekicks||Super Nintendo||1992||4/5|
|Super Soccer (SNES)||Super Nintendo||1991||3/5|
|Tehkan World Cup||TECMO||1985||3/5|
|The Boss||US GOLD||1984||2/5|
|The Double||ZX Spectrum||1986||3/5|
|The Manager||ZX Spectrum||1991||4/5|
|Ultimate Soccer Manager 98||ZX Spectrum||1998||4/5|
|Virtua Striker||ZX Spectrum||1994||3/5|
|World Cup 90||ZX Spectrum||1989||4/5|
|World Cup USA 94||ZX Spectrum||1993||3/5|
|World Soccer||ZX Spectrum||1990||4/5|
|World Soccer (SMS)||ZX Spectrum||1987||3/5|
|Fantastic Soccer||ZX Spectrum||1989||2/5|
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…