Football games of the 90s: Hach, that was bad

Danial Montazeri and Markus Böhm have been playing football games for more than 20 years. Now they have dusted off a few classics of their youth. Are they still fun today?

A Super Nintendo game console is our time machine. The originally gray, but long-yellowed box is a tech relic, like a dial phone. Once the thing stood naturally at home, today it raises a question above all with young people: really, that you used before?

And how. The Super Nintendo and especially its football games were fixtures of our free time in the 1990s when we went to school. At that time gambling was only possible against the computer or friends on the sofa. So they sat together, talked and petted.

Today, more than 20 years later, we almost only play online - sometimes "Fifa 19", sometimes "Pro Evolution Soccer 2019" ("PES"). They are fascinating, varied games. But no modern work leaves in our memory such traces as the old games. Or is that just transfiguration?

When we wrote a book about football games for a year, we often wondered if the games of our childhood would still be fun today. For this article we'll give it a try: We've come up with a Super Nintendo, a Playstation and three long-running favorites: "International Super Soccer Deluxe" ("ISS Deluxe"), "Fifa 97" and "Super Soccer".

Böhm / Montazeri

Our test material

  • "International Superstar Soccer Deluxe" (1996)

The experiment starts with a black screen. The Super Nintendo is correctly connected to the Smart TV, but where pixilated footballers should show up, we see nothing. This is followed by automated manipulations: remove the module from the console, take a deep breath and blow it in vigorously - and then the game starts (or still).

Soon we feel deeper in the action than we would like: the field of play is tiny. Without the radar down in the middle of the image, the game structure is a matter of luck - at least for newbies. But we quickly find again those positions from which shots land reliably in the gate. It feels a little bit like coming back to the nursery after years - and everything is still there where it always was.

This has its charm at the beginning. But quite fast, "ISS Deluxe", which later came from Konami as "PES", turns out to be playfully multi-faceted: some things always work, others never.


"ISS Deluxe"

Nostalgia triggers above all the English-speaking commentator. He does not have many sayings on it, wearing phrases like "he shoots" and "No foul ?!" but full of verve. If the ball lands in the goal, an unforgettable "Goal, Goal, Goooal!" Follows.

While we control the German Kuhnert and the Italian Carboni across the field, we realize that we never missed real name then. In any case, we fantasized about stories of our own, just like kicking in the garden, with sweaters as gateposts. On the console we met even more reliable then.

Price query time:
14.04.2019, 06:20 clock
No guarantee


Markus Boehm, Danial Montazeri
Football games. 100 pages (Reclam 100 pages)

Publishing company:

Reclam, Philipp, jun. GmbH, publisher




EUR 10,00

Buy from Amazon Buy from Thalia

Product discussions are purely editorial and independent. The so-called affiliate links above, we usually receive a commission from the dealer when buying. More information here.

  • "Fifa 97" (1996)

On YouTube are hundreds of videos that revolve around the mistakes and allegedly lousy game mechanics of modern "Fifa" parts. What would the creators of these clips say is "Fifa 97" state of affairs?

The fourth part of the series started in 1993 is a cramp on the court. During the entire first game on the Playstation, the controller poses a mystery to us: Can the opponent be separated from the ball fairly? In the past, were we simply more skilled or capable of suffering than today?

Reminiscent of "Fifa 97" is the hall mode. He made it to Fifa 98, then disappeared to the chagrin of many fans out of line - apart from a barely noticed comeback in some "Fifa" versions for Nintendo's Wii.


"Fifa 97"

In the hall and there to play about gang, is fun - because something is constantly happening. A game ends despite a 6: 2 lead (Original sound from Montazeri: "I beat you in two digits") 9:10 - that would hardly have been possible on the field. But overall, the feeling is disturbingly bad by today's standards. The fact that we used to like this game in the past can only be explained as follows: we did not know it better.

So "Fifa 97" is quickly mothballed again. Only the squad we go through again: Stéphane Chapuisat, Alexander Zickler, Vladimir Bestschastnych - that wakes memories. Incidentally, we do not recognize any of these stars on the course. "Fifa 97" is in 3D, but the players all look pretty much the same.

photo gallery

15 pictures

"Fifa 97", "Super Soccer", "ISS Deluxe": That's what the classics look like

  • "Super Soccer" (1992)

There are football simulations and there is "Super Soccer" - the oldest game we try. After two games we are still pondering whether there is a referee in it, although we mean to remember one. Opponents can be riveted without consequences: We even pity the fouled, because he groans as soon as it gets him. So every five seconds.


"Super Soccer"

Finally, our teams team up for testing purposes. And indeed, after nearly a dozen targeted attacks by the same player, a whistle sounds. The referee, he exists - and is remarkably corpulent.

Hardcore instead of fair play - was that the football ideal of the developers at the time? One thing's for sure: we're tripping more often than we can pass and barely scoring goals, but it makes you happy.

In the latest "Fifa" there is a "no rules" mode. This might suggest that some gamers are longing for games that are not primarily realistic but enjoyable. But, that too is part of the truth, "Super Soccer" will soon be monotonous, the Gebolze underchallenged in the long run.

In retrospect, our old football games are frighteningly simple: we miss, for example, finesse shots and passes in the barrel. The charm of old games is not the gameplay. It's the memories that wake her up. The time machine ends up back in the basement - after a last "Goal, Goal, Goooal!".

ref: spiegel