Written by: Rik

Date posted: November 8, 2010

This one’s a bit more up-to-date than the other ‘Brief History’ articles. Here I catalogue the numerous unsuccessful attempts to bring the world’s greatest game to our computer screens.



Graham Gooch Test Cricket is released for 8-bit systems. The graphics are poor and it’s unclear how much control you have over the action.

Developers Audiogenic declare however: “from 1985 to 1992 [it was] the world’s greatest cricket simulation” – coincidentally the period of time between the release of this game and their next.



Cricket Captain offers players the chance to manage a county and indulge in the tactical and management side of the game.






Ian Botham’s Cricket (pictured) by Celebrity Software is released. Despite official endorsement from ‘Beefy’ it’s pretty darn terrible. You’d think he’d have at least played it or something.

In Australia, Beam Software release International Cricket for the NES.



Graham Gooch World Class Cricket (pictured) is released on ST, Amiga and PC. In the face of zero competition it receives a lot of accolades, but it’s a stilted and limited game, which really isn’t all that good. Nevertheless, developers Audiogenic milk the game engine for all it’s worth during the next decade, under a variety of different names.

Also in this year, Zeppelin Games release World Cricket, and everyone agrees that it’s awful.



Following his batting world-record, Brian Lara’s face is plastered all over Audiogenic’s World Class Cricket and re-released by Codemasters on the Megadrive as Brian Lara Cricket.

Meanwhile, on the SNES, Beam give us Super International Cricket (pictured), a more light-hearted and action-packed affair which allows fast bowlers to move the ball in the air and off the seam, batsmen to venture out of the crease, and (best of all) collapse in agony if they fail to avoid a bouncer.



World Class Cricket gets another update for PC and Megadrive, known as Lara ’96 (pictured). It’s different to the previous version, but not by much.

Super International Cricket, meanwhile, is released on PC as EA Cricket ’96, except in the UK where good old ‘Beefy’ Botham slaps his name on the box and woodenly delivers a handful of FMV clips in exchange for a large chunk of cash. The game is called Ian Botham’s International Cricket ’96 and it’s sort of like Super International Cricket, but with additional and unnecessary video clips. Starring Ian Botham.



Beam/Melbourne House, in association with EA Sports, bring us EA Cricket ’97, featuring legendary commentator Richie Benaud and, inevitably, Ian Botham.

The game offers a greater variety of deliveries and shots than ever before, but despite being in (sort of) 3D, is let down by some poor presentation and, you know, the fact that it’s not much like real cricket.



Empire release International Cricket Captain, which, as in the similarly-titled Cricket Captain of the 16-bit era, allows you to get involved in the tactical nitty-gritty of county cricket – selecting a squad, setting the field and dictating the approach of your players, before settling down to watch your charges make a mess of it all through the 2D highlights package with commentary by the BBC’s Jonathan Agnew. Despite a few flaws, it’s surprisingly playable.

Later in the year, Codemasters release a revamped Brian Lara Cricket (pictured) for PlayStation.



Inevitably, PC players don’t get Brian Lara Cricket until several months after the console boys, but when it arrives, it does so to moderate acclaim, even if it largely conforms to the same template as the Audiogenic World Class Cricket series we’ve all seen before.

Meanwhile, EA surprise everyone by releasing Cricket World Cup ’99 (pictured) in time for the tournament itself. Screenshots, as well as positive reviews written by idiots, make it seem like it might be quite good. Unfortunately though, it’s not really finished, and aside from the stupid AI making it impossible to lose, a collection of laughable glitches (bouncers that only reach shin-high, anyone?) conspire to ruin the whole thing.

Over on the strategy side of things, International Cricket Captain 2 builds on the success of the original.



EA release Cricket 2000. Some people buy it in the hope that all the glitches from the last game will have been fixed. They haven’t though – it’s exactly the bloody same.

Empire release another annual update in the form of International Cricket Captain 2000 (pictured).




EA attempt to redeem themselves by signing up some of the guys who worked on Brian Lara Cricket and coming up with Cricket 2002 (pictured).

It’s very much like Brian Lara Cricket, but with slightly better graphics and presentation, and one or two gameplay innovations. A certain someone pays £30 for the game, then £90 for a new graphics card for his computer so the game will work, then sells the game on eBay before buying the Playstation 2 version for a further £12.99. Why? You’d have to ask him.



Cricket 2004 is released. It closely resembles Cricket 2002 and Brian Lara Cricket – which means that it’s boring and rubbish and a bloody waste of time and money.



Ah, that glorious Ashes summer. With interest in cricket at an all-time high, Codemasters re-enter the fray with Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 (pictured). An all-new title, it boasts the inevitable flaws and gameplay quirks, but remains surprisingly playable.

Not to be outdone, EA give us Cricket 2005, which is the usual half-baked nonsense.



Ah, that terrible, depressing Ashes winter, followed by an equally terrible and depressing World Cup. EA throw a lick of paint onto their last game and call it Cricket 2007.

Codemasters do the same with Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 (pictured), although in their case it actually seems like they chipped some of the paint off (look, I mean that the game isn’t as good as the previous one, okay? Sorry about the clumsy metaphor).

Oh, and International Cricket Captain 3 brings the series, kicking and screaming, into 3D.



Ah, that unspectacular-but-ultimately-quite-good Ashes summer. This year we get Ashes Cricket 2009  from Codemasters, the usual Frankenstein’s monster of previous cricket games given a graphical update and rush-released in time for a major cricketing event.

Elsewhere, indie developer Mindstorm give us Cricket Revolution, a multiplayer-focused, limited-overs only affair, which some claim is the best cricket game out there, despite a lack of polish. I’ve heard that before, though.