Aesthetically Pleasing Moments From Video Game Football History #9

Last time in APMFVGFH we looked at one of our favourite childhood SNES games here at  Pyro On The Pitch, with the delicious colourful glory of 1994’s FIFA International Soccer. We now rewind the clock 4 years before to 1990 and a NES game that shares a similar place in our hearts.

Yes, here we have Nintendo World Cup for the Nintendo Entertainment System, released in 1990 by the video game developer Technōs Japan Corp. Brilliantly, it is a localisation of “Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club: Soccer” (or “Hot Blooded High School Dodge Ball Club: Soccer Edition”) released for the Family Computer, which was centered around completing high schools rather than international football teams.

The game opens with the slick screen above, featuring the Nintendo World Cup trophy itself. Like last time, the theme music is again iconic to us who remember it from our youth, but even to fans of video game music in general it is worth a listen through the link at the end of the article.

The team select screen is simply white text over the black background, but of course this is NES so it would be a bit much to expect anything more. Lists of countries are one of our favourite things anyway and there are 13 here to choose from. With the 1990 World Cup a month away when the game was released,  non-qualifiers France, Mexico and of course Japan are included, while eventual quarter-finalists Czechoslovakia, Ireland and Yugoslavia miss out. Despite being two years away from playing an international as a independent state, Russia are also listed rather that USSR:

The game itself is quite a nice chunky affair, with a whole cast of hilarious characters in the players who all appear ready to start boxing. In fact we must come back some day and do a full photo-essay on every player we can find in the game:

The kits are block colours and as you can imagine are far from accurate. Some fit basic familiar formulas such as orange for the Dutch, blue for Italy and a kind of dark yellow for Brazil (see above), but France wear green and Cameroon are in a bold purple affair (see above). The shirts themselves seem to be in fact vests as no sleeves are visible.

Along with a basic radar and count down timer, the boxes at the bottom of the screen helpfully show your team mates communicating with each other:

As you can see above there is a player laying in discomfort on the grass, clearly having been wiped out  in a collision with the bad-ass in the shades clearing the ball. It is appropriate that the players look like they are ready to box, as it is quite a violent game. Eyes regularly bulge disturbingly from heads of victims of crunching challenges, as they fly helplessly into the air:

As far as we remember there is no ref and so no fouls or free kicks. This means that particularly aggressive matches can leave bodies of injured players strewn all about the pitch like a war-zone.

You also may have noticed the ethnic differences of the players, which was quite a step in football game graphics for the team. England – wearing quite a nice navy strip with what actually appears to be red trim – are uniformly white blonde in true Anglo-Saxon fashion:

Another blonde is the woman who appears at half time in nothing but a red bikini. We have no idea what this has to do with football. At the time she probably would have been referred to as a “babe”, but progressively she appears to have ample thighs and hips:

At the end of the match, which as you can see can be won in quite a convincing fashion, your successful squad swaggers smugly across the screen with a couple of them carrying towels (of course if they lose they are dejected). The third player from the right looks furious about something, which considering the scoreline may well have stemmed from a personal slight:

Besides violence, strange reality bending occurrences are also common in the form of super shots. Here one crouching  player uses the power of super position to create two balls from one, as a red haired French opponent climbs on his head:

Doubtlessly black arts were employed to create these unnatural abominations…:

Some of which were basically weapons of mass destruction:

That was scary. But more soothing is that the game is played on a beautifully mowed green pitch. It’s not the only option though, as a selection of surfaces are available:

The concrete option creates the impression of some sort of nightmare world devoid of most matter:

The soil pitch contains a number of rocks, adding to the potential for injury:

Lastly, we come to the ultimate aim of the game: to win the Nintendo World Cup of course. The player must beat every other team in a row, with the standard of opposition gradually increasing. But before each round is the real highlight of Nintendo World Cup in the graphic that is used to represent each location. Famous landmarks include Mount Fuji, the Arc de Triomphe, Big Ben, New York City, the Colosseum, and the landscape of Patagonia for Argentina. Cameroon, meanwhile is represented by a couple of huts on the planes, with a stereotypical wild west and cactus scene apparently being the most apt thing available for Mexico.

