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Euro 2012 is upon us, and while the majority of us are realistic about the prospects of an England victory, that doesn't stop us from living out this fantasy through games like FIFA 12 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2012.
It was the same story back in 1994 when England failed to qualify for the World Cup. Fans didn't have impact engines or cutting edge 3D graphics to console themselves, but they did have the makings of a great football sim in International Superstar Soccer for SNES.
Konami's smash hit was considered the greatest football game of the 16-bit era, outdoing the original FIFA in terms of innovation and realism. Its EA Sports rival may have had backing from the sport's governing body, but International Superstar Soccer was the superior game.
The series has roots in Konami's Hyper Soccer for NES. Although its 8-bit predecessor is technically of a different franchise, it laid the ground work for International Superstar Soccer and paved the way for its success.
So what gave International Superstar Soccer the edge over other footie fare? As we've already touched on, it favoured impressive lifelike visuals over the cartoon aesthetic used by many of its genre counterparts. Realistic physics worked to its advantage in the gameplay stakes, offering a more fluid experience that you'd find elsewhere.
Although the title wasn't backed by the kind of licensing agreement that permitted the use of real player names, it did attempt to use their likenesses. Swedish forward Magnus was modelled on Martin Dahlin, Italy's Galfano was Roberto Baggio, and Argentina's Capitale was Gabriel Batistuta. It was also the first game to display squad numbers on shirts.
The N64 became the next port of call, with the release of International Superstar Soccer 64 bringing it to a new generation. This edition maintained the same feel as its SNES forebears, adding improved graphics and animation.
It was around this time that the franchise took its first steps to becoming Pro Evolution Soccer. In June 1997, an iteration called International Superstar Soccer Pro landed on the PlayStation to much critical acclaim. The scene was set for a full-on transformation, and less than a few sequels later, ISS Pro Evolution was released for the Sony console.
Regardless of how England perform over the coming weeks, the advent of the Euros is the perfect excuse to dust off your SNES and load up the original International Superstar Soccer for some nostalgic kicks.
Do you have any fond memories of International Superstar Soccer? Post a comment below.