Today in retro gaming, we celebrate the release of Adidas Power Soccer 98 for the original Playstation (so named because of its release on June 30, 1998, not because it was the 97th sequel in a series dating back to civil war times). Now Adidas didn’t actually make the game themselves–they left that to Shen studios. They didn’t market the game either–that was up to publisher Psygnosis. But they did help bankroll the development and lend their brand to the footwear of all the polygonal footy players who take the field. Given the game delivers four hundred and twenty-seven teams plucked from the real world with a total roster of over ten thousand goalkeepers, sweepers, midfielders and strikers, that’s a shit-ton of cleats.
Gamers who first picked up the controller with the current generation of consoles wouldn’t know it, but Electronic Arts didn’t always have the monopoly on sports games. Back in the days when EA was nothing more than another fish struggling to make its way in the deep sea of software, there was such a thing as “choice” when it came to games involving balls that weren’t named “Leisure Suit Larry.” Heck, in the 90s it seemed like everybody was jumping on the sports games bandwagon including the manufacturers of athletic shoes.
Adidas Power Soccer 98 offers the option of both a rules-heavy simulation mode for hardcore hooligans, or the more free-form arcade style of play preferred by people who just want to boot things around a bit. It wasn’t without its downsides (especially in its inability for players to pick who they’re controlling–whoever’s closest to the ball is your main man), but it was still a valid option in a field where the past fifteen years have seen those choices dwindle down to nothing. Your retro goodie ad for Adidas Power Soccer 98 awaits: claim it now, and remind your friends what kickin’ balls is all about.