Nowadays, players argue about which series is better: FIFA or PES. There was a time, however, when football fans had much more video games to choose from. Euro time is the perfect opportunity to recall some of them.
Dino Dini’s masterpiece was published in 1988 by Anco Software. Both critics and players praised Kick Off. Numerous awards confirmed the game’s quality. The second installment in the series hit the shelves in 1990. Two years later, Dini left Anco. This divorce turned out to be disastrous for the series. Critics panned 1994’s Kick Off 3, while its sequels have received mediocre reviews. Dini, on the other hand, didn’t have luck either. His game called Dino Dini’s Goal wasn’t as successful as his previous franchise. Dini tried to revive Kick Off in 2015. Unfortunately, Kick Off Revival received rather harsh reviews.
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The Straker series was developed from 1992 until 1999. Its first installment sold one million copies, making Rage Software one of the most prominent video game developers. Sadly, its position had faded through the years. Rage discontinued the series after UEFA Striker/Striker Pro 2000. It tried to launch another football series, but David Beckham Soccer was a failure. Ironically, while one football series helped Rage grow in popularity, the other was a reason for its bankruptcy.
A series designed by Jon Hare and Chris Yates is the 90s legend. Sensible Software released the first Sensible Soccer in 1992. It was almost addictive thanks to its intuitive controls, fun gameplay, hundreds of clubs, and thousands of players. The next installments in the series added new elements such as a career mode or management options making the series even more entertaining. Sensible Soccer’s spiritual successor is Sociable Soccer, developed by Hare’s Tower Studios. When it comes to John Hare, it’s worth mentioning that he was a designer of the famous Cannon Fodder series. Moreover, he was a co-author of its great songs, including War has never been so much fun and Narcissus.
The first Virtua Striker was released in 1994. It was one of the earliest football games to offer 3D graphics. Even though the Sega game wasn’t licensed and featured fictional players, gamers and critics praised its realism. The franchise has had four major installments. The most recent one was an updated version of Virtua Striker 4, released in 2006.
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Football games were an essential part of Gremlin Interactive’s Actua Sports series. Moreover, it reached some milestones – Actua Soccer was one the first football video games to have 3D graphics, while its spinoff was the first licensed UEFA European Football Championship game. The last installment in the series was Actua Soccer 3, released in 1999. It featured many more clubs and footballers than Konami and EA’s games; however, it wasn’t enough to beat such a competition.
Sega Worldwide Soccer
Virtua Soccer wasn’t the only Sega football franchise launched in the mid 90s. The other one was Sega Worldwide Soccer that debuted with Victory Goal. Until 2000 numerous games for Saturn and Dreamcast consoles had been released. Some of them were additionally ported to PC. Sega discontinued the franchise after the Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000 Euro Edition release.