Although it’s pretty laughable now, Jon Ritman and Chris Clarke‘s 1984 football game, Match Day, was a groundbreaking Spectrum game for the time.
Match Day wasn’t the first football video game ever made, but it was one of the first to at least make a reasonable attempt to translate the sport into something playable.
Andrew Spencer‘s famous International Soccer on the Commodore 64 came out in 1983, and is – if I were being honest – a league above Match Day in terms of graphics and playability. But let’s not get carried away here – both International Soccer and Match Day are little more than games of ‘ping pong’ disguised as football, and contain none of the subtleties of modern football video games, so are not worth splitting hairs over.
That said: Match Day is a game steeped in nostalgia. It was the first football video game that many games-players ever played (myself included), and in spite of the rather stunted animation and slow player movement many gamers managed to get a decent game of “soccer” out of it.
Two player games were particularly fun. Imagine two kids, huddled around the same rubber keyboard, trying to score a goal in this…
Game options are limited. “Play Match Day“, “Change Match Details”, and “Change Team Names” are it. You can change the team colours, obviously, and also choose between five different pitch colours. And that’s about it.
The 1987 sequel, Match Day II expanded on everything (as you’d expect), and if you were going to play just one Match Day then I’d recommend that over this.
More: Match Day on Wikipedia