THE FUSION 8-Bit World Cup
PAUL MORRISON DONS HIS PIXELATED FOOTBALL BOOTS AND A WHOLE SEASONS WORTH OF GAMES TO FIND THE BEST 8-BIT FOOTBALL GAME
Football games, eh? Has there ever been a more frustrating video game genre? The vast majority of us have booted a ball around a real pitch at some point, but not (I’d wager) to elite level. That’s where video games are supposed to come in; they allow us to live out our fantasies on the screen. Except... football games usually don’t. Our real-life skills are better than the digital versions in most cases due to lumbering graphics, dodgy AI or unintuitive controls.
Still, there were some exceptions; the promise of footballing wizardry at our fingertips saw us lap up new footy games almost regardless of their quality (or lack thereof). Console football was hard to come by in the early days, but once home computers took off, there was an absolute glut of 8-bit kickabouts. But which of them was best? There's only one way to find out... a knockout tournament!
There are far too many to include here... if I wanted to do them all justice, I'd have to write a book (hey, there's an idea!). Just like for every Brazil or Italy, there's a Honduras or El Salvador, there have been some genuinely terrible football games released. I know this because I've played them all for this article, so I could narrow it down to a Round of 16. Boy, do I feel sorry for you if you were an Amstrad or BBC-owning football fan.
Oh, and by the way, I've only included games where you actually play football. Sorry, Kevin Toms fans! Also, I've excluded anything ported down, so you won't see FIFA or Sensible Soccer here. Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, we can get down to the business end.
Let's find out, once and for all, which is the best 8-bit football game. Without further ado, we're heading into the quarter-finals.