Cricket games have not quite the hit the heights of their counterparts in football, basketball and the NFL, but have always had somewhat of a cult following from a passionate fanbase. It’s symbolic of the sport that has thrived on tradition and loyalty from its supporters, and although the games may never have dominated the mainstream like FIFA they’ve been in the conscious minds of video game players.
Audiogenic were the first to make major strides to develop cricket into a functional computer game in the 1980s, using England legend Graham Gooch. It was produced for several consoles, including the C64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. Due to its popularity it spawned sequels as Atari and Commodore Amiga came to the fore as platforms for Graham Gooch World Class Cricket.
The critical and economical success paved the way for Brian Lara Cricket, which dominated the market in the 90s, much like the West Indian batsman did in the real sport. Audiogenic put out the first two series of the game, but Codemasters took it to the next level with the arrival of PlayStation in 1999. The game had an authentic feel with solid graphics and commentary from the BBC’s Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott.
Batting was a difficult task on the game due to the challenges posed by facing fast and slow bowling, while reacting to the conditions on the pitch. When you had ample time on your hands it was an enjoyable pastime, while the additions of commentary gave the game real gravitas, especially with Boycott’s criticisms when playing as England.
As a result of the success on Codemasters, in the early 2000s EA responded with a series of their own games simply named Cricket 2002 and beyond. These games lacked the charm of the Brian Lara series and were widely maligned, especially the 2003 version of the game for producing the worst graphics on Playstation 2. It was no surprise to see EA end their foray into the market after 2007, which was arguably the best that they had produced.
However, one of the best games ever produced for cricket was/is the management game International Cricket Captain. Taking on the angle of strategy rather than gameplay it provided fans with cricket’s version of football simulation games Championship Manager and Football Manager.
To this day it’s still extremely popular, offering fans the chance to guide nations or their counties to glory. It puts them in the position of Alastair Cook and the unenviable task of leading England to victory Down Under, which the Three Lions are currently at odds of 13/5 to win in the latest bet365 betting.
While playing on ICC during the mid-2000s, one could avenge England’s hammering at the hands of Australia in the Ashes or foray ahead to years in the future, selecting great