Cursos de diseño y programación de videojuegos

History of Soccer games

History of Soccer games
07 Dec 2015

As for most videogames and the videogame world itself, soccer games have changed a lot since the beginnings. From the first soccer game ever made for a almost-unknown german console, the Interton, back in 1978, to the last  FIFA 16 o PES 16, there have been several soccer game, which have been sailing across 8 console generations.

Soccer games’ early years (1978-1990)

Let’s begin our journey across the soccer games’ history with this one game with an alone mention. Belonged to a consola that hadn’t much commercial success, Fussball (1978) was a game characterised by its difficulty. By controlling each played on the screen, you had to know everything that happened on the pitch.

Atari Soccer (1980) put the bases of future soccer games. Here, the player only controlled 3 players, as the control became easier. Little after that, Atari began to sell Pelé’s Soccer (1981) for his Atari 2600, almost a clone of Atari Soccer but now with colour and other screen orientation.

Pele's Football juego de fútbol

Pelé’s Soccer

Forth in 1983, International Soccer, for Commodore 64 really improved the characteristics of soccer game by introducing a more advanced player image. Back to the previous games, each game was only a big stain on the screen, but from this game in advance, you could tell clearly what were every player on the screen doing.

A few years later, Nintendo created Soccer (1985) for NES. This soccer game involved a milestone in soccer videogame history by being able of something as easy as passing the ball. This possibility made the games to be much more tactic (within its limitations) and allowed soccer games to be more than a bunch of played sticking kicks to a ball.

This advance in football games was improved with Kick Off (1989) for Amiga. The importance of this game consisted about the separation of the ball and the player, and, the most important thing, the creation of an aerial view, which, through a radar, the player was able to control the situation at every side of the ball.

Evolution from 8-bit systems and innovation (1990-1995)

Back in 1990, Nintendo created for NES one of their most known games for this console, and one of the better soccer games in history.  Nintendo World Cup is one of the most innovative games and with a perfect use of humour ever made. Without fouls, “supershots” and the possibility of injury rivals, this game was the origin of a special kind of soccer games that had almost nothing to have with this, and more with fighting games, like Red Card Soccer (2002) or Mario Strikers Charged Football (2007).

Starring a 6v6 game, we only could control a player, leaving the other to the CPU, and we were able to fight the CPU itself. Even today, 25 years later, Nintendo World Cup is a game that’s not getting older

NES World Cup juego de futbol

Nintendo World Cup

Electronic Arts joined to the soccer games vogue with FIFA International Soccer (1993). This game was the first to use an isometric view, and gave the sector important graphic improvements. This game was also the first in the FIFA saga, and also the first to have real game licenses as for the FIFA license itself.

Now we’ll be moving to 1994 to present other game that started one of the most known soccer game saga that are still on foot. International Superstar Soccer, dropped out first on SNES. The game apported a new camera style, Direct Tv-style, just like nowadays, including also a voice where every play was narrated.

The first step towards 3D was made by Actua Soccer (Playstation, 1995). Although it was a game that wasn’t specially interesant, it supposed the first step towards a new game mechanics, new strategies and new ways to watch soccer games. This cualitative jump also stuck other games, and that is what makes this game really interesant.

Improving towards tecnic perfection. (1996-Actuality)

From that time, dominancy shown by Playstation in gaming world caused that soccer games put their interests in imitate realism from that time on.

Starting 1996, Konami dedicated to improve his soccer seal in this console, reaching the essence of soccer games of that time with ISS Pro Evolution 2 (2001) No matter how much you’ve played soccer games, this one, or its predecessor, ISS Pro Evolution (1999), must be well-known game. The posibility the games gave to play up to 8 player (that wasn’t normal, I admit it) was something to keep in mind, but some of us, who have played to these games, we sure rememer other things.

Ivanov, Miranda, Castolo, Espimas o Ximelez. For everone who played this game, this is a call for nostalgia. This game also introduced the chance to create your own league, the Master League, where you could sign anyone you wanted to. As it didn’t have the official licenses, they allowed themselves another kind of licenses; you could play with Roberto Larcos, Bekham, o Butatista instead of Roberto Carlos, Beckham, o Batistuta.

ISS Pro Evolution juego de futbol

ISS Pro Evolution

With Playstation 2 now ruling the market, only two games survived along the years, and no other soccer simulator came to the market. There were other soccer games, like Esto es Fútbol (1999-2005) o Libero Grande (1998), but only two soccer game sagas could make it: FIFA, Electronic Arts, y PES (Pro Evolution Soccer), Konami’s ISS continuation.

After this and until now, these two soccer sagas have fulled the market with a annual game, containing tecnical improvements and drawing out the soccer purity with each new game. Nevertheless there were other games that weren’t as much as simulators, but they were football games as well.

Starting with FIFA’s spin-off, FIFA Street (2004) introduced the street football in consoles, as for Football Manager (2004) introduced trainers world and squad development into gaming.

We have to highlight two computer soccer games that have been well received by the online gamer community. Football Fantasy series, Futmondo, or Comunio are games that instead of bringing you the joy of simulate a soccer game, they take their joy out of real matches, bringing the real football competition to gaming, and where you get points for the real performance of your players, and Head Soccer, a flash game really interesting that has become so popular that even La Liga has developed an App to play with the soccer team you like most, in your iOS or Android.

Fifa 16 juego de fútbol


Although nowadays we only care about every-year-edition of PES and FIFA, it’s good to take a look back to these soccer games that brought so many years of happiness. Besides, we should have to understand this history in order to really understand why these two games are right now there.

Do you know any soccer game that has not mentioned and you think it must? Tell us in the commentaries.


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