Sensible World of Soccer was designed and developed by Sensible Software as the 1994 sequel to their 1992 hit game Sensible Soccer which combined a 2D football game with a comprehensive manager mode. All the players in all of the teams from all of the professional leagues in the world from that time are included, as well as all of the national and international competitions for all club and national teams around the world. Altogether there are over 1,500 teams and 27,000 players included in the game.
Although the gameplay is very simple (just eight directions and one fire button needed) a large variety of context sensitive actions can be performed easily without any predefined keys.
In 2007 Henry Lowood, Curator for History of Science and Technology Collections in the Stanford University together with game designers Warren Spector and Steve Meretzky, researcher Matteo Bittanti and journalist Christopher Grant compiled a definitive list of "the ten most important video games of all time". This list included Sensible World of Soccer alongside such groundbreaking titles as Spacewar, Tetris, SimCity and Doom. Sensible World of Soccer's inclusion in this list is notable on three accounts:- it is the only game in the list developed in Europe, it is the only sports game in the list, it is the most recent game in the list.
The main objective in Sensible World of Soccer is to manage a club of your choice, and either sit and watch them play in Coach mode—or control the players as you would in any other Sensible Soccer game, in Player-Manager mode.
Every team has got a squad of 16 players who have individual strengths—for example speed, shooting and tackling. Their price on the transfer market is calculated on basis of these values. The user can buy players from other clubs by offering an amount of money and/or players from their own squad in a part exchange offer. To be able to buy stronger players and to keep them it is necessary to earn money with success in the various competitions. In the time of a career which lasts 20 years the player manager can get job offers from other clubs and also from a national team, depending on his success.
"Goal-scoring Superstar Hero" by Jon Hare and Richard Joseph († 2007), sung by Jackie Reed, was composed for SWOS. The original song published in 2004 only had one verse, for the version of the games published in 2006 Hare wrote two more verses and he and Joseph re-recorded the song with original vocalist Jackie Reed, who also appears with the Sensible team in the introduction video to the game on some formats. The CD versions of the 2006 version of the game also include the 2006 studio recording as an audio track.
Sensible World of Soccer
The first release from 1994 for Amiga had some bugs which were fixed with a free update disk a few months later (SWOS v1.1). A PC version came later, in 1995, as floppy disk version and as CD-ROM (including voice commentary).
Sensible World of Soccer '95/'96
The '95/'96 Edition was an improved version for Amiga, with updated data, new menus and an enhanced gameplay (now with the possibility to do headers from standing positions and low passes with curling effect), which was also content of subsequent releases.
SWOS European Championship Edition
In time of the UEFA Euro 1996, the European Championship Edition (aka ECE or SWOSECE) was released. This version is equal to '95/'96 Edition, but included the actual European Championship as a preset competition with updated teams. This version was released for PC as well as for Amiga computers.
Sensible World of Soccer '96/'97The release of 1996 was the final version of the SWOS sequel, for Amiga (two disks) and PC (CD-ROM). It contained the updated data of the season and a new cover. It is mostly this version meant with "SWOS". It is also the base for the remake on XBLA 2007.
Also 1996 an upgrade was released in a double CD case of SWOS '96/'97, for PC (CD) and Amiga (disks), with this one the user was able to upgrade an older version of SWOS to '96/'97. Nowadays they are only interesting for collectors, because of their rarity. Later there was also a White Label version, it contained the European Championship Edition and was published by Virgin Interactive. Sometimes it was offered combined with the '96/'97 upgrade.
After the SWOS development ended in 1996, some fan projects tried to keep SWOS up-to-date, like the Creswell brothers from England who collected data from several internet forums and created an unofficial update to '97/'98 for Amiga with it. During the 1998 World Cup in France they made a special update, which was based on '97/'98 and contained also some new graphics. This "World Cup 98 update" was officially supported by Sensible Software and released on the Cover CD number 24 of the magazine "CU Amiga". But to use this update a hard disk installation was assumed which officially doesn't exist.
Also there were some demo versions (Amiga) on several cover disks. One of the most known is "Sensible World of Moonsoccer", where the user could try the in-game options, but the scene was based on the moon, with craters on the pitch and moon-like ball physics.
