The Kick Off 2 World Cup: Competitive e-sports with a 25-year-old Amiga game

(credit: John Robertson)

Amidst rows of battered tables and chairs, some which look as though they've survived a few rough terms at a British state school, the world's best Kick Off 2 players are preparing to compete. The venue—nestled in the heart of Dublin and a stone's throw from the infamous Temple Bar district—is the former Williams and Woods chocolate factory, a grubby graffiti-covered building that's home to the city's burgeoning creative community.

Glamorous it is not, but there's a sense that this event belongs here. The gutted interior, with its peeling walls and windows that haven't been cleaned in years, give the building an artistic vibe, a feeling that what's created here might stand the test of time. This is not the kind of building that is concerned with trivial matters like fashions and trends—and I suspect that's exactly how the players like it.

After all, Kick Off 2 is hardly fashionable. Released in 1990 for the Amiga and Atari ST, the classic football game was a strong competitor to the Sensible Soccer series. Both were played from a birds-eye view, and both used just a single button to pass, shoot, and tackle. Misdirection and razor-sharp movements, as opposed to any intimate knowledge of skill moves or speciality shots, were the key to success.

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