Developed by: EA Canada
Published by: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Genesis, Mega Drive
Feeling Like: Mascot of the Rat’s Nest
If Sega did one thing better than Nintendo, it was sports games and everybody knew it. The Genesis was far superior to the Super Nintendo when it came to football, basketball, hockey, zombie/robot/monster hockey, and of course, soccer. I never had a Genesis or Mega Drive, so it was up to my young self to journey to friends’ houses to enjoy a completely different catalog of titles.
I won’t go into the details of how FIFA Soccer 95 plays because I’m sure it’s aged poorly. There’s a new soccer game released every year (ditto football, basketball, hockey…no zombie/robot/monster though, what the hell???) and the evolution is so great, you can hardly even call Fifa Soccer 95 a sports game anymore. So why do I have so much affinity for it?
One answer: the Rat’s Nest.
The Rat’s Nest was what we dubbed 3143 Cedar Hill Road when six of my friends crammed themselves into the four bedroom house in an attempt to shed any indication that they were anything but law-abiding, rent paying adults. Who happen to engage in more frequent debauchery than they ever did in high school.
My work schedule in the summer of 2004 worked perfectly to coincide with theirs; I finished my whale watching office shift at 10pm each night. A little dark out for whale sightings by 8:30, but I do what I’m told. I’d go over to the Rat’s Nest and proclaim that I was starving, and that we should order pizza. Since the majority of the inhabitants were either in their cups, stoned or both, there rarely was a debate on this proposition.
For whatever reason, the only console hooked up in the main room was a Genesis and the only multiplayer game they had, apart from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, was Fifa Soccer 95 and a house-wide rivalry was born.
Rules were quite simple; nobody cared about any kind of rules, save for don’t turn off the TV or console if you were losing. Picking of hilariously bad teams was encouraged. Teams that had high “Tackling” skill were quite popular. I remember some truly epic battles between Iraq and Hong Kong. I mean, considering how bad we were to begin with, it likely didn’t matter which teams we controlled. Inebriation certainly didn’t help us play better, but overall enjoyment skyrocketed.
It was irrelevant if one scurrying occupant was present, or a whole houseful. Fifa Soccer 95 was always available for a session. The controls were fine, the graphics were fine, the crowd in the stands watching our drunken escapades were hilarious. Combine that with Athena’s pizza (one of the few places that would deliver at 2am) and very little responsibility and you have far too much nostalgia for such an archaic game. But then again, NHL 94 is still considered to be one of the best hockey games ever, for reasons about as good as mine.
The Rat’s Nest, sadly, is no more. Not long after a New Year’s Eve party that was broken up long before New Year’s Day, the boys moved out and a new house emerged from the ashes. Who inhabits those walls, and whether they like Fifa Soccer 95 or not, will remain a mystery.