EMLYN HUGHES INTERNATIONAL SOCCER is a soccer (or football, if you so insist) computer game first released in 1988 by Audiogenic Software Ltd. It debuted on Commodore 64, but due to Audiogenic's general cross-platform strategy versions of the game were quickly made also for Amstrad (1988), Spectrum (1989), Atari ST (1989) and Amiga (1990). Upon its release, the game was quickly hailed as the most realistic football simulation ever made, and especially the Commodore 64 version gathered rave reviews from nearly every computer magazine that it was reviewed in. (And no self-respecting gaming magazine could consider not to discuss it.)
With its immense popularity, Emlyn Hughes International Soccer also brought together many football enthusiasts, many of who still - almost 20 years after the game's release - play it almost daily. And they not only play it, but swear that it still continues to be the greatest football game ever made. Those enthusiasts, of course, are us, the Emlyn Hughes International Soccer Community.
BUT HOW ON EARTH can a soccer game made in 1988 still be the best of its kind? Surely, we hear you say, games like Kick Off, Goal!, Sensible Soccer, EA Sports' FIFA/UEFA series, and most of all Konami's Winning Eleven & Pro Evolution Soccer titles must have long ago beaten Emlyn Hughes International Soccer in every possible way?
Well, it really depends on what it is that you are looking for when you want to play soccer on the computer.
In a nutshell, we hold that Emlyn Hughes International Soccer is the most playable soccer game ever. You, of course, have every right to disagree, but hear our case first.
In our opinion EHIS has the perfect balance between realism and playability, as well as arcade and simulation. Therefore, while it is relatively easy to get into, it takes a lifetime to fully master the game. Just like real soccer, in fact. Even with more than 15 years of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer behind you, you will still occasionally come across tricks, moves and features you never quite experienced before. Not many games can claim such longevity.
Another interesting selling point is that in Emlyn Hughes International Soccer you can play the ball with virtually any part of your body. (Well, not really literally your body, of course.) This includes the feet (obviously), the shins (provides a nice tap from a mid-air ball), your thighs (if you intercept a high-speed ball with a tackle), nape (ouch!), chest (what control!), back and shoulders (trickier), as well as your forehead (impressive) and the back of the head (less so). In fact, unlike many other soccer games, EHIS even occasionally allows you to play with your hands and in doing so emulate the one and only Diego Armando Maradona from 1986. (See here.)
Because of its age, the biggest problem with Emlyn Hughes International Soccer is often perceived to be the fact that it may somewhat lack in the graphics department. Yet, in the end football surely is more about the game and less about the hair extensions, isn't it? In case you agree with us, we are happy to tell you that EHIS really concentrates on the game. In addition to the superb control it grants you over the player(s), it also features a very strong AI, a variety of different tournaments to play, several pages of tables and scoresheets, as well as an endless array of menus and settings that may even confuse at first. However, once you get the knack of it, you can set almost anything the way you want, whether it means editing in the latest World Cup team rosters or simply wishing to play with a pink ball on black grass. It's completely up to you.
THE REAL HEART AND SOUL of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer is the already-mentioned complexity of the control system that takes a fair amount of time to master properly. To illustrate why, take for example the running speed, which is linear. As you start your run, you accelerate until you reach the individual player's top speed. Turning around slows you down, unless of course you make an effort to keep your momentum by running a circle instead of simply heding straight to the opposite direction.
Passing and shooting function in a fairly similar manner. Instead of providing separate buttons for the two actions, the game handles them with the use of only one, and just like in real life a shot is simply a kick stronger than a pass. Consequently, the stronger (and more shot-like) you want the kick to be, the longer you press the button. However, you cannot kick harder than the player's current maximum available strength, which in turn depends on his running speed, current fitness level, as well as the ball's proximity.
