The Retro Football Games To Whet Your World Cup Appetite

This winter, the World Cup touches down in Qatar, and the eyes of the world will turn to the desert.

It’s a unique World Cup in that it is the last to feature just 32 teams and the first not to be played in the summer. It’s also the first to head to the Middle East, making it one to remember. It will feature all of the world’s best teams, apart from Italy who failed to qualify, and will doubtless be a huge viewing attraction globally.

Fans will already be warming up for the World Cup. This summer, when a football festival would be taking place, they’ve been handed the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022, which has been a massive success and will serve as a great warm-up for the men’s World Cup. Fans might also turn to video games to prepare for the action. Usually, when a major event occurs, the associated video games experience a bump in users, whether football, golf, F1 or any other sport.

Football games have always been big business, ever since the likes of Football Manager first arrived on home computers in the early eighties. It is described by The Courier as a significant driver in the success of the ZX Spectrum machine and was the first management simulator on the market. Today, fans can enjoy football on all formats and not necessarily even be in the thick of the action. For instance, World Cup Quiz on iOS tests your football knowledge, not how well you can shoot! There are also online slots featured on Cheeky Bingo, such as 11 Champions and Slot It In, which take football and twist it around a different genre in the form of online slot machines. Of course, for the dedicated fan, mobiles have titles that let you score goals, such as Football Cup 2021 and Top Eleven Football Manager.

Those are just current games, but going back through history, there have been some cracking football games that could not be described as retro. Some are still highly addictive, fun to play, and might act as a warm-up for the World Cup. If you’re bored of FIFA 22 and want to play something a little bit different, you should look for an emulator or classic machine with these great games on.


Striker was released in 1992, making it thirty years old, but perhaps it was ahead of its time. Why? Because it was one of the first games to feature Qatar on the roster. It also had a comprehensive replay system for analysis of the match action, which felt advanced at the time. The gameplay was great; it ran quickly and featured a top-down view made famous by another title that dropped soon after; Sensible Soccer. Striker got lost in the excitement of Sensible Soccer, and despite several reboots culminating in the 1999 PlayStation release UEFA Striker, it never got the acclaim it deserved. Until now.

Actua Soccer (PlayStation 1, Sega Saturn)





Three years after Striker came out, the world was treated to Actua Soccer. It was the first game to have realistic commentary, the first to have motion-captured players and to offer multiple camera angles. It was as cutting edge as you could get, and it showcased the very best the PlayStation 1 had to offer. It’s perfect for World Cup fans, as the original featured 44 international teams with 22 players. The club edition, released two years later, brought Premier League players into the game. It was even briefly touted as a possible successor to FIFA, according to Digital Spy.

This is Football (PlayStation 1)




This is Football never gets a mention when talking about classic football games, but it should. Released in 1999, it came in time for Euro 2000 but was forgotten by the time the World Cup arrived in 2002. It featured motion capture.

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