A number of games are in one way or another related to Emyln Huhes International Soccer. Note that this page does not discuss EHIS derivatives or the Italian Retee! games, which have their own individual sections on the site.
Andrew Spencer's legendary football game, originally released in 1983 by Commodore as both Cup Final and International Soccer, bears an uncanny resemblance to Emlyn Hughes International Soccer. It ran on the Commodore 64 system and was available as both a cartridge and a tape. Although the game lacks some of the finer details of real football, including tackles, penalties or goalkeepers actually being able to do more than just bounce the ball back to where it came from, one must hand it to Cup Final / International Soccer that it is a pretty solid, no-nonsense football game. Moreover, the difficulty level is quite impressive, and with the computer opponent turned to skill level 9 it really takes more than just a few matches until winning comes easily. Yet, even with its relatively tough A.I., Cup Final / International Soccer is best enjoyed with a fellow human opponent.
Spencer's game does not include anything like the menu system that Emlyn Hughes International Soccer provides, and it is not possible to play leagues, tournaments or cups on it, unless of course one keeps the records by hand. Also the arcade section in the game is much simpler than in EHIS. You are only able to kick into one direction (straight ahead) in one way (a high, bouncing ball), and you have very little control over the change of the player you control (the game automatically gives you a new player when the one you had ventures off the screen). Similarly, neither the running speed nor the strength of the kicks are relative to any factors in the way they are in EHIS.
At the same time, however, it is rather obvious that Emlyn Hughes International Soccer borrows most of its arcade presentation from Cup Final / International Soccer, even if the pitch of the former is longer than the one of the latter, and the EHIS players look somewhat more lifelike (you can laugh now, but it's actually true) than in Spencer's title. Yet, the relationship between the games ultimately appears to have been more or less symbiotic in its nature. For, interestingly enough, the game was re-released by CRL the same year that EHIS was first launched (1988), this time simply bearing the title International Soccer, and making one suspect that they were trying to capitalize with the success of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer. In any case, regardless of the game's few shortcomings we salute it, for Cup Final / International Soccer easily stands as one of the archetypes of computer soccer gaming, having gone where no other sports game had so far gone before.
Released in 1995 for Amiga and Atari ST, Super League Manager has some points in it that make it rather special. Most interestingly, it gives no definite statistics of the players, save for after-the-match lists displaying their performance. Instead, you know your players from your coach's verbal reports just as someone who perhaps "plays best in the midfield" or "plays up front but can play anywhere on the field", as someone who "has been playing badly" or "has been playing very well", or anything in between. One might say that this is more realistic than, say, Championship Manager's endless numeric Excel tables.
The basic interface of the game is simple but effective, and just like the lack of numeric data makes the game feel more lifelike. What you basically have, and can see in the screenshot on the right, is a manager's desk through which you conduct your operations. Clicking the various notebooks and calendars brings you to relevant options (team selection, training, transfers, etc. etc.), and if the phone rings you can pick it up or ignore it (it's anyway probably just the board complaining about your latest spending spree). The fans send you mail, which you can respond to or trash. You also get newspapers showing you the latest results and job openings, and the secretary even brings you a cup of coffee for the day. If you don't drink it, she'll leave you a bitter note about it. Similarly, not watering the plant every now and makes it wither away. Indeed, the only really unrealistic part of the game is that it is a fantasy world, with teams like Folkford United and Stoke Berry populating the league where you work.
But what has this all got to do with Emlyn Hughes International Soccer? Well, for one thing, it uses the same David Whittaker tune that appears in the Amiga and Atari ST versions of EHIS. But more interestingly, the matches themselves can be watched, and if you choose to do so, it's the Amiga/Atari ST version of Emlyn Hughes International Soccer that you see, provided that you also have EHIS on a disk (later versions such as Amiga's AGA one replace EHIS with Wembley Soccer, though). Moreover, you can even play some of the games yourself (about one in six, they say)! In fact, Super League Manager may very well have made Graham Blighe the person who has had a significant part in the largest number of different computer football game titles. At least he must be right up there with Dino Dini.
There isn't terribly much to say about this game. It was released in 1990 by Audiogenic, and is pretty much the type of a quiz game that you can find in pub slot machines all over England. Many of the questions are pretty difficult, and most of them have nothing to do with football. There was, however, a version called Emlyn Hughes Sports Quiz which, like the name implies, concentrated on sports questions.
The only reason we feature the game here (albeit shortly), is that it bears the name of Emlyn Hughes in the title, and thus tends to come up when one searches for Emlyn Hughes International Soccer. Moreover, the music for it was composed by David Whittaker, who also did the Amiga and Atari ST tunes for EHIS.
Considering that Graham Blighe has admitted being a big fan of Pitstop II (by Epyx, 1984), one may quite easily see where Tunnel Vision, Blighe's first released game (not counting conversions), came from. The basic concept and the controls of this 1987 title are, after all, almost identical to Pitstop II. The only major differences are that instead of a track one has a tunnel, in addition to the driving one needs to be on the lookout for something called an orb, and the game takes place in the future. Oh yes, and you can shoot things.
Although the concept may not win prizes for originality, in some ways Tunnel Vision was still quite ahead of its time. For one thing it features audio speech, and it doesn't even sound too bad. Secondly, one can create new tracks or edit the existing ones. All in all a solid, yet perhaps not the most imaginative game from the man who, a year after its release, came out with Emlyn Hughes International Soccer.