The king of football games, no list of the best sports games ever would be complete without the annual franchise from EA Sports. First released as FIFA International Soccer back in 1993, it has been a mainstay in houses around the world with over 260 million copies sold. FIFA 20 introduced Volta football, a new indoor story mode to compete with the hugely popular FIFA Ultimate Team.
The biggest rival to FIFA’s crown, Japanese football simulation Winning Eleven was released as ISS Pro on the Playstation in 1997, before being retitled Pro Evolution Soccer in 2001. It has less official teams than FIFA, but fans of the game argue that the gameplay is much more realistic than its competitor.
First released way back in 1989, the original Kick Off received rave reviews from video game magazines (remember those?) following its debut on the Atari ST and Amiga. It was later brought to SNES and Game Boy with Super Kick Off, but a 2016 resurrection on Playstation 4 called Kick Off Revival failed to bring back the warmth and stripped-down brilliance of the originals.
A few years after Kick Off, Sensible Soccer arrived on the scene and was the holy grail for football fanatics thanks to the ability to edit teams and players. Now you could recreate your favourite teams on your console or computer and guide them to glory. The 1993 version on SNES and Mega Drive even introduced a World Cup mode.
A game so iconic and so immersive that thousands of people still play its 2001-02 incarnation. First released in 1992, the management game improved every year with the 2001 release being considered the peak by many football fans. The game editor allowed everything in the database to be updated or changed, which is how Championship Manager 01/02 is still being played today.
In the early 2000s, Sports Interactive split with game publishers Eidos and started a new management game using the database and match engine they had built for Championship Manager. The spin-off was a much better game than the alternative that Eidos tried to continue with and thus, Football Manager emerged as the number one annual football management simulation. Now available on consoles as well as phones and tablets, you can bring your team with you everywhere.
Not many football games have won BAFTAs but that’s exactly what New Star Soccer did when it was named Best Sports/Fitness Game in 2013 beating FIFA 13 and F1 2012.. Starting out as a PC game back in 2003, it was reborn on iPhone and Android in 2012, where it became one of the most popular apps. In New Star Soccer, you control one player and progress through their career, playing the games as well as deciding their off-field actions.