Before the gaming giants and rivalry of FIFA and PES there was a little old game that surpassed all expectations and for a while challenged these two juggernauts for gaming supremacy. This was it…
I think football geeks of the 90’s must have owned every single game there was and I was no exception. Actua Soccer for the playstation brought a new level of realism to gaming. This was the first fully fledged 3D game to grace a console.
There was 3 games in the Actua Soccer series, focusing on the first edition the game consisted of only International teams. Around 40 or so and with real life players and large squads to pick your starting line up with. This game was strangely more addictive than most games of its era and was a bestseller even outselling FIFA at the time. With the slogan “there’s nothing virtual about Actua” the game was fast paced, compelling and very difficult to put the pad down. Long balls were a treat and often found your man, the camera angle tended to follow the player in possession of the ball, camera angles you probably wouldn’t see today. The stadium definitely had the feel of an international venue and the crowd was really involved which constantly kept you on the edge of your seat.
I always remember the sponsor boards, they were all sponsored by chocolate bars, time outs, boosts and twirls etc..not sure why but added to the realism. Strips were very realistic, if you can remember USA’s World Cup strip from the World Cup of 94, well this absolutely nailed it. Barry Davies.. remember him? What a guy, what a commentator, his commentating had an ebb and a flow that John Motson and Peter Drury couldn’t compete with.
Obviously Actua Soccer couldn’t compete with EA with licensing but they did acquire Alan Shearer to front the game and for a couple of years certainly kept FIFA on their toes until FIFA 98 crushed the market and Actua Soccer faded into distant memory.