RealSports Soccer (also known as Soccer, Football and RealSports Football) is a 1983 sports video game developed and published by Atari for the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 platforms, concentrating on the sport of association football.
The game was part of a series of games released under the RealSports title for the Atari 2600, including RealSports Football, RealSports Volleyball, and RealSports Baseball. With the launch of the Atari 5200 a new version of the game was also developed for it, originally known simply as Soccer. The game was Atari's second association football-themed game after Pelé's Soccer.
The 2600 version was programmed by Michael Sierchio, with the computer-graphics being designed by Jerome Domurat. The 5200 version was programmed by John Seghers. The game was written in machine code. The original cover for the 2600 version was designed by Warren Chang, whilst the cover for the 5200 version was designed by Steve Hendricks. A version for the Atari 8-bit family of home computers was also in development, but was it was cancelled in hope that it would sell more 5200 systems.
The game includes only three players a side, with no human-controlled goal keeper. The gameplay scrolls horizontally over a play-area roughly three screens wide. During play the human player controls the sprite with the ball, whilst the computer AI controls the sprites of the players that are off the ball. To switch player the player selects the player nearest to the ball by pressing a joystick button, though the player is selected automatically by a successful pass. The Atari 5200 version featured computer-controlled goal-keepers.
A review of RealSports Soccer in the March 1983 issue of the UK magazine TV Gamer criticised the high price of the game (nearly £30, or roughly £100 at 2020 prices), and summed up their impression of the game by saying "it's just football". The German magazine Telematch, in an April 1983 review criticised the lack of goalkeepers, the small play-area, and the general lack of realism in the game, ultimately giving the game a low mark of 4. A May 1983 review in the French gaming magazine Tilt also criticised the lack-lustre gameplay, though it praised the improved graphics over Atari's previous game, Pelé's Soccer. Tilt gave the game 4/5 for graphics but only 2/5 for its ability to hold interest. The 1984 Book of Atari Software criticised the lack of realism in RealSports Soccer for the 2600 platform, saying that it "lack[ed] the complexity and players to hold anyone's interest", and gave the game an overall score of "D". A review in the 1984 Software Encyclopedia was broadly positive about the game, particularly in head-to-head mode, giving it 7/10 overall.
An article in the November/December 1992 edition of Digital Press listed the game as one of the worst ever made for the Atari 2600, criticising especially the poor graphics, sound, gameplay, and controls. A review of the Atari 5200 version of the game in the November/December 1997 edition of Digital Press was mildly more positive, praising the improved graphics over the Atari 2600 version, and the impressive (for its day) analog controls, though also criticising the ease of scoring against the computer in the one-player version of the game, and gave it 5/10 overall.
The intellectual property rights for the game passed to Hasbro Interactive and were subsequently bought by Infogrames in 2001, which was subsequently re-named Atari SA. It was then re-released for the Atari Flashback 3 in 2011, which was the first console of the Flashback series made by the AtGames company. As of 2021, the game has been included on all subsequent Flashback consoles, including the Flashback 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and X.
- "Sneek Peeks". Atari Age. Atari Club. 1 (4): 10. December 1982. ISSN 0731-5686. Retrieved 28 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Join the RealSports Team!". Atari Age. Atari Club. 1 (6): 10–11. April 1983. ISSN 0731-5686. Retrieved 28 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Weiss, Bret (20 December 2011). Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984 A Complete Reference Guide. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. pp. 98, 147. ISBN 9780786487554. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
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- "Best 2600 Sports". Videogaming Illustrated. April 1983. p. 60. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
- Stanton, Jeffrey; Wells, Robert P.; Rochowansky, Sandra; Mellin, Michael (1984). The Book of Atari Software 1984. The Book Company. p. 383. ISBN 0912003049. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
- Jainschigg, John (August 2018). "The History of RealSports". Retro Gamer. Future plc (183): 44–49.
- "RealSports Soccer Credits (Atari 2600)". Moby Games. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
- "RealSports Soccer: Ansatsweise Mini-Fussball". Telematch (in German). April 1983. p. 18. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
- Kunkel, Bill, ed. (1984). 1984 Software Encyclopedia. Reese Communications Inc. p. 105. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
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- "RealSports Soccer: New!". TV Gamer. February 1983. p. 32. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
- "Football". Tilt (in French) (5). May 1983. p. 17. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
Nb. the title is "Football", but from the picture and the description this is clearly RealSports Soccer
- Oleniacz, Kevin (November–December 1992). "The worst of the Atari 2600, part 2 of 3" (PDF). Digital Press. p. 4. Retrieved 25 February 2021.CS1 maint: date format (link)
- Cooper, Jeff (November–December 1997). "RealSports Soccer" (PDF). Digital Press (34). p. 18. Retrieved 25 February 2021.CS1 maint: date format (link)
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