Kick Off is a soccer simulation computer game series designed by Dino Dini and released by Anco for various home computer platforms in 1989. The game was received well by the games industry at the time and won many awards. There have been numerous sequels and ports to many home computer and game consoles. After Kick Off 2 Dino Dini signed a contract for Virgin Games and later games in the Kick Off series are developed by Steve Screech.
Anco published the first versions of Kick Off for the Amiga and Atari ST and it was immediately considered a pioneer of soccer computer games, thanks to the new original features never included in a football game before.
With Kick Off, contrary to all its predecessors, the ball did not stick to the player's feet, but instead was realistically kicked ahead from the players. This added an important degree of difficulty and skill requirement at the same time. This, along with all the new original features like action replays, players with different characteristics, different tactics, fouls, yellow cards, red cards, injuries, injury time and various referees with different moods, made Kick Off and especially its successor, Kick Off 2, one of the most successful football game series ever. Kick Off enthusiasts still play tournaments on original Amiga computers every year.
Even though versions for other computers followed, the Atari ST and especially the Amiga versions were by far the most popular. Kick Off was first developed for the Atari ST and then ported to the Amiga.
- ST Action - Highest accolade they could give.
- Amiga User Int - "Best computer game ever" 97%
- The One - "Ultimate soccer simulation" 96%
- ACE - "Brilliant, BUY BUY BUY" 92%
- Amiga Format - "Best footy game to have appeared on any machine" 94%
- ST Format - "What a game! gem to play. Magic" 90%
- C&VG - "Championship winning material" 95%
- The Games Machine - "Probably the best sports game ever" 92%
- Commodore User - "No other footy game can touch it" 90%
- Amiga Action - "Surpasses all other football games" 93%
- PCW - "Nothing short of brilliant"
- New Comp Express - "Computer football event of the year"
- Zzap!64 - "So realistic, so fun, and soooo addictive" 96%
- Awarded UK. 1989 INDIN Best 16 Bit Product
- Nominated UK. 1989 INDIN Best Programmer (2nd place, the winner was "Bullfrog" for "Populous")
- Awarded 1989 EMAP Images Golden Joystick Award Best 16 Bit Product. (EMAP is a major UK magazine publisher).
Kick Off 2
In 1990 Kick Off 2 was released by Anco. It was even more successful than its predecessor. Kick Off 2 retains the pace and accuracy of the universally acclaimed Kick Off, with a full size multi directional scrolling pitch and the players, markings, goals etc., in correct proportions. Both teams play the game strictly according to tactics. Players move into position to receive passes and gain possession. The ball, as in real game, travels ahead of the player thus making a tackle a matter of skill rather than of choice.
Kick Off 2 like real soccer, requires skills in ball control for passing, dribbling, shooting etc. Accuracy in shooting, the ability to swerve or bend the ball to score, when taking free kicks need a lot of practice. The practice option allow to practice the ball skills and set pieces, without being harassed by the opposition and practice the skills to perfection. If two players are to team up, it is an ideal opportunity to practice ONE - TWO up and down the pitch.
Each player on the pitch has a unique combination of attributes and skills suitable for the skill level at which the game is being played. An International is superior to 4th div. player in all departments. One of the most useful options is the provision to set the skill levels of both teams independently. A novice with International Squad can give a professional with 4th Division Squad a run for his money.
There is a league and a cup tournament with sudden death penalty shoot outs, in case of a draw. The teams in the league are on the whole evenly matched but with different styles of play and the player skills to match, that style. There is an option to load your own team from "Player Manager" along with your own tactics, to play against another "Player Manager" team in a single game or enter league and cup tournament.
The special events selection in the main menu allows data disks to be loaded. Kick Off 2 also provides the facility to change strip colours and on expanded Atari ST's (1 MB or above) there are additional sound effects. The "Action Replay" facility allows you to see the goals at normal pace or in "Slow Motion" and compile your own "Golden Goals" disk. There are 24 referees and have their own distinctive temperaments. Some referee turns a "blind eye" and someone has a pack of red cards to distribute. On the other hand, like human beings, they have good days and bad days.
Super Kick-Off is one of the follow-ups of Kick Off and Kick Off 2 for Gameboy, SEGA and SNES. Like all games in Kick Off series the ball wasn't glued to the footballer's foot. But there was a button to stop the player keeping the ball, so non-experienced players could turn easier. Super Kick-Off was slower than the original game.
