World Challenge Soccer (1994)
With the World Cup going on in Brazil, I thought that I should talk a little about this game. This was a game that was never supposed to be. It was created as a ‘Gap Filler’ because Rescue 911’s release was delayed to introduce that game at a trade show. We needed a game that could keep the line going for several weeks. This was the spring of 1994, with the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament coming that summer.
We also knew that WMS/Bally has the license for “World Cup”, but their game wouldn’t come out until later, so we decided to make a soccer themed game. We only had 5 weeks to make the design the game (from initial meeting to production). This was the shortest development of any game that I was the game designer.
With that much shorter than normal development cycle, I had to take an existing design and modify it. We looked at what parts we had on hand and decided to use Car Hop playfield and add a couple of easy to make changes. The wire ramps, scoop, animated soccer player, and goal unit. The game did get completely new game rules.
We had actually made the design so, that the game’s ‘Soccer items’ could be replaced by ‘Hockey items’ and re-run the game as a hockey themed game if we ever needed another stop-gap game again. I had intended to replace the animated soccer player with a police car/hockey rotating lamp/dome if that happened.
Given the time needed to complete this game, the artwork was generic and the backglass was downright awful. The game’s product manager insisted on the giant shoe kicking a ball on the backglass, so this piece of art wasn’t the artist’s fault. He just did what he was told to do. But in the end, the game sold out and successfully filled the production gap I mentioned above.
I was happy with the play of the playfield/game rules and think that it is a better game than it’s low ipdb rating.