FIFA has licensed FIFA World Cup video games since 1986, of which only a few were received positively by the critics, but given the popularity of the competition, they all did positively on the market, and the license is one of the most sought-after. Originally in the hands of U.S. Gold, Electronic Arts acquired it in 1997 and is the current holder.
World Cup Carnival, released by U.S. Gold was arguably the worst start a franchise could have endured. While the license was acquired with time to spare and was carefully planned, internal problems plagued the project's development until it could not be completed anywhere near a commercially usable date. As Mexico '86 was coming closer, U.S. Gold decided to acquire the rights of an older game, World Cup Football by Artic, re-fit it with the properly licensed items, and market it as a revolutionary new title. However, this late effort was received with cynicism from all in the video game industry: gamers, retailers and reviewers alike, and started a trend of "less than what was expected" games based on football licenses. It was published on the C64, the ZX Spectrum and the Amstrad CPC.
Virgin Mastertronic released the official home computer game of the 1990 World Cup. It was released on Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS and ZX Spectrum. Like the 1986 game, this was actually a reworked existing game (World Trophy Soccer). The game is presented in a bird's-eye view but when the player gets near the goal, it switches to a 3D view of the penalty area and the player must try to score before a defender arrives on screen. The player can only choose to play as England, Belgium, Italy or Spain. The teams do not have the correct coloured strips and the tournament is not the same as the actual World Cup.
Virgin also released official console games in Europe as World Cup Italia '90 for the Sega Mega Drive and Master System consoles. The Mega Drive version is a port of World Championship Soccer. The Master System version was another game, also released as Super Futebol II in Brazil.
A number of unofficial games were also released including Italy 1990 by previous license holders U.S. Gold.
This game from U.S. Gold was ported to most active platforms of the day: DOS, Amiga, Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega CD, Master System, SNES and handhelds Game Boy and Game Gear. The Sega CD version included a CD soundtrack including two songs by the Scorpions and FMV views of 3D renders of the stadiums used in the competition.
For the first time in a football game, accurate national team kits were introduced complete with kit manufacturer logos and official merchandise. The game built on the previously released FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 engine, although it features some minor gameplay improvements such as in-game strategy changes and more tactically accurate player positioning. As in the FIFA series, World Cup 98 features a song in the menu: "Tubthumping", by Chumbawamba. The game also features voice-overs by Des Lynam and Gary Lineker in the team schedules. The World Cup classic mode is also an interesting feature, with classic black and white sepia-toned graphics and commentary by Kenneth Wolstenholme creating the feeling of watching an old World Cup game. The playable teams also included several nations that did not qualify for the finals, but were considered too important to exclude. It was released for Windows, PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy.
An amalgamation between the game engines of FIFA 2002 and FIFA 2003, the game still incorporates the power bar for shots and crosses but with a steeper learning curve and higher chances of being penalized by the match referee. The national team kits are accurate along with player likeness and the stadia of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Unlike the previous games in the FIFA series, the game had an original soundtrack performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Created by EA Sports and was released during the last two weeks of April 2006. This game features not only the World Cup finals themselves, but the six regional qualification rounds. There are 127 national teams. You can also create a player and put in your favorite team. There are minor improvements in the game play over FIFA 06. The Global Challenge Mode includes 40 challenges based upon classic matches of the World Cup or qualification matches. Penalty Shoot-Out mode offers a more realistic experience.
The included teams were confirmed by Electronic Arts on 17 February 2010. The game contains 199 of the 204 national teams that took part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification process. Electronic Arts stated that they have included every team that FIFA have permitted them to use, with some others not being allowed for "various reasons". The five teams that were in the draw for World Cup qualifying but are not included in the game are African teams Central African Republic, Eritrea, and São Tomé and Príncipe, and Asian teams Bhutan and Guam. All five withdrew from the qualifying stage before it began. Additionally, the game does not feature Brunei, Laos, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines who did not participate in World Cup qualifying.
The game includes all 10 venues used at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as stadiums from each qualifying region and a range of "generic" stadiums.
The game contains all of the 203 national teams that took part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification process. The national teams of Bhutan, Brunei, Guam, Mauritania and South Sudan, all of which did not participate in World Cup qualifying, and Mauritius, that withdrew before playing any match, are not featured in the game.
The game includes all 12 venues used at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as well as stadiums from each qualifying region and a range of "generic" stadiums.
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