In fact here we have each screen, apart from Brazil who were the team being played as:

Great stuff, although we’re slightly confused as to why the font is a different colour for the USA game. Having made it to the final and winning, your team is presented with the Nintendo World Cup trophy by a bald man who looks suspiciously similar to the half-time bikini woman. With the amazing little stadium finally being shown, it is also our fist time seeing fans in the background, which is good to get:

After getting the trophy, everybody smiles in anime fashion as the national flag is hoisted and the “president” claps

Considering the Japanese origins of the game, it is not surprising that there are many features of this game that are reminiscent of anime, and which probably wouldn’t have made it into a western game such as the violence and the woman. We end with one last look at the ground as the sun is setting, the stands now deserted and silent, and a lone ball sits reminding us of the epic journey we have come on:

Youtube link 1
Youtube link 2
Youtube link 3
Youtube link 4

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Cold War Classic #8: Finland vs East Germany, 1986

Our regular guest series over on MuseumOfJerseys.com is back, with installment number eight of the Cold War Classic. In each edition we usually discuss a vintage east vs west international matchup from the Cold War era, specifically relating to the amazing and fascinating kits of the time and their evolution. Detailed backgrounds are included, and all retro kits relevant to the story are expertly illustrated in glorious colour by MOJ top boy Denis Hurley. This time we look at branding and sponsorship on national team jerseys and focus in on two great nations – one which continues to exist to this day.

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Cold War Classics no. 8 – Finland v East Germany, 1986

…the brand we are talking about is of course adidas, which by the end of the era was being worn by the international football teams of every country in the eastern bloc. This apparent juxtaposition seems to prove that links to the west were more acceptable than may have been perceived, at least on state level, and that capitalist practices such as shirt branding were apparently compatible with communist ideals (even if trefoils were half-heartedly covered or removed at times). In retrospect, the adidas trend ties in with the eventual fall of communism in Europe, as, logically, they would not have been needed if all was going positively on that side of the Iron Curtain.

We have theorised before on how the need to realistically compete at the highest level, including when it came to kit and equipment, eventually trumped any ideological loyalty. Plus of course, there is the money. Adidas’ three stripes had started to appear on national teams’ kits of the region by the 1974 World Cup, with Poland, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria all donning the distinctive feature at the tournament. The Poland away shirt even displayed a trefoil too. Czechoslovakia were next in 1976, followed by Hungary, the USSR, Romania and Albania in the following years.

The last domino to fall was East Germany…

Read on

 

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What Football Is Supposed To Look Like #7: Belgian League Special 1988-1993 (Gallery)

This 7th installment of WFISTLL signals the start of a new phase for both it and our other gallery series, as we will begin to focus on such themes as specific leagues, stadiums, competitions and other aspects. But don’t fear, the original format of a “random” selection of classic scenes shall also continue.
We start this new era with a look at Belgium in the late 80s and early 90s, which it turns out was mostly a lot of riot police, police dogs, fences, pitch invasions, etc…

Scenes From The Gritty Belgian First Division, 1988-1993

Standard De Liege vs RSC Anderlecht, 05/01/1988:

K. Beerschot V.A.C. vs Royal Antwerp FC, 19/03/1988:

Royal Antwerp FC vs RSC Anderlecht, 19/08/1989:

KAA Gent  vs Club Brugge, 11/02/1990:

Club Brugge vs RSC Anderlecht, 1990/1991:

RSC Anderlecht vs Club Brugge, 1990/1991:

KAA Gent vs RSC Anderlecht, 1991:

RFC Liege vs Standard De Liege, 01/03/1991:

RSC Anderlecht vs Racing White Daring Molenbeek, 11/05/1991:

Eendracht Aalst vs KV Mechelen, 1991/1992:

KV Mechelen vs Royal Antwerp FC, 1991/1992:

Standard De Liege vs Club Brugge, 1992/1993:

Standard De Liege vs Royal Antwerp FC, 09/01/1993:

