Long time ago in 1982 British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair decided to make computer which will not cost to much and which should bring programing to more people. After few not so successful attempts with Z80 and Spectrum 16K he made one who will become big success at that time ZX Spectrum 48K.
Rubber keyboard, 48 KB of RAM memory and 16 KB of ROM with slots for TV antena, power supply and tape recorder. Funny for today's standard, but good one for that time. After power on you were granted with BASIC where you could type commands or do some programming. Loading of the game could last up to 5 minutes. Here is his majesty:
Spectrum had 4 working modes for keyboard K, E with symbol shift, E without symbol shift and L where K stood for commands on key, two Es for commands above and under key while L were for typing letters one by one. Also symbol shift alone in L mode typed red symbol on key. As kid and computer novice I need all day to figure out how to enter load "" following by enter to prepare it for loading the game.
First games were some space conquest and text adventure which I quit quickly. Then one day I ordered tape with football simulation called "Match Day" made by British programmers Chris Clarke and John Ritman. Unlike other football simulations at that time with very small and ugly graphics this one looked very good. Players were big, pitch was real looking and it was playable despite some glitches like possibility to score a goal directly from out. As sport and football fan I have been hammered to the chair in front of television playing games over and over. I was losing catastrophically on every game, could not even score a goal.
One day I called for "friend help" a kid next door Ivan and show him that cool game. He somehow managed to score a goal on cheating by throwing the ball from out to the goal and to lose with just 7:1 or so. We could not believe that we finally scored a goal. After days of practicing I figured out how game works and how I should play, I knew ways how players move on the pitch, how to get in chance and the most important how to shoot with big probability to score a goal! Then things turn around and I started to win with big goal difference. "Revenge to the AI" time has come! :)
Game had no fouls, goal keeper could only jump and deflect the ball if ball hit him. Fire button while moving caused long ball, while stand and fire caused low ball. Players could not jump to make headers, but the ball could hit player's head and deflect. You could shoot the ball in out or make corner kick. Building the ball before receiving the ball and obstruction of opponent players movement were crucial in the game. Shoots from 16-20m with long ball from askance were the most difficult for goalkeeper to save.
Before the game player could choose to play in cup mode or single game or to play versus other human. He could setup controls, choose colors and names of both clubs and game length. Five minute half time was the best duration settings, 15 and 45 modes made game last for to long and score looked more like in volleyball or basketball. I chose always 5 minute. Player also could choose one of tree levels for AI: amateur, professional and international.
At the beginning players went out with little cartoon with beep beep version of "The Match of the day" song. I played that game so many times that that song will be forever in my ears. (Today it is melody for ringing on my mobile phone.)
Today you can easily make fuse Spectrum Emulator on your Linux PC and try that game. Well I did it recently to revive some old times and discover that even now more than 30 years after I can still beat computer on International level with at least 5:0. Playing of that game is for me something like swimming never to forget.
Later they made out Match Day 2 with some improvements like player jumping and making headers, setting speed of shoot with dots above head, better move of goal keeper, more aggressive opponents on the ball, but for some reason that second part never came into my heart as first one. Even new song "When the saints go marcing in" at the beginning could not help because players were fatty and smaller and goal keeper looked like monkey who can only jump in place to tip the ball over the bar. Also dots above head for strength of shoot were annoying.
Bigger disappointing was Match Day version for Spectrum 128K which I bought later expecting that they made possibility for fouls and penalties in the game just to discover that "International Match Day" for Spectrum 128K was the same game like for 48K without any improvements.