Fifa is a corrupt den of iniquity if ever there was one, this however is nothing new. Allow me via the magic nostalgia and rose tinted spectacles to take you back to the early 90’s and the fist iteration of the global phenomenon known imaginatively as Fifa International Soccer, soccer so our American brethren would not feel left out.

Released on a multitude of platforms, even the antiquated Sega Master System got a look in, after all money talks! However something was rotten in the state of Denmark from the get-go; the pitch was littered with sweet spots aplenty – find the magic area and a goal was all but guaranteed, for further unsporting like behaviour you could position your player directly in front of the opposing keeper and leap salmon like in tandem with his kick-out, causing the net to bulge. And for the piece de resistance you could run away from the referee! That’s right, moments before a card was issued the offending sprite could be coerced into hightailing it away from the man in the middle, whether this resulted in an increased penalty or not is open to conjecture.

If that was not enough there was a cunning plan afoot from the bigwigs in charge of marketing, an arcade machine with a spherical controller that ate up your pennies and pounds. No d-pad was to be seen, all was planet shaped in a bid to snaffle your hard earned cash! Not much else was different except the size of the screen but after all variety is the spice of life. The cooperate juggernaut was in full effect as the hoi polloi massed to the arcade to sample the delights of the home grown cartridge on the big screen.

That was only the beginning, step forward the 96 incarnation on the Mega Drive. Still certain areas of the pitch were like gold dust when it came to scoring but that was nothing in comparison to the “fault” that Electronic Arts “overlooked” The newly included transfer system was an instant success, rosters could be managed until all teams had acquired the correct players or more likely till the game glitched, causing the leagues and tournaments to become unsaveable. Of course this was an “accident” and not a cunning money making scheme by E.A to fleece would be World Cup winners into buying another copy.

All was not lost however as you might know an amiable Woolworths assistant…


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