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Pro Soccer (Arcade)


Company: Data East
Year: 1982
Platform: Arcade
Controller: Two-button joystick.


Early 80s, sports videogames prove to be successful in home consoles where it’s desirable that a single person could play the same videogame during hours.

However in arcades, the opposite is the goal, because there can be a lot of people waiting to play a videogame, and it’s mandatory to find a way to not let a single player monopolizing the same machine per hours, and at the same time, not making the videogame too short so the videoplayer feels cheated.

Usually in this situation, the videogames change the rules of the sport, or tweak with situations often unavailable during a real-time match. As with many things in life, there were success, and there were failures with this thinkering. This game falls into the second group, but we can not critic lack of trying.


That radar at the top of the screen is not exactly a good sign.

Any match starts with the virtual footballer controlling the ball, using the joystick the videoplayer can move the virtual footballer, and it’s possible to pass using one button. At the top of the screen there is a radar where you can locate teammates located forward in the field. Smooth scrolling was not developed yet, so the game stops for a brief time and then resumes where you now see the rival goal. Up until that point, there are nothing that differentiates this videogame from other videogames of this sport. The main problem comes with the elements that are not seen in a real-life football association match.

You see, this videogame uses the common (at the time) concept of lifes in videogames, translated here as a counter of times where the videoplayer can “fail”, meaning, the videoplayer must avoid certain situations. It’s true this concept is meaningful in videogames where you have to avoid missiles from the enemy, or failing in a hole, but not in sports. In this videogame, some of these situations are:

  • The rival goalkeeper stops a shoot to the goal
  • A shoot to the goal leaves the field
  • The rival deffense intercepts the ball and kicks to the lowest section of the screen.
  • Being caught Offsde, which I think, it’s probably the first videogame to implement it.
Well, at least I scored… I think.

Which, at least to me, can be quite disorienting. We have already written of other videogame where there is a kind of sudden-death to finish a match when in real life, that does not happen often, but can happen. Not in this case, where a match ends when the referee whistles the final of the match when the ball goes around the midfield, but not at the beginning of the match.

Finally, a scoring system is implemented, mandatory for videogames at the time, but often irrelevant in an sporting match. This system depends on scoring goals and completing passes.


There was a port to the Data East Cassettes system, but I did not found meaningful differences.


A situation I found both fascinating and funny, are the schemes designed during the first years of videogames developing deciding what could work in sports videogames and what could not work. These first experiments could be really funny and interesting sometimes, but often not. I recommed this game only as a curiosity, or if someone wants the challenge of scoring goals with such a handicap against.


Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.

Console Icon taken from Retroarch.

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