Let’s Go Retro: 1993 – FIFA International Soccer

Let's Go Retro

FIFA 14 may have just hit the shelves (and been partially responsible for a member of the Phones 4u team’s complete lack of productivity), but what you may not realise is the sport simulation game has been ruining lives for 20 years.

Feel old? So did we when we double-checked the maths… while you recover from that bombshell, we’ll travel back to 1993 and revisit the game that started it all. This week’s Let’s Go Retro pays homage to FIFA International Soccer.FIFA International Soccer

What: FIFA International Soccer

Platform: PC, Sega Mega Drive, Game Boy (among others)

Genre: Sport simulation

On the cover: David Platt & Piotr Świerczewski

Released: 15 July 1993

Developed by EA Sports, FIFA International Soccer (which went on to be known as FIFA 94), was the first game in the series, making its debut in the summer of 1993 and the lead-up to the 1994 World Cup. By presenting an isometric view, International Soccer broke tradition of other 16-bit games of that era, such as the bird’s-eye view of Sensible Soccer and the top-down view of Kick Off.

The original iteration of the FIFA franchise only included national teams and real player names were not used. Despite this, it was the number one game in the UK charts, staying there for six weeks after replacing Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition.


Although EA’s football simulation was slower-paced than the likes of Sensible Soccer, the graphics were superior and gave the player a real feeling of being there on the pitch thanks to its sights, sounds and match details.

The use of Isometric 3D visuals enabled more player animations, including the usual mix of overhead kicks and headers, but with the addition of new moves such as the back heel. Add to this an endless list of gameplay options and adjustable areas of defence, midfield and attack, led to FIFA International Soccer creating a realistic football experience.

Noted for being the first game to have an official licence from FIFA, the series has gone on to release a new version every year for the past two decades. Various players have graced the covers, and if you find yourself wondering just who these players were, check out Stuff’s article here.

So that’s the tech, but what else did 1993 have to offer?

Quite a lot really, the only thing we can do is apologise for highlighting that these things are 20 years old…we’re sorry.

In terms of film, we were (trick or) treated to Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jurassic Park and Mrs Doubtfire. On the small screen, The X Files and Fraiser made their first appearances.

Music came from Ace of Base, Gabrielle and the ever so talented duo, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

Hocus Pocus 3 FINAL

But before you run off to Boom! Shake the Room (because we know that’s what you’re thinking), here are some other notable events from 1993:

20 January – Bill Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States

29 March – The 65th Academy Awards took place, hosted by Billy Crystal. Best Picture went to Unforgiven

15 May – Ireland won the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘In Your Eyes’ by Niamh Kavanagh

19 December – Mr Blobby, somehow, scored the UK Christmas number one with self-titled song ‘Mr Blobby’