Taking a Look at the History of Football Video Games

Football Video Games are one of the most popular and competitive games for console players and football lovers. These games have come a long way from what they used to be and sharing bitter rivalries between FIFA and PES Soccer.

Interestingly, football video games have existed long before FIFA or PES came into being, they are at least 17 years older than both of the popular titles available now.

What was the First Football Video Game ever ?

The first football video game ever to exist was “Kick-Off” which came with an antique console “Binatone TV Master MK IV”, this was back in the early 1970s. Playing football on the Binatone was no easy feat, it required the player to hold two paddles, one for goalkeeper and the other for an outfield player with small goals on each side of the screen.

Binatone TV Master MK IV, the First Football Video Game
Binatone Football

The console used a microchip which was the same one Magnavox used for its console “Odyssey” back in 1972. This created a bit of controversy between the two as which game company was truly responsible for bringing out Football to living room games.

Then in 1979, Mattel’s Intellivision soccer blew up the market with its colored feature football game and player models which resembled the true game itself. Intellivision soccer opened the doors for more elaborate and detailed representation of the game and characters, which Atari and Commodore quickly picked up with the hardware advances.

Video Games of the 70's
Intellivision Soccer

In 1982, with the launch of Real Sports Soccer, the game movement became more fluid at the cost of a goalkeeper. In 1983, International Soccer brought a challenge with it, by raising the difficulty levels by 9, the game tested the players skill and tempted them to improve their skills. However, in 1985, the soccer genre witnessed a revolution with the release of Tehkan World Cup which brought a “trackball” control system that allowed easy tracking and more view of the pitch.

Video Games off the 80's
Kick-off Soccer

It was in 1989, with the arrival of Atari ST’s “Kick-off” that played an important role in shaping today’s soccer game and also bringing along rivalries in the genre.



In then 1990s, Kick-off 2 was released and went straight to the top charts. The sequel had a minor changes, referees having different personalities and the ability to replay a goal. However, the lack of progression hurt Kick-off 2’s popularity.

Video Games of the 90's
Kick-off 2

Then in 1992 with the release of Sensible Soccer, kick-off series was instantly dwarfed. The game offered smooth gameplay, more customizable and zoomed out camera to better allow easily planned and identifying passing channels.

Sensible Soccer

It was after 1993, when “Kick-off” series designer, Dino Dini, launched “Goal!” that the true rivalry began between Sensible Soccer and kick-off by trading blows. Soon enough, both the games were overtaken by FIFA and Konami’s International Supersport Soccer which was later renamed to Pro Evolution Soccer (PES).

Fifa 96
ISS Soccer

This new rivalry became more intense than what “kick-off” and “sensible soccer” had and is one that still goes on this day.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.