The 23 best football video games ever made: Sensi, FIFA, Virtua, PES and more

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18. World Championship Soccer 2 (1994)

This little-known Mega Drive effort is now one of the most sought-after football games ever, after it emerged that Jon ‘Sensible Soccer’ Hare had a secret hand in its development. No surprise, then, that it plays like a sped-up, side-on Sensi… albeit perhaps not one worth forking out £752 for.

17. Emlyn Hughes International Soccer (1988)

While the late-‘80s saw home computers inundated with management simulators, few developers dared to provide total control on the field of play. C64 standout Emlyn was the spirited anomaly, enabling you to pass, dribble and shoot (and trigger deft changes of pace) using a joystick. Editable names and shirt colours added to the notion of realism.

16. Mario Strikers Charged Football (2007)

No, not Balotelli – this off-its-rocker Wii kickabout instead took its name from Nintendo’s ‘tached toilet-fixer. Super-powered shots, comical power-ups and zany environments – such as pitches fenced with electro bolts – made it unlike anything else on this list. Family game? Not when you’d just gifted Toad a last-minute winner, it wasn’t.

15. UEFA Euro 2008 (2008)

The PS3 and Xbox 360 FIFA spin-off that helped transform EA’s footballing fortunes, introducing popular series mainstays such as individual player celebrations and pitch-affecting weather. Slower on-pitch tempo than the club games which sandwiched it also had fans cooing, but it’d be a frustratingly long time – seven years – before the publisher would apply the brakes within FIFA proper.

14. Top Eleven (2010)

Finding a good social media sports game is tough like finding a Liverpool defender who can defend, but Nordeus’s tactics-based treasure is the exception. Its layout recalls the golden years of Champ Man, with instantly rendered results enabling you to whip through seasons in a weekend. Oh, and it’s free. No wonder 15 million played it every month on Facebook in 2014.