FIFA World Cup video games
FIFA has licensed FIFA World Cup video games since 1986, of which only a few were received positively by the critics, but given the popularity of the competition, they all did positively on the market, and the license is one of the most sought-after. Originally in the hands of U.S. Gold, Electronic Arts acquired it in 1997 and is the current holder.
World Cup Carnival (Mexico '86)
World Cup Carnival, released by U.S. Gold was arguably the worst start a franchise could have endured. While the license was acquired with time to spare and was carefully planned, internal problems plagued the project's development until it could not be completed anywhere near a commercially usable date. As Mexico '86 was coming closer, U.S. Gold decided to acquire the rights of an older game, World Cup Football by Artic, re-fit it with the properly licensed items, and market it as a revolutionary new title. However, this late effort was received with cynicism from all in the video game industry: gamers, retailers and reviewers alike, and started a trend of "less than what was expected" games based on football licenses. It was published on the C64, the ZX Spectrum and the Amstrad CPC.
World Cup Italia '90
There are three games named after the 1990 FIFA World Cup, all of which seemingly had the rights to display both official logos and Ciao, the mascot. One version was developed by U.S. Gold, and is a significant improvement over World Cup Carnival. With some similarities with Tehkan World Cup, the game had all teams present in the competition, and played through a bird's-eye view similar to Sensible Soccer. It was released for the Atari ST, ZX Spectrum Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Amiga personal computers.
The second title was developed by Sega, and has some similarities with the US Gold title, more noticeably the corner and goal kick screens. Teams are mostly based on the Mexico '86 lineups with some changes, and features player selection, with each player having individual ratings. It has a top-down view like Kick Off.
Later, it was renamed to World Championship Soccer, and continued to be sold long after the World Cup ended. There is a Master System version with the official teams and calendar of the competition, but with only eight non-selectable players each side and just vertical scroll, but still some of the elements of the 16-bit version made their way into the game.
The final, and least known title was developed by Novotrade and published by Virgin Interactive. Unlike the other two titles, World Trophy Soccer was more an arcade game than a serious attempt on simulating the sport: it only had seven players aside, the game only lasted for one half and it followed a fixed playoff tree where the player had to beat all opponents. Because of that, only four teams (Belgium, Italy, Spain and England) could be picked by the player.
World Cup USA '94
The last game in the series by U.S. Gold was also the first to leave some of the mediocrity of previous titles and achieve average reviews. Keeping the same bird's-eye view, but with more responsive gameplay, resembling Sensible Soccer, it was ported to most active platforms of the day: DOS, Amiga, Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega CD, Master System, SNES and handhelds Game Boy and Game Gear. The Sega CD version included a CD soundtrack including two songs by the Scorpions and FMV views of 3D renders of the stadiums used in the competition.
World Cup 98 (France)
For the first time in a football game, accurate national team kits were introduced complete with kit manufacturer logos and official merchandise. The game built on the previously released FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 engine, although it features some minor gameplay improvements such as in-game strategy changes and more tactically accurate player positioning. As in the FIFA series, World Cup 98 features a song in the menu: "Tubthumping", by Chumbawamba. The game also features voice-overs by Des Lynam and Gary Lineker in the team schedules. The World Cup classic mode is also an interesting feature, with classic black and white sepia-toned graphics and commentary by Kenneth Wolstenholme creating the feeling of watching an old World Cup game. The playable teams also included several nations that did not qualify for the finals, but were considered too important to exclude. It was released for Windows, PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy.
2002 FIFA World Cup (Korea/Japan)
An amalgamation between the game engines of FIFA 2002 and FIFA 2003, the game still incorporates the power bar for shots and crosses but with a steeper learning curve and higher chances of being penalized by the match referee. The national team kits are accurate along with player likeness and the stadia of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Unlike the previous games in the FIFA series, the game had an original soundtrack performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
2006 FIFA World Cup (Germany)
Released in 2005, this was the first FIFA game for a 7th Generation console. Road to FIFA World Cup is an Xbox 360 exclusive and preceded the release of 2006 FIFA World Cup game on the PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and other consoles by several months. It offers superior graphics to previous versions, though at the expense of many gameplay features. For the first time in the FIFA series, it allows the player to practise shooting against the goalkeeper while each match is loading.
Created by EA Sports and was released during the last two weeks of April 2006. This game features not only the World Cup finals themselves, but the six regional qualification rounds. There are 127 national teams. You can also create a player and put in your favorite team. There are minor improvements in the game play over FIFA 06. The Global Challenge Mode includes 40 challenges based upon classic matches of the World Cup or qualification matches. Penalty Shoot-Out mode offers a more realistic experience.
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
The included teams were confirmed by Electronic Arts on 17 February 2010. The game contains 199 of the 204 national teams that took part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification process. Electronic Arts stated that they have included every team that FIFA have permitted them to use, with some others not being allowed for "various reasons". The five teams that were in the draw for World Cup qualifying but are not included in the game are African teams Central African Republic, Eritrea, and São Tomé and Príncipe, and Asian teams Bhutan and Guam. All five withdrew from the qualifying stage before it began. Additionally, the game does not feature Brunei, Laos, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines who did not participate in World Cup qualifying.
The game includes all 10 venues used at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as stadiums from each qualifying region and a range of "generic" stadiums.
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
The game contains all of the 203 national teams that took part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification process. The national teams of Bhutan, Brunei, Guam, Mauritania and South Sudan, all of which did not participate in World Cup qualifying, are not featured in the game.
The game includes all 12 venues used at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as well as stadiums from each qualifying region and a range of "generic" stadiums.
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