Viva Football was not a good game. Initially remembered in these parts as a clumsy but ambitious outsider in the 90s football race, our late 00s evaluation indicated that the intervening years had not been kind.

One imagines it’s even less enjoyable to play now, with the hideous sight of players’ bulky knees even more visually upsetting and only slightly offset by the mildly amusing sight of them high stepping during a goal celebration. Here’s a low quality video clip from our dusty archives:

However, I do still maintain that the central idea was a good one: play any World Cup ever, with accurate squads and kits and put right historic footballing wrongs. Witness Viva’s advertising campaign, which cheerfully employs the classic “we was robbed ‘coz of cheating foreigners” approach so favoured by our tabloid newspapers:

Of course, the tie-in with the World Cup might have gone better if the game had been finished and released in time for the tournament itself. By 1999 we’d been dumped from the tournament, effigies of David Beckham had been burned and extinguished, and manager Glenn Hoddle had been fired for suggesting that disabled people were paying for sins in a previous life.

Footy games of old did sometimes have classic modes, where you could play matches from the past, but always as a bit of a side feature. With official World Cup and tournament games no longer released as stand-alone products, only as DLC (PES had Euro 2016, FIFA has the 2018 World Cup) you’d think a World Cup History version of FIFA, with all the kits, stadia and licenses, would be a winner (although, I imagine, potentially complicated and expensive from a licensing point of view).