Kick Off 3
In 1992, a sequel, Kick Off 3 was in development. The game wasn't released in this form, as Dino Dini left Anco in 1992 for Virgin Games, where he developed Goal!, released in 1993. Goal! featured similar gameplay to Kick Off 2 but also added one-touch passing as seen in Sensible Soccer, and more advanced menu systems and options (although some kit colours were still wrong). This received generally good reviews, but does not have the same lasting popularity as Kick Off 2.
In the next year Anco released Kick Off 3 developed by Steve Screech, a totally new game with nothing in common with Kick Off 2. The game didn't receive as good reviews as its predecessors and didn't gain the same popularity.
Kick Off 96, 97 & 98
In 1996 Anco released Kick Off 96 for Amiga and Windows. The game received average reviews. In 1997 Kick Off 97 was released for Windows. The game received better reviews than Kick Off 96 but still didn't become popular. Later the same year Anco released Kick Off 97 which received poor reviews.
In 2001 Steve Screech started a project called Ultimate Kick Off with the help of an early established Kick Off Association. The game was released by Anco in 2002 for PC with the name Kick Off 2002. The game received poor reviews and did only sell 5000 copies. and Mac OS. Later a sequel called Kick Off 2004 was planned but it was never released.
In 2005 Steve Camber started his project called Kick Off 2 competition version. An updated version of the classic game for Amiga improving its features using reverse engineering on the original Amiga game.
Games in the series
Kick Off series include the following games:
- Kick Off (1989)
- Kick Off Extra Time (1989)
- Franco Baresi World Cup Kick Off (1990)
- Player Manager (1990)
- Kick Off 2 World Cup 90 (1990)
- Kick Off 2 (1990)
- Kick Off 2 1MB (1990)
- Kick Off 2: Giants of Europe (Data Disk) (1990)
- Kick Off 2: The Final Whistle (Expansion Disk) (1991)
- Kick Off 2: Return To Europe (Expansion Disk) (1991)
- Kick Off 2: Winning Tactics (Data Disk) (1991)
- Kick Off 2: Super League (Expansion Disk) (1991)
- Kick Off 2: Maths Disk (Expansion Disk) (1991)
- Super Kick-Off (1991)
- Kick Off 97 (1997)
- Kick Off 98 (1997)
- Kick Off 2002 (2002)
- Kick Off 2 competition version (2005)
The Three times Kick Off 2 World Champion Gianluca Troiano has started a project called Throw In. The game is a remake of Kick Off 2 but with a 3D engine. The fast action gameplay with Kick Off 2 gameplay is remained but with possibility to watch the match and replays from infinitive views and a new attractive GFX engine.
The Kick Off Association
Membership is open to everyone and is free. The Kick Off Association approximately has 1400 members. All members can exchange ideas on the partnership sites, the KO Gathering, Kick Off World and kickoff2.com. The KOA has been involved in the organizations of various international tournaments of Kick Off 2 and arrange a Kick Off 2 World Cup every year.
The KOA actively participates in the research and development of the new versions of Kick Off as Kick Off 2 competition version, Kick Off 2002 and Throw in. All the testers for these games belong to the Kick Off Association.
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/search/quick?q=Kick+Off&x=0&y=0
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/news/6100674.html
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/kick-off
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/kick-off-2
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/super-kick-off
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/super-kick-off
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/kick-off-3
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/kick-off-96
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/kick-off-97
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/kick-off-98
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/kick-off-2002
- ↑  Kick Off 2002 review at computerandvideogames.com
- ↑ Games - Articles - Kick Off 2002. Apple (1999-04-05). Retrieved on 2009-03-09.
- ↑ http://www.camber.demon.co.uk/KO2CV/
- ↑ Kick Off series at mobygames.com
- ↑ Kick Off 97 at computerandvideogames.com
- ↑ Kick Off 98 at mobygames.com
- ↑ Kick Off 2002 at mobygames.com
- ↑ http://ko-gathering.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23
- ↑ http://www.ko-gathering.com/wiki/index.php?title=Throw_in
- ↑ http://www.ko-gathering.com/wiki/index.php?title=KOA
- ↑ www.ko-gathering.com
- KOA Kick Off Gathering - KOA (Kick Off Association) Official International Kick Off Fan Site (organising Kick Off World Cup tournaments since 2001)
- Kick Off 2 World Cup - Home of the annual Kick Off 2 World Tournament
- Kick Off at World of Spectrumfr:Kick Off