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The world of football and sports in general is in mourning. Diego Armando Maradona, a legendary Argentine footballer who marked an era in sport, passed away this morning. According to Argentine media reports, the soccer player also known as Pelusa suffered cardiac arrest at his home in a province of Buenos Aires. The former striker and coach who worked for teams like Racing Club; the Argentina and Dorados de Sinaloa National Team, was 60 years old at the time of his death.
Soccer and video games have been connected for several years. This is why we decided to pay tribute to Maradona by remembering his history with video games. This is an interesting journey, since Pelusa’s best years on the court were ones in which sports video games were just maturing.
It is also striking that Maradona had some controversies within the world of video games. He even criticized the gaming habits of characters like Lionel Messi. Thus, his relationship with gaming is a curious journey.
The first appearance of the name Maradona in a video game
As we mentioned before, Maradona’s best years on the pitch were before franchises like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer (formerly known as International Super Star Soccer) were born and popularized. This is why the mythical 10 of the Argentine team never had the opportunity to be on the cover of any of these video games.
However, that does not mean that his name never appeared on the cover of a video game. It turns out that in 1986 a game called Peter Shilton’s Handball Maradona debuted for Commodore 64; Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. In it the players had to put themselves in the role of Peter Shilton, the English goalkeeper who was the one who received the legendary goal known as “The Hand of God” which was scored by Maradona and defined the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals. As you can imagine, the name of the game is a reference to that moment.
Although it is a video game in which he does not appear as such, his name is on the cover. Thus, it can be considered as the title that began to write the history of Maradona in the world of gaming.
The first reference to Maradona in gaming
The era of unlicensed appearances and the first official appearance
Now, what can be considered the first appearance of Maradona in the world of video games occurred in a game that did not even have the official license of the footballer. However, it was clear that the developers had included it.
What happens is that in the early 90’s Seibu Cup Soccer debuted in 1991. The game distributed by Seibu Kaihatsu Inc. (a Japanese company specializing in arcade games) featured 10 of the Argentine national team with afro-style hair. Although it was an avatar without a name, the reference to Maradona was clear, which is why it is considered his first appearance in the world of gaming.
The ’10’ in Seibu Cup Soccer
Now, that is not the only game in which we could see Maradona unofficially. In 1993 SEGA released AWS Pro Moves Soccer, a game where Fluff appeared under the name Donadona. Nor can we forget International Superstar Soccer Deluxe, a Konami game where the Argentine star was represented by a fake player named Redonda.
Maradona’s first official appearance was in FIFA Soccer 96. There we could already select him as part of the Argentine team and see him with his real name. Sadly this was a year before his last official match, so we are already talking about the twilight of his career. So much so that he appeared as a substitute for Argentina, although it is hard to believe!
Piracy brought Maradona the world of gaming
Anyone who is a soccer fan knows that Maradona transcended the fields and became a true cultural phenomenon. What the Fluff could do with the ball made many see him as a god of sport and even idolize him.
Taking this into account, it is easy to imagine that there were those who put to work for Maradona to appear in the world of gaming. This regardless of whether it was piracy and a somewhat illegal activity.
What happens is that, as TV6 News tells us, in Argentina there were those who modified J. League Pro Striker 2 to create Argentine Soccer 96 for SEGA Genesis. It is a romhack with 12 of the teams from the first division of Argentina with all their players. One of them was Boca Juniors, the squad that Maradona represented.
There were Romhacks with Maradona
Maradona’s modern era in video games
Maradona is a legend in the world of video games. This is why many distributors worked hard to make it a place in their soccer video games.
For example, for many years Maradona appeared as a Pro Evolution Soccer legend. First he did it unofficially under the name Malgani, the best player on the Argentina Clásica team. Years later, Konami obtained the license and we were able to see the Argentine star with his name and real appearance in Pro Evolution Soccer 2017.
For his part, Maradona was also part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, a game in which he appeared as technical director of the Argentine National Team. On the other hand, from FIFA 18 we could find him as Legend of the FIFA Ultimate Team mode.
Maradona’s controversies in gaming
Now, Maradona was also the protagonist of some controversies in the world of gaming. One of them had to do with his appearance in Pro Evolution Soccer 2017.
At the beginning of 2017, Maradona threatened to sue Konami, this since they were using his name and image without his authorization. However, the Japanese distributor explained that they had the right to do so since they had reached an agreement with FC Barcelona, a team in which Maradona worked. In the end, both parties reached an economic agreement to end this discussion.
Maradona in PES 2017
On the other hand, Maradona also gave a lot to talk about when he criticized FIFA 18. In an interview with an Italian radio station, he pointed out that this installment had a serious error. What happens is that in matches between Juventus and Napoli at the Allianz Stadium you could see fans of the Turin team with Maradona banners. Let’s remember that Pelusa played for Napoli, a team with a strong rivalry with La Vecchia Signora.
“There are certain mistakes that cannot be made, especially when you are such a popular video game. I have already ordered my lawyers to solve the problem ”, Maradona attacked EA.
On the other hand, Maradona also criticized Lionel Messi, an Argentine forward, for preferring to play video games before facing the press or carrying out certain activities on the soccer field.
“He is a great player, but he doesn’t hit it. He goes to play the PlayStation before speaking. Now, on the field, he asks for it, wants it, seeks it, wants to make us happy. Along with Ronaldo, he is the best in the world, “Maradona mentioned in a talk with La Ultima Palabra, a Fox Sports program.” If I were to be the coach of the Argentine National Team again, I would not call Messi, but never say never. You have to take pressure off. We have to get the leader out of him that we want Messi to be, who is not going to be. You tell Messi ‘throw yourself headfirst into the stick’, and he prefers to play video games. Making him play the way I want, I would call him and make him play the way I know Messi plays. “
And to you, what did you think of Maradona’s story in the world of video games? Tell us in the comments.