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Despite backing from world football's governing body, FIFA International Soccer was not supported by extensive licensing agreements and didn't feature any real player names (although England ace David Platt did appear on the box art). This is a stark contrast to the modern era, where the series leads the way in this respect.
The EA Sports label had already become synonymous with authentic simulation experiences following the launch of the Madden NFL and NHL lines, so its entry into the world of video game football was something of a big deal back in the early '90s. However, some felt that they were taking a gamble with the venture.
Although it was the new kid on the block, FIFA had a distinct advantage over the opposition, being among the first football games to use the isometric viewpoint with detailed graphics. EA's marketing campaign emphasised these points as well as the FIFA endorsement.
Developed by Extended Play Productions under the working title of EA Soccer, the first entry in what would become EA's most profitable series arrived in stores in July 1993. It quickly struck a chord with football fans, delivering the most realistic experience possible at the time while retaining relatively simplistic gameplay.
FIFA debuted on a range of platforms, from 16-bit consoles such as the SNES and Mega Drive, to home computers like the PC and Amiga. A scaled down version hit the Sega Master System, and portable iterations appeared on the Game Boy and Game Gear.
The Mega CD saw the release of a deluxe edition titled FIFA International Soccer: Championship Edition. This polished up version included new features such as a player name editor and commentary by Tony Gubba. The 3DO port of the game was the most graphically enhanced, supporting pseudo-3D camera angles.
The original FIFA raised the bar for football games, though it was far from perfect. With just a handful of national teams to play as, the series debut was a long way from achieving the kind of longevity future editions so effortlessly delivered.
EA had creases to iron out too. Those who owned the game might remember the infamous glitch that allowed you to score by standing in front of the opposition's goalkeeper to deflect the ball into the net for a cheap goal.
FIFA International Soccer may look like a humble offering when you compare it to the 2012 edition, but it remains an important piece of gaming history. This is the game that laid the foundations for what would become arguably the most important football franchise in gaming history.
As archaic as it appears today, fans of the series should check it out if they didn't get the pleasure in its heyday, at least for a history lesson if nothing else. The SNES and Mega Drive editions generally go for under £10 on eBay, or you can find it among the bonus features on the PS2 version of FIFA 06.
Do you have any fond memories of FIFA International Soccer? Write a comment in the space below