RealSports Soccer


RealSports Soccer

Company: Atari
Model #:
John Seghers (Programmer) and Alan Murphy (Graphics)
Year: 1983
No (5200 only)
Originally called Soccer before the RealSports series was created


Although the sport never quite caught on in the US (despite what some diehard fans want you to believe), several soccer games somehow managed to get produced for the major systems back in the 80's.  And while the 2600 had two versions (Pele's Soccer and RS Soccer), neither was considered to be a great example of the sport due to the lack of depth in the their gameplay.  For most diehard soccer fans it was either NASL Soccer on the Intellivision or nothing, that is until Atari decided to create RealSports Soccer for the Atari 5200 and Atari 8-Bits.


True to its name, RealSports Soccer allows the player to select either five minute halves (which is about all the soccer I can take) or complete 45 halves (simulating the length of a real soccer game).  While you can play against the computer (with four available skill levels to choose from), as is the case with most sports games it's better to play against a friend (assuming you have any).  Once you've selected all your options you're ready to dive into the 'exciting' world of soccer!


Each team consists of five players, four fielders and a goalkeeper.  You control one fielder at a time (who is identified by his lighter shirt color), while the computer controls your other teammates.  Unlike on the 5200 where each player had access to their own keypad, players have to share the Atari 8-Bits keyboard.  The type of kick (low, medium, high, or ground) is selected by using the Z, X, C, and V keys or the [, ], ?, and Atari Keys depending on the player.  The player will use this type of kick until a different kick is selected.  Actually kicking the ball is controlled by the fire button although you can also use the fire button to try and steal the ball from your opponent by kicking the ball away from him.  The keyboard is also used to switch between players on the field.  Player 1 can use the first five keys in each of the three rows on the left side of the keyboard for this (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, W, E ,R, T, A, S, D, F, G) while player 2 uses the keys on the right side of the keyboard (9, 0, Clear, Insert, I, O, P, Up, Down, K, L, ;, Left, Right)


The Atari 8-Bit version of RealSports Soccer follows most major soccer rules (unlike RS Soccer on the 2600), and issues penalties on a regular basis. RealSports Soccer also including all the standard penalty plays such as corner kicks, goal kicks, and throw-ins. This adherence to the rules makes RealSports Soccer particularly impressive and much more appealing to true soccer fans.



Although RealSports Soccer has a fairly realistic scrolling play field, there were one or two concessions that had to be made to keep the game all on one screen.  When a player is defending he can have his players run off the screen and appear on the other side!  Not only does this make for some interesting plays, but it can dramatically change the balance of the game if used properly.  This "wraparound" technique was added to keep the defending players from being scrolled off the screen and out of sight of the player.


The graphics are pretty good for an Atari 8-Bit game of the time.  The players are multi-colored (with little colored shirts), and the playfield is nice and big (no valley of the giants syndrome like with in the 2600 version).  The only complaint I have is that there's no crowd around the edges of the field, this give you the impression that you're playing in the middle of nowhere (then again programming a crowd willing to watch a soccer match might have been too difficult to attempt).  The sounds are adequate, although the sound of the players running up the field sounds more like a pack of horses than human beings.


It's unknown why the Atari 8-Bit version of RS Soccer never released.  It had received an official part number and sported a new and improved title screen (much like RS Tennis), but it didn't show up in any advertisements.  One possible reason is that using the keyboard instead of the 5200's keypads was a bit too cumbersome, especially for two people.  It's also possible that the Atari 5200 version wasn't selling as well as Atari had hoped so they quietly cancelled the Atari 8-Bit port.   Since the Atari 8-Bits had other soccer games available this wasn't a huge loss, but having an official Atari version would have been nice.



Version Cart Text Description
?/??/83 Soccer (c)1983 Atari Inc REV #1 SERIAL #10 Final Version


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