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Getting a Kick Out of Football Games in 2022

There have been football video games since the first-ever gaming platforms were introduced, with the genre spawning countless classic titles.

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Football is the most popular sport in the world, and with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar fast approaching, the game is even more in the spotlight than usual. Heavily partisan fans, casual spectators, and bettors alike will be looking forward to the action and making their predictions for the outcome. Gamers will be also getting a kick out of upcoming events – expect to see a lot more online multiplayer action on titles such as FIFA as the World Cup nears.

There have been football video games since the first-ever gaming platforms were introduced, with the genre spawning countless classic titles. If you need any further proof that football games are popular (and diverse), you just need to take a look here, where even in an online casino, you’ll find football-themed slots like “Football: Champions Cup” and “Instant Football” to play.

FIFA

Let’s start with the obvious. FIFA is the most popular – and one of the best – football game series in gaming history. Since it appeared in 1993 FIFA has been a cut above the rest in terms of graphics and realism, and while it’s easy to look back at its first incarnation and chuckle at its vaguely clunky gameplay, at the time it was revolutionary. At the time most football games were either painfully slow or ‘top down’, i.e. bird’s eye view, and the isometric viewpoint and player animation were next level.

Since then, FIFA has been getting more and more advanced with every release, and today’s incarnation is the most immersive and realistic football gaming experience available to players. And having made the transition to mobile platforms, it has drawn in a whole new fanbase.

Sensible Soccer

For me, this is the best football game of all time. Simple and perfectly executed, “Sensi” is beloved by all football fans since its release in 1992. The gameplay is super fast, passing is a joy, and although there are sure-fire ways to score (curling the ball or slotting home diagonally), it’s one of those games that’s simple to learn but difficult to master. Sensible World of Soccer featured an incredible range of teams from around the world, mostly with real players, as well as crowd animations.

Championship Manager / Football Manager

One of the all-time favourites, Champ Manager arrived in 1992 and took the world by storm. A comprehensive management simulator, players control every aspect of their club. For many aficionados, the pinnacle of Champ Manager came in the 01/02 incarnation – when many of today’s Premier League stars were in nappies.

It has since morphed into Football Manager, which has drawn in a whole new generation of gamers. It’s so realistic that it has been recognized by real-life football clubs as a source for scouting players. In 2008, Everton FC signed a deal with Sports Interactive (the developer) allowing them to use the game’s database to scout players and opposition.

International Superstar Soccer Deluxe (ISSD)

Japanese giant Konami decided to throw its hat in the ring with a football game of its own. ISSD burst onto the scene in the mid-90s, combining fast gameplay with garish but upscale graphics, and fairly clunky commentary (again, funny now, but pretty cutting edge by the standards of the day).

ISSD is commonly perceived as a direct predecessor to Pro Evolution Soccer, but actually, this isn’t the case. But the gameplay showed that there were some new developments with the ability of players to curl the ball, and better AI than many other titles on the market (FIFA included, at this point at least).

Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 

There are two types of people in this world – those who love FIFA and those who swear by PES. Again by Konami, PES was developed for the PlayStation, its first incarnation appearing in 1995. It is a longstanding rival to FIFA but has always played second fiddle in terms of sales. However, when comparing the two today, it could be said that the gameplay is superior to its competitor, and the graphics and AI are just as good.

Starting in 2020 it was rebranded as eFootball PES, and in 2022 the PES was dropped altogether. However, eFootball was met with overwhelmingly negative reception from critics and players alike after over 50 GB of data was used for only a very few select features with only 9 available teams to play with.

Behold the Kickmen

Sometimes you need a dose of silliness with your sport. Behold the Kickmen supplies that in droves, with crazy action where anything goes, with scant regard for the rules of the beautiful game. The game began as a Twitter joke on the feed of the game’s developer, Dan Marshall, saying that he wanted to create a soccer game without knowing anything about the sport. The results are chaotic, fun, and often hilarious.

So there are some great games to get you revved up for Qatar 2022. Football games come in all shapes and sizes, but there is no denying that the genre is one of the most popular and steadfast in all of gaming.

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