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Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8_KS4UwYPM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QMUEimGtfw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vVs2QRUlBA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjv7DtFJfS8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjgV7g7V3L4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjv7DtFJfS8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTeYBmfTqXo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gH6nBz2DDk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfZciQ5_F5s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RDT06JZXyw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yipbyy_7f9w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyjrW7HgNAo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdCeP9HPf_w

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Supporter Snap Back #2: Switzerland vs Scotland, European Qualifier, 11/09/1991

In this series we take a “quick” no-nonsense look at a given game, highlighting impressive kits, intriguing stadium architecture, and whatever else interesting that we can find. But must importantly, the supporters and their actions.
Click here for the previous installment with Parma’s visit to Vitesse in 1994. But now – on a date that would become noteworthy on exactly ten years to the day – we  go back to when Switzerland welcomed the Scottish horde for a European qualifier in 1991.

The early-mid 90s were a time in which Scotland and Switzerland would get to know each other well. Before our featured European qualifier game in September 1991, they had already clashed in Glasgow the previous October in the reverse fixture, and a month later in October 1991 Celtic were paired with Neuchatel Xamax in the UEFA Cup.

The two national teams had also been drawn together for the World Cup ’94 qualifiers and so would continue to play each other for a further two consecutive Septembers. The fixture came up again two years later at Euro 96, but after this it would be another ten years until the sides would next meet.

The Euro 92 qualifying group was a tough one with Romania and Bulgaria also strongly in the running, leaving only San Marino as the only team with no real chance of taking the one qualification spot up for grabs. With the two East Balkan countries not far behind, the game on September 11th in Berne was crucial for both teams and played on front of a suitably hot crowd.

Match File:

  • Switzerland vs Scotland
  • Euro ’92 Qualifier
  • UEFA Group 2
  • 11/09/1991
  • Wankdorfstadion, Berne, Switzerland
  • 42,012 spectators

As the teams are coming out we get our first shots of the crowd, with plenty of colour from both home and away fans:

The ever popular yellow and red Royal Banner/Lion Rampant flag of Scotland is well represented:

There is also pyro from the Swiss supporters, but equally notable is the celtic cross flag visible on the left – a well regocgnised symbol of right-wing nationalism in Europe:

Meanwhile, Scottish banners are being hung on the fence at the other end – the way they should be:

As the teams line up for the anthems, a flare can just about be seen in the left corner of the ground:

The small group of people to the left of the marching band is actually one of the best things on show, as it turns out to be a group of children fantastically dressed in Swiss league club kits, interspersed with national strips:

Speaking of kits, we should look at the teams. As the visitors, the Scottish anthem is first and here get a look at their classic early 90s goal keeper jersey – a category that we love (who doesn’t?):

The Swiss are even more 90s in their attire, wearing a unique kit made for them by little known manufacturer Blacky. This relationship came in between their stints with Adidas and Lotto:

The diagonal shoulder and shorts strips, as well as triangular brand logo, are all quite of reminiscent of Adidas’ new Equipment template from the time. But with the Swiss shirt having debuted the year before, perhaps inspiration had been drawn from the style to create the new Adidas look. Apart from the giant Swiss cross in the middle that is:

Click here for a closer look at a matchworn shirt  from the game.

On the bench, a Swiss coach is also decked out in an interesting training top which looks extremely similar to Chelsea’s Umbro made away shirt of the time, suggesting more plagiarism somewhere. The word Suisse is across the torso:

During the Swiss anthem red and white strips of material are unfurled in the fanatics section, and again the celtic-cross flag in the national-scoialism style is visible:

We then get a good look at the packed away section, with plenty of banners at the front:

One of which states “Pencaitland Boys Are In Berne; Pencaitland being a tiny village near Edinburgh:

While the captains shake hands and the team sheets are shown, we can see that more pyro is going off in the Swiss end:

The ground itself, the Wankdorf (unfortunately now demolished and rebuilt as the Stade de Suisse), has some interesting features. A wide gap at the half way line divides the supporters into two main enclosures opposite the main camera:

Large towers covered in advertising occupy at least two corners of the ground:

The Scottish section is separated from the home fans by a tunnel behind the goal and is noticeably more dense in bodies:

