Football Fun and Dodgy Developers

This post ticks off the first two games on my “Games I Wasted Money On But Haven’t Played Yet” list.

What on Earth have I let myself in for?!

Sensible World of Soccer
(Xbox Live Arcade)


I remember sinking hours into Sensible World of Soccer on my brother’s Amiga when I was a kid.  I realise that makes me sound really old and really sad, but it’s true.

Back then it was all about the gameplay.  Nowadays, football games are more interested in imitating how the sport looks on TV. As a result, gameplay invariably takes a back seat to pointless cut scenes and close-ups of Wayne Rooney’s surgically repaired hairline.

Playing this version of SWOS brought back some fond memories.  It felt like the Sensible of old but with slightly spruced-up visuals.  I could have relived a blissful childhood spent playing as Fiorentina, whacking goals in for fun with the brilliant Gabriel Batistuta.

I didn’t.  I started a career as Galway instead.

I think the romanticism of leading a crap, glorified Sunday league team to the heights of European football was too alluring.  However, this quickly gave way to intense nerd rage as I routinely got spanked by every team in the division.

Shit the bed, I don’t remember it being this hard!

Madden NFL Arcade
(Xbox Live Arcade)


The first thing I noticed about this game was its lack of competitive leagues or tournaments.  I mean, what self-respecting sports game would only offer exhibition matches?  Yes, there is a leaderboard, but it’s a measly offering for what could have been a fun accompaniment to any Madden game.

The action on the field is fine.  It’s small-sided American Football without the more boring aspects.  Games end when a team reaches thirty points, so there are no time-wasting shenanigans here.  There’s no playbook of complicated strategies to choose from, just choose how far you want to get the ball downfield in that turn and you’re given a random, simplified strategy to do it.  Both teams are randomly offered power-ups throughout the game and, with the exception of one awful score-altering one, can aid your chosen strategy perfectly.

Once I stepped off the field, the crushing disappointment sank in once more.  I realised that in the space of ten minutes I had experienced everything that Madden NFL Arcade had to offer.  It’s nothing more than a purchasable demo, a mini-game removed from a regular Madden NFL title and plonked on the digital marketplace in a shameless attempt to squeeze more money out of us.

Naughty EA.  Very Naughty.

So that’s two games down, only another seventy-six to go …

What am I doing with my life?


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