At one time it was the ultimate accolade for a footballer – to have a video game named after them.
That was before the days when FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer established such a grip on the market that it is not very hard for any other game to succeed.
The quality of these games varied but each of them, at their time, had their devotees, and doubtless, there are still some who will feel a warm glow of nostalgia remembering them.
There may even be a few still laying them on an old PlayStation somewhere, and who used them to help them get through the dark days of lockdown last year, at a time when others were turning to the attractions of online casinos as featured in this Playstival.ie, Irish online casino guide.
Here are ten players who were immortalized in video game format.
- David Beckham Soccer cashed in on the popularity of then former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid star. And, like the player himself, there was a heavy emphasis on set pieces.
- Ronaldo V-Football was based on the original Brazilian Ronaldo, not CR7 of recent vintage) and was known for its quick and satisfying gameplay, and appealing graphics. It was also officially licensed, something quite rare at the time.
- Kevin Keegan Player Manager was one of the earliest types of the genre when it first appeared in 1993, the main menu was a representation of Keegan’s office, and is chiefly remembered because the options were limited and so were the graphics and the overall enjoyment.
- Michael Owen’s World League Soccer 99 was released on the Nintendo 64, Play Station and Dreamcast, although in the US the same game went under the name Mia Hamm Soccer as she was a more marketable asset over there then the former Liverpool and England player. Its intro has become notorious as one of the worst ever.
- Peter Shilton’s Handball Maradona, despite featuring the name of the Argentine great, had very little to do with him, featuring 16 teams from the top flight of English football at the time. It was a simple game where matches were split into two halves and layers were given several opportunities to make saves.
- O’Leary Manager 2000 is now considered a product ahead of its time, because it has players the option to decide whether they wanted to play games themselves, become more invested in management or combine the two. Features also included a transfer market and various training schedules.
- Alex Ferguson Manager 2001 The great Scottish manager also has had a game named after him, for PlayStation 2, but it failed to live up to his name, despite including the ability to manage the team, let down by the quality of its gameplay.
- Gazza’s Superstar Soccer came out in 1989 and its biggest claim to fame was the feature that enabled players to switch the camera angle depending on where they were on the pitch.
- Steven Gerrard Total Soccer 2002 appeared on the Game Boy Advance and allowed players to choose from over 170 teams to play for, or against.
- Zidane Football Generation relied on its realism as its main selling point, with highly accurate reproductions of football pitches. What let it down was that it only offered three game modes and 16 national teams from which to choose.