Since there are no separate "pass" and "shoot" buttons, you also have to take care of the kick directions yourself. Depending on the settings, there are either 5, 3 or 1 kick directions. No one really ever chooses less than 5, of course, even if it may at first sound confusing that in order to kick a ground ball to your left, you need to press the button and turn your joystick 45 to 90 degrees counter-clockwise from the direction you are running to (e.g. "north-east" or "north" if you are running straight towards "east", "south" or "south-west" if you are heading "west"). Meanwhile, in case you want to kick a lobbing ball into the same direction, you have to press the fire button and press your joystick 135-180 degress counter-clockwise (e.g. between "north-west" and "west" if you are running towards east and want to kick the ball so that, from the players point of view, it flies towards left on the field, or to the general direction of "north-east").
These are just the basic controls. Backheels, headers and tackles are somewhat more complicated to pull off, but when you do, the feeling is that of immense pleasure. Especially so, if you score with one of your fancy moves. And, it must be stressed, after a bit of practice the controls become perfectly intuitive, and you will never need to think about them on the technical level again. Like walking, once you learn to move in Emlyn Hughes International Soccer, you will never forget how to do it. (And if you are like us, you will continue making those moves even while sleeping.)
IF THIS HAS GOT YOUR MOUTH WATERING, and it certainly ought to have, you should now be wondering where to get this king of games, Emlyn Hughes International Soccer. Like was mentioned, EHIS was originally created for Commodore 64, and despite of all the other versions we here at ehis64.net firmly believe that it still plays the best when loaded on that computer. However, you may not actually be lucky enough to own a Commodore 64, and although eBay or similar websites may help you to get one, it is difficult to find friends willing to play with you on your C64.
Consequently, the easiest way to play today is on your PC or Mac. To do that, you simply need two things: a Commodore 64 emulator and the game file. (In fact, you can even use this method to play the game on your mobile phone, if you have got one of those fancy new Java-enabled phones.) The game file you can find from our downloads section, and there is a plethora of C64 emulators around, so a quick look at our links section, or a brief search with a search engine will certainly give you more emulators than you will ever find use for. We, by the way, as a community, use CCS64, as it allows online playing.
As a closing remark, one must still say that the most enjoyable way of playing Emlyn Hughes International Soccer is still in front of the TV, with a nice bowl of sweets, a bottle of soda and a good friend at an arm's length. (And before you wonder: having your opponent at an arm's length gives you the opportunity to disturb him/her at all the critical moments!) You can either play as two players against the computer, or compete against one other. Many a night have been spent that way, all around the world... *a long nostalgic sigh*
So, what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a copy of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer, and find out for yourself whether we are right in claiming that it, as a game where you need quick thinking, good reflexes, and most of all a lot of practice, is simply the Greatest Football Game Ever Made!
This page serves as a general introduction to Emlyn Hughes International Soccer. The sections are:
Emlyn Hughes International Soccer /ˈemlin ˈhjuːs ˌɪntəˈnæʃ(ə)n(ə)l ˈsɒkə(r)/ proper noun. A computer football (Am. soccer) game released by Audiogenic Software Ltd in 1988. Arguably the best ever.
EHIS /'ehis/ or /ə'his/ or /'iːhis/. acronym. Referring to Emlyn Hughes International Soccer.
Emlyn Hughes /ˈemlin ˈhjuːs/ proper noun. 1: A legendary footballer (Am. soccer player) remembered for both his skills and persona. 2: Used also when referring to Emlyn Hughes International Soccer.
-- Encyclopedia Emilynica
The cover used for the Commodore 64 version of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer
The following masters worked on the Commodore 64 version of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer:
Coding & A.I.
Graphics & animation
Other versions also had contributions from Terry Wiley and David Whittaker.
As we first and foremost endorse the Commodore 64 version of the game, the following screenshots are only from C64. You can find screenshots of the other versions on the different versions page.
Click the pictures to open them fully in a new window.
Kickoff between France and Italy.
Tough action at the midfield.
The French keeper saved this one.
A stylish goalkick (note the arms).
Leclerc does his best at the defence.
Both his team mates, as well as the opponents, look dumbfounded as Cappelletti slides the ball deep into the French net.
This is just one of the numerous menus found in Emlyn Hughes International Soccer.