Now available on: PC, Xbox Live Arcade
Debuting on Amiga and Atari ST in 1992, the original Sensi was an instant hit, garnering a dedicated following with its user-friendly control scheme and fiendishly addictive gameplay. The game went multi-platform shortly afterwards, and several new iterations arrived in the ensuing years, but the series truly fulfilled its potential in 1994 when Sensible World Of Soccer arrived on the market. Combining the simplistic approach of its predecessors with a detailed manager mode, Sensible Software's latest offering was in a league of its own. Released for PC and Amiga, the studio's ambitious project was the first attempt to cram every team from across the globe into a video game.
From European giants AC Milan to the virtually unknown Alianza F.C of El Salvador, almost every club and national team in existence were playable in SWOS. This created tremendous scope for scouting players, since the transfer system enabled users to scour any league at will, and bidding was free for all. Unearthing hidden talent from the Estonian league was just as rewarding as purchasing the likes of Romario with the big bucks you earned winning silverware. Career mode spanned 20 seasons, giving you the option to sit games out as coach or take control of the entire team on match days as player-coach. There were a few off-field matters to attend to, such as squad selection and tactics, but these took a backseat. Depending on your level of success, job offers from other clubs would come in, and the most successful coaches were headhunted by national teams.
Modern-day football games usually make realistic simulation of the sport a priority, but the Sensible Soccer series was happy to exist in its own universe, where the laws of physics are relative and world-class players like Alan Shearer are perfectly content to sign for a club in the Latvian top flight providing they can foot the transfer fee. This quirky arcade approach worked tremendously well, and even managed to hook a few casual gamers with little interest in football. It also maintains a cult following today. There are several websites that provide modern updates unofficially (though some of these do little beyond crashing your computer) and the title has featured at numerous competitive gaming events over the years. Attempts to revive the franchise in 3D were not received favourably by fans, many of whom refuse to acknowledge these later entries as part of the series. However, current licence holder Codemasters successfully brought it back to the mainstream with an Xbox Live Arcade release in 2007.
Do you have any fond memories of Sensible World Of Soccer? Add a comment in the space below!