This article is for the retro video games lovers out there. And specifically those who know their soccer games. For there is a debate that has gone on for decades now about which is the best football simulation. Followers of the beautiful game were either in the FIFA camp, or like me, you were dedicated to Konami’s ISS Pro. This all started back on the original PlayStation.

So what was it that made ISS Pro a cut above the rest? For one, it was the eye candy graphics. Notably the checkered home kit of Croatia – a sight to behold. Never before had it been rendered in such in detail. And the different hairstyles of football more famous players were a real highlight, such as Valderrama’s afro. Ravanelli’s grey shorn locks was another, two players worthy of such attention to detail.


But it’s not all about looks. For if it were, FIFA could well have won the battle with their releases in later years with officially licensed replica stadia fantastically captured for the avid gamer. For me the battle was won with the classic controls and tight gameplay. Not always easy to pick up and play, but the most rewarding whenever a goal is scored. In the early days of ISS Pro that goal would come via the execution of the through ball.


It was all about getting it right; time it wrong or over hit the pass and possession would be conceded and you may well be made to pay. You would have to bide your time. Only a few occasions over the 90 minutes would present the opportunity to play it but get it right as you hit the triangle button just as your striker steps away from the back defensive line and your front man is presented with a one-on-one chance with only the ‘keeper to beat. A personal favourite was the ability to lift the ball over the oncoming ‘keeper as he rushes out, going to ground too early – but this was only after hours (and hours) of practice.


And what for FIFA? I do dip my toe in the FIFA camp with each new release. Each time believing the hype that this year’s is the best yet. For a period it was actually because I didn’t have the time required to get any level of enjoyment from the Pro Evolution Soccer series, although they’re working on that. I’d liken my flirtation with FIFA to eating a McDonalds – it’s an easy win, guaranteed satisfaction. But there’s an aftertaste and it’s bad for you in the long run. FIFA is nice because it has all the official teams and kits and leagues and stadiums and players and even the boot sponsorship (!).

ISS Pro Evolution Series

But despite no longer reading Oranjes004 (see The Netherlands team back in Pro Evolution 2) FIFA’s ability to let you execute a back-heeled volley from the edge of the box with Neymar will never give me the same satisfaction as Miranda poking one in at the far post, sneaking in unmarked for a battling 1-0 away win.

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