Sensible Soccer completely redefined football games when it first burst onto the Commodore Amiga scene back in 1992. Jon Hare, Chris Yates and co. took the top-down viewpoint of Kick-Off, zoomed the viewpoint out a touch and came up with a fast, flowing and intuitive take on footy that was instantly playable, yet full of hidden depths. Its eventual evolution into Sensible World of Soccer took that depth even further via a succession of tweaks to the gameplay and a hugely absorbing management element. It was a heady combination, and by the 96/97 version, Sensible had refined it to a point where it was pretty much as good as it could get.
By then, the Amiga market was as good as dead as a commercial platform, and the PlayStation revolution ushered gaming (and the genre itself) into the third dimension. With Sensible hopelessly unprepared to make the transition to the new consoles - or 3D techniques in general - two poorly received versions of Sensible Soccer appeared before the company was eventually disbanded and its IP sold off to Codemasters.
Meanwhile, EA's FIFA completely captured the market, closely following by Konami with its ISS series, which then itself evolved into Pro Evolution - a situation which remains today, despite the fact that neither series appears capable of delivering on its potential, leaving many footy fans hankering after a game which could deliver on the fast-paced purity of the mid-90s SWOS titles. Sadly, despite having rich promise and some great ideas, Sensible Soccer 2006 arrived on the PS2, Xbox and PC pretty much an unfinished product. Another comeback thereafter seemed unlikely.
Where on earth is Sensible World Of Soccer? It's certainly not on Xbox Live Arcade. We wanted to know why - given how good it looked when we played it, and how sure Codemasters seemed about a summer launch - so we had a chat with Codemasters Online Gaming's Jim Brown. Here's what he had to say!
Sensible World Of Soccer will be hitting Xbox Live Arcade later this summer, Codemasters confirmed to Eurogamer today, and you'll be asked to pay 800 Microsoft points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.30) for the privilege of taking it home. So to speak.
The past can be such a sullied, thankless place to go and visit, especially during a blazing hot day in June. If you're not already minging with clammy anticipation, by the end of the experience you're spitting feathers with unquenched nostalgia, wondering how the passage of time could be so remorselessly disrespectful to our memories.