In the space of eight mins in the first half, the Swiss go 2-0 up. As the team celebrate one of the goals in heaving mass on the pitch while their manager pumps his fist, we also get a look at an excellent Adidas tracksuit being worn by what we assume is the extra UEFA official:

As half-time is blown for, the home fans celebrate what looks set to be a comfortable win to help propel them to their first Euros:

After the break it is evident that there has been more pyro, as clouds drift from the home end and linger above the pitch:

But it would be the away fans who next have cause to celebrate as their side pull one back only two minutes after the restart. We get a nice panning shot of the jubilation that  occurs in the immediate aftermath:

And then in the 83rd minute, Allie McCoist scores the equaliser for Scotland. Chaos in the away sector:

The game ends 2-2 with the result clearly favouring the visitors, who’s supporters celebrate as if a victory has been claimed:

We are curious to know what the red flag with a yellow circle that raises from the left is. If you know, as always give us a shout:

The draw would secure an important point for Scotland and the slip-up from the home side that would cost them and their fellow group rivals badly. As despite next losing 1-0 away to Romania, the Scots would end up topping the group on 11 points – only one point ahead of both the Swiss and Romanians.

Youtube link 1
Youtube link 2

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Retro Shirt Reviews #6

So far in our Retro Shirt Review series we have seen some beautiful obscure vintage tops from the 70s to the early 2000s, made by Erima, Puma, Reebok, Adidas and Umbro. Quite a selection of classic brands, and this streak continues now as we look at a jersey from another amazing shirt maker from the golden age.

  • Club: N/A
  • Year: Circa 1982-’85
  • Make: Admiral
  • Sponsor: N/A
  • Number: N/A
  • Similarly Worn By: Hull City

Well would you ever look at this absolute gem, produced by classic English kit manufacturers Admiral. The sky-blue shirt seems to be teamwear from the early 80s, originally part of a batch intended to be destined for a club to apply it’s crest, sponsor and numbers, but obviously for whatever reason this did not happen:

A cool blue line of trim runs through the white sleeve cuffs and v-neck collar – an extremely popular feature on kits at the time. Vertical shadow striping – another popular ’80s design – is also present and comparing the top of the shirt to the bottom in the picture above, the light and dark shade stripes switch depending on how the light is hitting them, which is pretty great.

Looking at the collar, you can see that the stripes aren’t exactly symmetrical which is a pet-peeve for some kit enthusiasts. However we’re fine with it here and the Admiral logo has been purposely placed exactly within a stripe to help make up for it:

Admiral had began to switch from their turn over/wing-collars of the ’70s to the v-neck design around 1980, most famously with the English national team shirt of ’80-’83. England’s away shirt was red at the time, but we like to imagine our jersey as a perfect fantasy third option for them, as the colour and style sinks up nicely with similar English blue alternate efforts from the period.

We can’t find anything identical to this template online, but among the closest is Hull City’s shirt from 1982 which is of a similar cut with v-neck and cuff trim, and while pin stripes were used rather than shadow stripes, they are also off centre (their follow-up 1984 shirt did feature stripes in different shades though, while keeping the pinstripes to border). Examining the labels, the same layout is used on both showing that our shirt could have originated as far back as 1982:

Being an ’80s shirt, it is of course a very tight fit. Which is a good motivator to stay in shape so it can be worn, but also makes it definitely not an option on a Monday morning after a particularly busy weekend. As mentioned, there is no number on the back, but here is a shot of it anyway showing more of that fabulous shadow striping and those tiny, tight sleeves:

In closing, this is one awesome piece of kit that we are delighted to have in the Pyro On The Pitch shirt collection as much as any actual team apparel (for which we can rarely identify the actual clubs that used them anyway). We leave with one last look at that iconic Admiral logo, placed lovingly within the shadow stripe all those years ago:

Bonus: International Selection

Bit of a cheat this time for our regular International Selection section, as we don’t have an actual football shirt to show. Instead we have chosen to highlight an excellent t-shirt that relates to that most nostalgic of tournaments for a certain age-group: the 1990 World Cup.

Yes, it’s the freaky geometric mascot of Italia ’90, named “Ciao”; the greatest World Cup mascot of all time. Let us see in a few years time if the 2002 mascots will have aged quite as well.

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