PIXEL MEMORY – An ode to ISS Deluxe

Pixel Memory is a semi-regular feature where we’ll will talk about an old game that we think deserves a little more coverage.

International Superstar Soccer Deluxe was the greatest football game of the 16-bit era, no question. For as slow as FIFA was, ISSD was fast. For the odd, crushed player sprites of FIFA, ISSD had large, detailed players, some who where look-a-likes for real world players. It had a camera angle that mimicked a TV broadcast, huge range of animations, the fantastic scenario mode (‘Switzerland are 4-0 down against Brazil…you have 10 mins to turn the game around…AMAZING’) great AI, and of course, you could turn the ref into a dog.

That tackle was a bit...ruff...(sorry)

That tackle was a bit…ruff…(sorry)

The only thing FIFA had in its locker was club teams , but ISSD had a secret  stashed away to balance the board.

You charge down the wing as your generically named player (no player licenses here, ISSD didn’t need that shit),you cut in and take on two players. You pull out a few tricks (yeah, ISSD had full tricks too), flicking the ball over your head…you’re one on one with the keeper. That’s when it happens…The Sprinting-Slide-Dash-Shot, a move of physics-defying beauty. Your player drops to the ground as if he was about to perform a sliding tackle and hooks the ball into the air with ferocious speed, so fast that it seems to bend space an time around it leaving a streak of gleaming white in it’s wake.


The shot thunders home with pin-point accuracy ‘Goal…Goal…GOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL’ the commentator roars. Glory is yours all thanks to this crazy animation, something that couldn’t happen in real life but makes absolutely perfect sense in a computer game.

The ISS series may have died when 3D and the monolithic FIFA series took over, eventually being replaced by Pro Evo, but this animation will forever live on.

*Cut to monochrome slow-mo shots of the slide kick, sound tracked by ‘It Must Have Been Love’ – Roxette. Fade to black*.


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