The 7 weirdest football video games you’ve never heard of

The 7 weirdest football video games you’ve never heard of

Back before the hegemony of the FIFA and Pro Evolution video game series, the world of football-based video games was effectively a wild west.

Indie developers were coming up with new games and, desperate for a little clout, roping in the best and brightest from the world of football to lend their name and likeness to the venture. Or at least the ones whose agents would email back.

From Sean Dundee to actual Dundee FC, everyone had a tie-in. Here are our favourites.


Sean Dundee’s World Club Football (1997)





(Under different licensed name)


Yep, that Sean Dundee. The fat bloke who played a season at Liverpool. The game was effectively a repackaging of Puma World Football 98 for the German market and, to be fair to the game’s marketing department, Sean Dundee had just scored 17 goals for Karlsruher the season before. The Spanish version bore the name of the, erm, equally illustrious Kiko Narvaez. Us neither. 


Chris Kamara Street Soccer (2000)



Where to begin with this one? In his pomp Kammy was a bit of a hard man midfielder who in 1988 became the first footballer convicted of GBH for an on pitch incident. He was not Mr Street Soccer.



The only thing that makes sense about this tie-in is that Chris Kamara Street Soccer, like the man whose name it bears, is absolutely mental. Five-a-side teams compete in such arenas as, Colyseum, Easter Island, Death Valley, Skyscraper, Castle, Stonehenge and Volcano. Which is a bit odd.



(Why is the kit selection on a pixelated busty lady?)



(The, erm, tactics screen)



(Playing in death valley)


On a positive note, there is the option to play with both men and women. Somewhat less positive, the extremely busty virtual ladies play in denim cut-offs.

It’s all a bit of a mess.


Peter Shilton's Handball Maradona (1986)



(Cover - Win two tickets to Wembley!)



(Back cover)



(Commodore 64)


Here's the drill: The player faces a succession of shots from different distances and angles, eith the aim of saving as many as possible. There's a practice mode and a skill challenge, where you move up through the game by saving four successive shots.

So the Shilton bit is obvious but why handball Maradona? In-game screens show the title ‘Peter Shilton’s Football’, which leads us to conclude that the Maradona element was added in post production  in an attempt to shift more units and was probably (hopefully) done without Shilton’s knowledge.

Knowing how much the diminutive Argentine boiled Shilton’s blood, it's unlikely he would have given the OK otherwise. Which is nice. 


Ally McCoist Director of Football (1999)



We’ve covered some strange games on this list so far but this one may just take the cake, and that’s before you even start to wonder what the hell Ally McCoist is doing on the cover.



(Player details)






(Picking sponsors)



(Pre match hotels)



(Stadium improvements)





Based on the German game ‘Kicker Fussball Manager’, you have full control over your team's finances. From buying insurance to cover player injuries to sorting out the team's sponsors for the next season, it’s a pretty dense game. As director you can play a risky game by investing your team's money in the actual stock market (we’re not joking) and, remarkably, at the end of each season you are given the option to evade tax, at the potential risk of a hefty fine.

Those crazy Germans.


O'Leary Manager 2000



Quite possibly the most sensible game on a bonkers list. O’Leary Manager 2000 was effectively just a portable version of the PC game Total Soccer, that was released on the Gameboy colour and featured impressively crap graphics.



It was actually the second David O’Leary-endorsed football management game of the year following David O'Leary's Total Soccer 2000, released nine months earlier. To be fair, while it may look vaguely comical now, O’Leary was undeniably in his pomp, leading his Leeds side to third in the Prem and qualification for the Champions League during the 1999/00 season (where they reached the semis).


Dundee's European Challenge (1986)



One of the earliest games on the list and definitely one of the most mysterious. Dundee’s European Challenge actually had two versions. The first featured Archie Knox. When he got sacked, a new version was created featuring new man Jocky Scott at the helm. The game was a bizarre venture, especially considering Dundee had not been near European competition for a decade.


Keith Van Eron’s Pro Soccer (1989)



This game actually sounds half decent. Games can be played in two modes, Indoor and Outdoor. The Outdoor game is basically just the developers' best attempt at normal football. The Indoor version however exclusively features sides from the US and is played on a much smaller field - and apparently has a different set of rules to the ‘outdoor’ game.





Annoyingly, it's not clear what these different rules actually are but our interest is piqued. So now for the elephant in the room. Who the hell is Keith Van Eron? Well, he was the 1986 MISL goalkeeper of the year, of course. The New Yorker seems to have been one of the great indoor soccer keepers, for whatever that's worth.


Words by Andy Gallagher



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