I tend to measure my life out in World Cups along with the memories of what soccer sim(s) I was playing at the time. Now, before the advent of licensed EA Trax and the like, association football computer and videogames tended to open with jaunty, bespoke musical themes.
Here, to coincide with summer 2014’s festival of hoof-sphere over in Brazil are some of my fondly remembered favourites.
First-up is Taito’s Mexico ’86 coin-op (1986), later re-released as Kick and Run this was one of the first arcade games – along with Double Dragon – that I could complete on a single 10p credit. And the crowd went wild!
This whimsical 80s-fest (starts at 52 seconds on the video below) actually played during the matches. Better than that godawful Pukka Pies-sponsored official England band to my ears anyway.
Apologies but I am unable to find out who the composer was to credit him or her. If anybody out there knows, please tell me:
Next in chronological order comes Martin (nephew of famous flautist Sir James Galway OBE) Galway’s delightfully cheesy fanfare for Sensible Software’s first football game, Microprose Soccer (Commodore 64 version, 1988). Join in with the harmonies everybody:
Later that same year and on the same format came Audiogenic’s enhanced upgrade to the classic International Soccer cart, this time with the added Pringle-knit sweaters of squeaky-voiced former Liverpool (and Question of Sport) captain Emlyn ‘Crazy Horse’ Hughes. Music by Barry Leitch:
My next football game passions were Kick Off, Kick Off 2 and Player Manager by Anco’s legendary Dino Dini/Steve Screech alliance, but they didn’t feature any music whatsoever so it’s on to 1992 and Sensible’s return to the virtual pitch on 16-bit.
Spotting a promotional opportunity, Renegade Software (a subsidiary of the Rhythm King record label) signed up former The Damned guitarist (and novelty pop hitster) Captain Sensible (aka Raymond Ian Burns) to compose the tune for the original Sensible Soccer. The coding was done by the late, great Richard Joseph:
The deal with Cap’n Happy Talk only lasted one game and so his intro theme was replaced by this pleasant effort from Christopher J Denman for the International edition in 1994:
Of course the full-blown follow-up, Sensible World of Soccer (1994-1996) got this very silly song (and video if you had the CD version) composed by Sensible’s Jon Hare, with vocals by Jackie Reed and programming again by Richard Joseph:
The next footy game I fell in love with – and one of the last before the advent of CD-based soundtracks – was Konami’s International Superstar Soccer Deluxe on the SNES.
The forerunner to ISS Pro/PES, ISS Deluxe brought almost arcade-quality action into the home, with large, recognisable and gloriously animated player sprites. It didn’t exactly play too shabbily either.
Three composers worked on the game – Hideyuki Eto, Harumi Ueko and Tomoya Tomita, though I’m afraid I don’t know which of these wrote the intro piece.
The sequence could have been straight out of something from Tecmo’s range of soccer coin-ops or even a Capcom fighting game. WE LOVE SOCCER!:
Concluding this week’s Music Monday we have one of the most brilliantly, knowingly awful pieces featured in any of these features so far.
From (the hugely disappointing) Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 it’s the amazing Football (Soccer!) by… who knows? Is anyone willing to own up to having recorded this beautiful monstrosity?
Have a great World Cup everybody!