Not the first Fifa game ever (see Fifa ’94), but definitely the first one that I played. Fifa Soccer 96 gave football (or soccer, depending on which side of the pond you sit) fans a reason to pick up a PlayStation console and finally show to the world that England can get past the quarter finals!
Ah, what a simpler time for football / soccer fans. Do you remember a time where you had to hold at least 3 different buttons to defend? Fifa ’96 does. A simple tap of the button, the ball would be in your possession and the challenge began of actually directing where the ball needed to go. The repetitive commentary was always great to listen to as well. The magical voice of John Motson shouting ”OHHH IT’S IN!” each time you scored never got old. Really.
Despite the repetitive nature of the commentary, EA claimed Fifa ’96 had around 20,000 unique word combinations for the game, something which was mighty impressive way back when. Given that this, the PC and Sega versions of this title was the first in the franchise that was 3D, it was easy to see why it became one of the more popular titles during its sales year. Even now we’re still getting the Fifa games, albeit not nearly as entertaining as ’96…
Some little fun facts about Fifa ’96!
- Since EA didn’t have the rights to the names of the stadiums (as well as probably the hardware capabilities at the time), every match was played in the Virtual Stadium Arena
- The player on the front cover was Frank de Boer. Jason McAteer appeared alongside him in the European version.
- The Brazilian national team contained many inaccurate players, including a number of retired players
As a bit of a football / soccer fan myself, I do enjoy reminiscing about the teams back in the 90’s and what better way than to pick up an old controller and pop in a retro Fifa game, be it ’96 or the 3 that followed. How many people can remember players like Tim Flowers? Not many but it’s always interesting give those long lost players a run out. For me, it was a time where I was happy to play friendly match over and over, without the worry of if my players are going to be fatigued for the next game, or whether I can afford the a gold booster pack for my team. Sometimes it’s better in a simpler time, than to be overwhelmed with various game modes.
What did you think of Fifa ’96? Did you own this one? If not, what was your first Fifa game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!