Any attempts since 1998 to bring back Sensible Soccer as a 3D game were not very successful and are not quite accepted as a part of the series by many fans.[who?] So it became quiet about Sensible Soccer after Codemasters' takeover of Sensible Software in 1999. So it was 2005 where Sensible Soccer was released again as a mobile phone game. Although the controls on mobile phones are usually a bit complicated, the game sold well enough to make new releases of the series possible. After a 2 Player Plug 'n' Play version, a small mini console with two controllers and TV-out (which contained Mega Lo Mania and Cannon Fodder besides Sensi Soccer), Codemasters decided to release Sensible Soccer 2006 during the World Cup in Germany. But the game seemed to be unfinished and had some bugs which Codemasters never tried to fix. About the same time they released with Sensible Soccer Skillz another game for mobile phones which contained just a few mini games such as penalties or corner kicks.Thanks to the current popularity of retro games, Codemasters decided to release SWOS on the platform of Xbox LIVE Arcade. It was originally planned for August 2007, but was delayed due to problems with the online mode. After its release, the online mode became the reason to pull the game from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. SWOS saw its final release two days later on 2 December 2007, without any official announcements.
The game is based on the Amiga version of SWOS '96/'97 and uses some elements of the PC release. The graphics are enhanced (HD mode), but during the game the user is able to switch to the classic graphics mode. SWOS is the first XBLA game which uses the technology of Massive Inc. to show commercials within the game, updated over the network. The game's price is 800 MS Points. Meanwhile there are packs of SWOS-related gamer pictures and themes, the price for both in each case is 150 MS Points and they can be downloaded on the Marketplace.
Errors in the online mode were reported by consumers in the official forum, but Codemasters announced that there are no plans for patches, bugfixes or other SWOS-related releases in the near future. In regard to this the previously announced Windows Vista version will not be released.
Competitions and events
In the early 1990s two official Sensible Soccer World Cups took place, the latest was hosted in the City Pride pub of Farringon and the winner was Simon Byron.
Since then, two official Xbox 360 SWOS tournaments were organized by Codemasters. During a press event for the XBLA release on 5 July 2007, the Challenge Cup took place in the Sports Café in London, which was won by Tomslav.
Additionally there was an official World Cup on 14 March 2008 at the Codemasters Connect 2008, Birmingham UK. The winner of this tournament and the prize money of £1,000 was Brian Davidson, beating his friend of 20 years Jamie Reid in the final 13–5.
Apart from that, SWOS tournaments are mainly organized by the fans themselves. Some of the best-known events are the World SWOS Tournaments (WST) of the "SWOS Witnesses" in Serbia and the tournaments of the ISSA (International Sensible Soccer Association) in Copenhagen/Denmark, both played with the PC version. But the game is also very popular in Poland and Germany, tournaments with more than 40 players take place there on a regular basis (on Amiga as well).
Furthermore, the world's biggest online community SensibleSoccer.de is organizing the "Sensible Days" once a year, a meeting of fans with international SWOS championships on PC and Amiga. The latest Sensible Days took place on the weekend of 18–19 August 2007 in Pirmasens/Germany. With more than 40 players from 12 nations, with top players from all existing rankings, it was so far the offline event with the strongest of known competitors overall. Philipp Habermann aka Playaveli from Germany was able to win both tournaments, thus being respected by many fans as the currently world's best SWOS player.
The upcoming Sensible Days will take place on 9–10 August 2008, again in Pirmasens. The SWOS tournaments of this event are the first time acknowledged by Codemasters, so both winners will be the first official SWOS World Cup Winners on PC resp. Amiga.
Online competitions take place since 2003 which are mainly managed via the SensibleSoccer.de website. A special version of WinUAE with Kaillera client (netplay function) makes it possible to play the Amiga version through the internet. Besides national leagues there are also European cups and other tournaments. Meeting point for online players is IRC channel #sensible on QuakeNet servers.
The Xbox 360 version of the game has its own community. The community is called SWOS Football Fantasy (SWOS FF) and it runs leagues and cups, with opportunities for players to create their own custom competitions.
There is also a community called Tournamaniac. This community also runs leagues and cups for SWOS.
- ↑ Is That Just Some Game? No, It’s a Cultural Artifact. In: The New York Times, 12th of March 2006
- www.swos-game.com – Official site
- www.sensiblesoccer.de – Biggest SWOS community
- www.swos.ws – Xbox SWOS Community
- swosfootballfantasy.forumcircle.com – Xbox SWOS Community Forum
- swos-football-fantasy.piczo.com – Xbox SWOS Community Rules/History etc.
- www.purplesensi.co.uk – Infosite around Sensible Software
- www.xbox.com/en-GB/games/s/sensibleworldofsoccerxboxlivearcade – Info site on Xbox.com
- www.xbox.com/en-GB/livearcade/sensibleworldofsoccer – Mini site on Xbox.com
- database.swos.info – Complete database of SWOS '96/'97
- www.codemastersconnect.com – Codemasters Connectfr:Sensible World of Soccer