"We were put in a team with Gandhi and Elvis" – Gruff Rhys recalls how the Super Furry Animals were given their own team on Actua Soccer 2
Welsh rock gods Super Furry Animals' love for computer games saw them immortalised in a 90s football classic
From Sensible Soccer to ISS, football computer games in the 90s were as bonkers as they were brilliant. True connoisseurs of the genre will fondly recall 1995's Actua Soccer, which featured impressive graphics and gameplay for its time, as well as its successful sequel in 1997.
The latter included one of FourFourTwo's favourite oddities: Welsh rock band Super Furry Animals as a playable team. Gamers could select the band's own club and take on the world, with little animated versions of their rock and roll heroes taking to the field. Baffled as to how on Earth this feature came about, FFT went in search of answers.
"Well we always loved playing computer games, especially when we were on tour," singer Gruff Rhys tells FourFourTwo now. "I remember driving across America in the bus, playing gigs – it was the same year as the World Cup in France. We were really into football games but we also loved Worms. One afternoon, we were drinking and playing Worms and having a brilliant time. So much so that we couldn't be arsed to get off the bus and play the gig when we arrived at the venue.
"The tour manager was like, 'Lads, get the f*** off this bus, now!' and we were saying, 'Do we have to? We want to stay here!' We loved Worms."
The bands' love for computer games led to an idea for a music video for 1997 hit Play It Cool. "We decided that we wanted to get digitised into the music video," recalls Rhys. "I don't know what happened but somehow we were in touch with Actua Soccer, who said they could create little footballers out of the band members for our music video.
"At first we assumed it would be for the video only, but then they asked if we just wanted to have our own team in the game. That wasn't a hard decision!"
Just one problem: football teams tend to have 11 players – so the five-piece band would need a few ringers. "There wasn't enough of us for a team so they asked us to send them the names of some of our heroes to fill the squad with," says Rhys, whose own playable character spurned the club's kit in favour of jeans and a trademark kagool.
"We sent a bunch of names over but the email must have got lost or deleted or something," he grins. "They ended up just using some random historical figures instead. So we were eventually lining up alongside Gandhi and Elvis."
Other team-mates included Al Capone (with a 'shooting' stat of 82 out of 100) and Genghis Kahn ('Tackling': 92, of course). "We didn't choose the players or their stats so that must have been someone funny taking the p*** at Actua Soccer," Rhys laughs. "We loved it though. Very funny."
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Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.
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