The climax of the FIFA World Cup was only a handful of weeks ago and already we are thrust into a new season of club football.
The next nine months will certainly provide high drama up and down the divisions regardless of who your team is.
After their exploits in Russia, the superstars that graced the game’s biggest stage have returned to their employers and are now looking to deliver success to the clubs that pay them the riches that their talents truly deserve.
Many fans dream of being able to emulate their idols by entering the hallowed turf and scoring a winner in a cup final. Unfortunately, though this is one that is often unfulfilled as only a select few go all the way to the top and can say they play the beautiful game for a living.
That means that these dreams are often fulfilled in a more virtual manner as the excitement and passion of the football pitch is replicated via either a console or computer and with that in mind here are the top football themed games of all time.
In all great sports there are huge rivalries to go with it and the world of console football is no different, on the one side you have the FIFA series and on the other you have the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series.
This is a hard-fought battle that has gone on for years and is one that sees no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In one half of the pitch is FIFA, perhaps loved more for the fact that it has a much larger range of licenses then its main rival.
First launched on the Sega Megadrive back in 1994 as ‘FIFA International Soccer’ this has been an annual stocking filler with swathes of players picking up control pads around the world and since the introduction of online play it has created rivalries from Aberdeen to Addis Ababa.
The introduction of a story mode has evolved the game even further and with the announcement that the game will also feature the Champions League license for the FIFA 19 edition it means this particular title goes from strength to strength
PES (XBOX ONE)
However, if FIFA is the league winner then perhaps PES is the underdog capable of pulling off a cup upset. The title which is produced by the Japanese studio Konami is a spin off from their original ‘International Superstar Soccer’ series.
And although it is a title that may have had dips in form over the past few years, its most recent incarnations have returned the brand back to the lofty heights of before. If FIFA has the official licenses, then PES certainly has the gameplay to rival it.
This title offers up a much more fluid gameplay experience and is arguably one for the more cerebral football fan. The pace of which it is controlled is high speed but still staying in the realms of simulation and not an arcade title such as the classic Virtua Striker from Sega.
Just like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the pitch, these two rival titles seem to also push each other to new heights each year. Ultimately this means that they continue to progress and evolve, leaving a difficult decision as to which one you will purchase with your hard-earned cash.
FOOTBALL MANAGER (PC)
If playing a virtual game of football is not quite your thing and you prefer to watch from the technical area then there is only one title that will fit the brief, that being the legendary Football Manager.
Originally titled Championship Manager in the early 90’s, it saw a metamorphosis into its current name a decade later. From humble beginnings the game has turned into one of the best-selling gaming titles of all time.
Countless hours have been lost over the years as players attempt to emulate the success of the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. Whether it be taking charge of Manchester United or Forest Green Rovers the pursuit of victory is just the same.
It’s not necessarily a difficult game to play but it certainly is difficult to switch off once you are underway, the dilemma of playing just one more game before bedtime is one that many a bedroom manager has had to weigh up. But it’s the question that keeps them coming back for more.
BICICLETA – All Platforms
In the three examples above you are either playing against the computer or another avid gamer where the only prize is silverware or perhaps more importantly bragging rights over one your best friends.
There is however another prize to win, one that could also swell your bank balance. Thanks to the introduction of uk slots you can now recreate the drama of the football pitch in your very own home.
One of the top games that are currently available on the market is Bicicleta from MoneyReels. This game allows you to mimic the high stakes pressure of an all-important football match and of course with high stakes comes high reward.
Bicycle kicks are one of the most flamboyant pieces of skill in Football, so it is fitting that they play such a prevalent part in this game that is full of glitz and glamour. Each spin sees one of your players perform another bicycle kick towards goal, the question is whether you can spin your way to a win?
Of course, it might be that the technical revolution of football gaming has passed you by and you still yearn from the physical table top games of yesteryear. If this is the case, then you must look no further than Subbuteo.
Before the game was played through a console, many a fixture was contested on dining room tables as two players attempted to flick their way to victory. A multitude of available teams turned Subbuteo into something of a collector’s dream.
Add the fact that you could build stadium’s fit for any showpiece event and it was more than just a game where 22 men were flicked up and down a piece of green cloth, with the 1970’s and 80’s proving to be the game’s halcyon era.
And although it is no longer etched in the psyche of the modern-day football fan, it still offers up a fantastic amount of nostalgia as many a loft will be stored with your father or grandfather’s Subbuteo collection from days gone by. Should be lucky enough to find one it is certainly worth dusting off and playing for yourself.