Soccer is a sport well suited to arcade games, and over time developers have delivered. These games range from the lightweight to the hardcore, and some of them are outright addictive!
#6 Kick and Run (1986)
As you might imagine, given its early release date, this game distilled soccer into its most basic form and did exactly what it said on the tin. It’s certainly not the deepest game you’ll find on the list, and nor was it graphically advanced, but Taito’s Kick and Run had and still has an appeal all of its own. The retro sprites, the classic arcade soundtrack, and the pure simplicity of the gameplay make this a gem that’s always worth revisiting.
#5 Virtua Striker 2 (1997)
Sega‘s Virtua Striker 2 is an interesting proposition. It didn’t fare well with reviewers due to the Dreamcast’s clunky controls, but it nonetheless shone in its original arcade format. The game managed to combine tactics (an overhead field view at the bottom of the screen let you know your current formation) with fast-paced, simple mechanics. Its 3D graphics were also a technical marvel at the time.
#4 World Cup Millennium (2000)
The newest addition to the list, this offering from Tecmo caught the tail end of the arcade craze and didn’t quite get the plaudits it deserved. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most tactical games on the list, perfect for lovers of stats, strategy, field placement, and soccer betting. It might look slightly rough around the edges, but this game established many of the tropes that would later come to define console games.
#3 Soccer Brawl (1995)
Soccer Brawl earns its place on the list for sheer strangeness. The game saw heavily armored and bionic players duke it out on the field in the future. You weren’t limited to kicks and sprints, either. Players could resort to violence to win the match. This, coupled with its quirky and sometimes outright bizarre presentation, assures Soccer Brawl of its classic status and explains why it’s available for download on most modern consoles.
#2 Seibu Cup Soccer (1991)
Due to its ingenious use of the side-on-camera perspective, Seibu Cup Soccer is still one of the fastest feeling soccer games that you can play. It encourages bursts of speed, quick thinking, and tactical prowess. Hesitation is usually punished with a rough tackle, and if you can’t keep the pace, you’ll quickly fall behind. Of all the titles on the list, it’s this one that plays the most modern. The graphics (obviously) don’t hold up quite as well, but the bold colors are still a sight to behold.
#1 Soccer Superstars (1994)
Developed and released by Konami, this game encapsulates everything that was great about the Golden Era of arcade games. Unlike many of its predecessors, it was extremely fast-paced and fluid, so it had genuine tactical depth. The game made incisive runs and sudden bursts of speed possible. Existing between the era of 2D and 3D graphics, the game has a unique style and genuine retro appeal. It’s notoriously addictive, too.