The football titles that shaped my love for video games
The football titles that helped shape my love for gaming
Football has always played a huge role in my life. Growing up, most of the things I did revolved around football. I was either playing football, watching football, thinking about football, or getting in trouble for breakings with… You guessed it, My football. As a result, it is no surprise that the games that I have enjoyed playing the most over the course of my life have always been football related.
ISS Pro Evolution
I never actually owned the original Playstation (one), but my Uncle had one. He had games like Tekken and the original Tomb raider, but when he heard I was coming to visit, he decided to rent ISS Pro Evolution for me. This was my very first taste of football on a gaming console, and I must say, my mind was blown! This game came out when I was 6, so it is likely that I was extremely bad at it, but I enjoyed it. If anything, the game helped me learn many team/player names, so I guess you can say it was my first lesson on the world that is football.
This year, the game I have invested the most time into is FIFA 20. I spent most of the year playing Ultimate Team, and also found time to rally my Pro Clubs team all the way to the Division 1 title. With that being said, everyone has their own unique path that led them to buy the games they play today. In this article, I’d like to go back in time and take a look at my football gaming journey, and the evolution of football games in general.
The next generation of consoles brought us the Playstation 2. This was the first console I ever owned, and at the time there was only one game I was interested in, and that was FIFA 03. I will never forget this game. I used to watch the intro video without skipping every time I played it! Without the online element, I believe the only modes available were kick off and career mode, yet it kept us engaged for months. Good times!
Pro Evo 3 (2003) & Pro Evo 6 (2006)
FIFA was my game of choice every year, until one summers afternoon. The sun was shining, and I had just received my allowance for doing my chores. I went into a game shop in the pursuit of the newest FIFA game, but instead saw a game that would change my life forever. I just remember the image of a bald referee blowing his whistle with such intensity. A man I would later find out was the iconic Pierluigi Collina.
My love for Pro Evolution Soccer was born! This game was revolutionary to me, as it had so many innovative features that I had never seen on any of my previous FIFA games. From creating your own custom football kit, to designing football boots, it was a game that let my creativity thrive. This game even allowed you to make a dream team of your favourite players and be the manager. It was amazing! At this point, I was #TeamPES. Year after year I was now buying PES, which meant I got to experience the legendary Inter Milan of PES 6, with Adriano leading the line. If you know, you KNOW!
FIFA Street (2005)
For me, FIFA was irrelevant at the point, until of course, FIFA Street. This game was a serious game changer! The streets will never, ever, forget. I grew up playing football on the streets, and anything could be used a goal. The focus was on who could perform the best skill moves and finish in style! For my generation, it was insane that FIFA were able to capture this in a game setting. Honestly, its probably the most fun I’ve had playing a football game, EVER. And anyone else who played the game around that time would probably agree with me.
With that being said, I will never forgive the FIFA franchise for letting this go. We should have had a yearly version of the game, or at the very least, had it incorporated into EA’s FIFA game series. Maybe that is what EA are doing with Volta, but for many of us, it’s too little too late.
Football Manager 2006-2008
PC Gaming has never really been for me, but one game that had me on my laptop for an endless amount of hours was Football Manager. My friends constantly suggested I played it, but the idea of watching a simulation and not actually controlling my players was off putting for me. However, just before the 2007 version of the game was about to be realised, the 2006 version was on sale, so I thought why not? Nothing to lose. Honestly, I once I started playing, I don’t think I touched any of my game consoles for at least 6 months. My pattern was simple. Go to school, play football after school & come home to play football manager.
Earlier, I mention football games helping to educate and expand my footballing knowledge. Football Manager took it to another level. It was in a league of its own. It gave me a real insight into what it would be like to manage a football club. I negotiated transfer fees and contracts, rotated my squad, planned tactics and formations, studied oppositions strengths and weaknesses, and even discovered wonderkids! Listen, I’m not usually one to brag, but I found, nurtured and developed Sergio Kun Aguero waaay before he was terrorising the Premier League. Just saying!
PES dominated my time on PS2, but once I got my Playstation 3, I decided to give FIFA another try. I loved PES, but with unlicensed teams, weirdly named competitions, lack of real player names, and a weak online presence, it was time to move on. The decision was made easier, as FIFA 08 had starboy Wayne Rooney (my favourite player at the time) and probably my favourite player ever, Barcelona’s Ronaldinho AKA the G.O.A.T on the front cover. It was a no brainer for me. And I must say, they had really stepped up their efforts since the last time I owned a FIFA game. On top of that, all their teams were licensed, with the correct kits and player names, so it really added to the realistic feel.
FIFA 08 was the start, and I have not turned back since. I have owned every FIFA after, all the way to FIFA 20 on my current PS4 console. And I must say, it’s been a beautiful journey. The change in graphics has been immense, and the thought put into new game modes such as Ultimate Team and Pro Clubs is what has helped to put FIFA on a pedestal that no other football game can match right now. I think it is fair to say FIFA comfortably sits on the football gaming throne right now.