World Football: Ranking the Top 15 Football Video Games of All Time
Remember that first time you entered the world of virtual football?
I do. FIFA '97 provided me with that joyous moment.
Having played football in the real world for all my life until that point, I was finally able to play with some of my favorite teams and players in what was, at the time, a very realistic endeavour.
Since then the FIFA series has been a mainstay in my video game collection and, though I have played a variety of game both football and non-football related, FIFA is always top dog.
While there may be some personal preferences in this list, I tried my very best to be objective.
There is not a lot of criteria involved with these rankings. Popularity and content is basically about all that matters. In some games, game-play is important as well.
I can't say that I have played all these games beforehand but at the end of the day my order of this list boiled down to which order I would be willing to play these games if they were all set down before me.
As always it is not possible to cover every single game so there will be the few that are missed for whatever reason. Feel free to add those in your comments.
Click through to find out the top football video games of all time!
15. Virtua Striker
An arcade makes the list, and with good reason. The video isn't the greatest, but the game itself sure was fun.
The first in a long line of Sega's Virtua Striker series saw international teams like Brazil and Italy go head-to-head.
Anyone who plays this will remember the basic three buttons and joystick that could have you manning that arcade booth for hours against all comers. Good times.
14. Sega Soccer Slam
This one's in the miss column for me, but I am sure many others got to play it.
This game was pretty well reviewed on most sites for both the Game Cube and Xbox versions.
Another game that made football fun for those who didn't necessarily like or play it. Over-the-top moves and special abilities usually make any game fun, but it seems to be even more special when football is in the mix.
13. Nintendo World Cup
Talk about nostalgia. The Nintendo Entertainment system is still around, so it goes without saying that this game should still be around too.
Along with the other arcade-type games in this list, there is not much in graphics or content to be amazed with, but the game-play is all that matters.
Wide-eyed defenders, a little cartoon violence, and some outrageous goals make this game a great time for those involved.
12. FIFA Street 2
This game may not have been as well reviewed as its more traditional counterparts but it did well for what it was meant for.
If you follow other sports such as basketball in the video game realm, then you are well aware of the similarly tricked out games.
While some traditional FIFA players are very capable of pulling out all the tricks in a real game, FIFA Street 2 and its counterparts allowed you to do just that and more. It looks like there is more to come in 2012.
11. Kick Off 2
This is another old school game that has quite a following. Up until a few years ago, there were tournaments arranged worldwide.
As you can see from the game-play, it wasn't too hard to score in this game.
But back in 1994, who was really concerned with all the nuances that are involved in the games we play today?
10. Super Mario Strikers
This is one of those that I missed when it first came out in 2005, but if I ever had a chance to play it I would.
Scoring a respectable 7.2 on Gamespot.com isn't too bad either, and the Mario factor surely makes this an interesting game.
Some fans might like the next in the series, Super Mario Strikers Charged, a bit more, but being the first in the series has its perks.
9. Sensible World of Soccer
Part of the Sensible Soccer series produced by Amiga, this version of the game was well-received.
Simple controls and a huge player database, the first of its kind, probably made this game somewhat of a forefather to games today.
It was even revived on Xbox 360 in 2007, showing just how much of an impact this game had in the virtual football world.
8. Pro Evolution Soccer
Back in 2001, before the tables were turned, Konami introduced Pro Evolution Soccer, the first of that series, and, in a sense, the start of the rivalry with EA Sports' FIFA series.
The controls alone set it apart from its counterparts, and there was a plethora of club and international teams available for play.
7. World Soccer Winning Eleven 9
The fact is that many Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution fans themselves cannot decide which of their games is best.
Nonetheless, this is another of the series that was highly reviewed, which put it above FIFA at that time.
Coming off the back of Winning Eleven 8, there were even more changes made to the game-play, making it an extremely good game.
6. 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
EA Sports was able to build upon FIFA '10 with a solid mid-season introduction.
Improved game-play and options such as the Captain your Country mode made this the best FIFA World Cup edition by far.
The on-line Word Cup tournament was a hit, and probably allowed for numerous embarrassing moments for players using five star teams, and getting beaten by those with three star teams.
5. World Soccer Winning Eleven 8 International
Winning Eleven, Pro Evolution Soccer, PES whatever you want to call it, these fans must be wondering where their games rank amongst all the FIFA entries.
The truth is that most of the Konami products now are not up to par with FIFA for the most part, but this iteration is one of two on this list.
Game-play, AI and so forth made this game the cream of the crop in 2005, though the usual unlicensed teams was quite annoying.
4. Football Manager 2011
With the Football Manager 2012 release coming around the bend, Sports Interactive, partnering with Sega, produced its most complete game yet.
Contract negotiations were as close to the real deal as possible, the tactics were much more in depth and the new addition of set piece creation challenged your managerial mind even more.
Overall this game and series can be quite addicting, and one would be better off having two computers if they wanted to get any work done. One for FM and the other for your second FM career. Now that's a lot of work.
3. FIFA 11
After years of continually improving upon its FIFA series, EA Sports hit the mark with this entry.
FIFA '11 was a widely well reviewed game, and highlighted the top dog status of EA sports in the virtual football world.
Excellent game-play and content both off and on-line, and the ability to personalize teams and players to a great extent, makes this one of the best games ever.
2. Championship Manager 03/04
For those of you who don't know the history, this was the last game under the Championship Manager name produced by the original creators, Sports Interactive.
If you plan to get back into virtual football management I suggest Football Manager, as that is the current name of the Sports Interactive teams product.
As a management game CM 4 provided players with numerous options in terms of leagues and new features, such as the 2D Match engine to follow one's team's games.
1. FIFA '12
This may be controversial for a game so early in its days, but FIFA 12 may go down as a hallmark game in this series and the virtual football world.
Having only played the demo so far (circumstances prevent the purchase of the final product), I can see this is one game that I would want to play above all the others.
Already highly reviewed by the likes of Gamespot.com, EA Sports has seemingly done it again.
New features in game-play and career mode as well as the now ever-present on-line modes make this game one to play all season long, and beyond.