Soccer video games are a big part of a lot of people’s lives nowadays and they definitely have been a big part of mine. I have been playing football video games since I was eight years old, so I thought I’d share with you my top 10 favorites of all time. Bear in mind these are purely the top 10 out of the ones I have played.
10. Mario Strikers Charged – Wii, 2007
This game was the sequel to Super Mario Strikers which was on the Nintendo Gamecube, everyone loved the classic Mario games and most people enjoy football so put them together and you get a fantastically fun game like this. This was by no means a true football simulation but was fun to play with your friends or online, offering a wide range of customisation options for your teams whilst fully revamping the graphics from the original. There were also added new arenas, side-kicks and challenges to keep you entertained for hours.
9. International Superstar Soccer Pro 98 (ISS Pro 98) – PS1, 1998
One of the first football games that I owned and when I played it on the PS1, I could not come off it. The ability to play in a single match, exhibition mode or in a full season against the computer or your friends was thrilling at the time. The only reason why it is below FIFA 99 in my list is because the names of the players weren’t authentic and you had to spend an hour editing them if you wanted them to be correct. Definitely one of my favorites of all time. The gameplay was phenomenal for a PS1 game.
8. This Is Football 2003 (UK) or World Tour Soccer 2003 (North America) – PS2, 2003
This is an extremely random entry as this really brought the fun and laughter to football games whilst still having quite solid football gameplay. Although it had Kieron Dyer on the front cover, I always remember this game for its craziness and humour. For instance, there was an option to make the game incorporate farm or clown sounds which made me laugh in my early teens. The craziness and quickness of the gameplay was another thing which made this game stand out. Although it was never going to be a ‘FIFA’ or a ‘Pro Evo’, This is Football was an extremely entertaining alternative.
7. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (UK) or World Soccer: Winning Eleven 9 (North America) – PS2, 2005
I was a massive fan of the ‘Pro Evo’ series on PS2 and it really rivaled FIFA for me at the time due to its fantastic and ultra-realistic gameplay. It’s a shame the recent Pro Evolution Soccer’s haven’t been up to the same standard. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 was the last one of the series that I really enjoyed. This particular game included 3 licensed leagues which was a first for ‘Pro Evo’ and it introduced online play into the game for the very first time. I spent hours on end playing the Master League on this game, a worthy entrant into my top 10.
6. FIFA 08 – PS3, 2007
The FIFA series has always been my favorite series, whether I have owned a PS1, PS2, PS3 or Xbox 360. But when I first bought my PS3 in 2008, this game blew me away. FIFA 07 had been realized on the Xbox a year earlier but I didn’t own one so I can’t really comment on that game. All I know is the first ‘next generation’ FIFA game I bought was FIFA 08 and I could not stop playing it. The game included ‘Be a Pro’ mode for the first time and 30 licensed leagues. The superior graphics to its predecessor really astounded me and the series only grew from this point onwards.
5. FIFA Street – PS2, 2005
Although the FIFA street series isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and after the first version of the spin-off wasn’t mine either, I believe this game was very entertaining. It combined arcade action with a blend of freestyle football and it really worked unlike its sequels which I thought went a bit over the top. This game wasn’t too unrealistic; in fact it was extremely enjoyable. You started off with limited skill moves and gradually through gaining reputation you could eventually take on the world’s best. It was a great idea by EA at the time and one that worked in this particular version.
4. Championship Manager 01/02 – PC, 2001
Management games aren’t everyone’s forte but they are definitely mine, I love the detail level the games have combined with the strategic aspect of being a football manager. The managerial series’ on PC really run FIFA close for me. The classic Championship Manager 01/02 is definitely one of my favourites. This is a lot of people’s first management games and it really was a cracker. Although it doesn’t have the same detail of which the current Football Manager games have, it was well and truly a game ahead of its time. It had details of over 100,000 players and 26 leagues which was remarkable at the time, it was the pinnacle of management games which could make you waste days on end playing it.
3. FIFA 99 – PS1, 1998
The improvement this version of FIFA had from FIFA 98 was remarkable. Graphically, it improved drastically with the inclusion of basic player faces and different heights for the first time. It also allowed you to create your own tournament for the first time and although the kits weren’t licensed it was certainly a massive step up from EA. It also featured a mode called ‘European Dream League’ which was where the top 20 teams in the world could battle it out against each other. I spent hours on this and ISS Pro 98 when I first got a PS1.
2. Football Manager 2010 – PC, 2010
I have enjoyed all of the recent Football Manager games on PC but the reason this one is on is due to the fact it revolutionized the series with the improved graphics on the 3D pitch engine. There was also the ability to shout touchline instructions for the first time during a game which made the simulation of being a manager very realistic. The ability to add leagues to your database via the upgraded editor also made it a stand-out in the series. The current FM games may be a lot more realistic but this version truly modernised football management games in my opinion.
1. FIFA 13 – Xbox 360, 2012
Well, we’ve made it to the number one. What can you say about the current FIFA? It is truly the best footballing simulation the world has ever seen. Its competitor Pro Evolution Soccer has been blown out the water by the recent FIFAs due to the realism they possess. FIFA 13 captures the unpredictability and drama of real life football the best it is possible to do. There will always be moments on a video game where you think, ‘That would never happen in real life’ but this game gets as close to real life as you can get. The revamped player impact engine and first touch controls give it an even more authentic feel. If you played this game a decade ago then you would have been amazed and it therefore takes it rightful place as my favorite football game of all time.
There you have it, my top 10 favorite football video games of all time is complete. What are your favorites? Do you agree with mine? I’d like to hear, so let me know in the comments section below.