Retro Gaming: The Kick Off 2 World Cup

Fans of retro football computer games will probably look back fondly on the Kick Off series as the moment when the digital interpretation of the beautiful game came of age. In November the Kick Off 2 World Cup is happening in Dublin, Ireland, and Outside Write will be there. We quizzed the organisers about the event.

Kick Off 2 World Cup 2015A recent feature I posted on the history of football computer games led to a conversation with the organisers of the Kick Off 2 World Cup, which – incredibly – I’d never heard of despite it now being in its fifteenth edition, and which also seems like a very, very good idea.

I signed up for the event in Dublin – which may well feature Kick Off programmer Dino Dini and graphic artist Steve Screech – and quizzed co-organiser Pedro Quaresma on the tournament’s background.

Outside Write: What was the inspiration behind the event?

Pedro Quaresma: The 15th Kick Off 2 World Cup will happen in Dublin, Ireland, on 7-8 November. After having been played all over Europe (UK, Greece, Italy, Germany, Holland, etc.) since 2001, my co-host Danny D. and I made a bid to organize it in Dublin in 2015.

Like previous years, it will follow a league format followed by playoffs, not very different from a football World Cup.

KOShirtThe Kick Off 2 World Cup has its origins in 2001, in the forums of the Kick Off Association where some employees of ANCO (the company that created the Kick Off series) debated the games with fans from all over the world. From there to organising the very first World Cup in Dartford [Kent, England] where the ANCO headquarters are, or were, located, was but a natural spell.

OW: Why Kick Off 2 and not the original Kick Off or another game? What’s special about Kick Off 2?

PQ: Kick Off 2 is a hard game to master as the game speed is very high and the ball isn’t glued to the players’ feet as is more common in other football games. The “cult” that started with Kick Off was improved in Kick Off 2 with the inclusion of an aftertouch allowing for a huge variety of goals – including midfield lobs!

OW: Will you be using original Commodore Amigas for this?

PQ: We will indeed! Amigas 500, 500+ and 1200 will be used. We try to preserve the original “feeling” as much as possible. One contender even manufactured his own joystick!

OW: I’ve not played Kick Off 2 since about 1993 when Sensible Soccer turned my head. Where can I practice? Because it’s nothing like Fifa 15 on the PS Vita!

PQ: There are several emulators like WinUAE that you can use on your PC and they will allow you to experience and play Kick Off 2 (and Sensible Soccer, of course) again. It is also possible to purchase a second hand Amiga and connect it to a modern TV or monitor. This shouldn’t set you back more than £50 (and some desk space…)

As for anecdotes, each year we run a competition called the “Game of Shame”, in which the two bottom players in the league play a final match for a special award – the loser of that game wins a “Shirt of Shame”, a funny t-shirt that we design beforehand. And both me and my co-organiser Danny are good candidates to winning it!

The Kick Off 2 World Cup happens in Dublin 7-8 November. For more information visit https://www.kickoff2worldcup.com/

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