World Cup Carnival (1984) is an appalling game and it’s a disgrace to see a big software house like US Gold releasing it. The layout of the pitch is as basic as you can get… This is the worst football simulation I have ever seen … the freebies are quite good; but then they have to be, because I don’t think many people will buy the package for the game itself. (Crash July 86, awarding a generous 26%)The Story of US Gold Chris Wilkins & Roger M. Kean (2015)
World Cup Carnival is here at last, and what a load of complete and utter crud it is…’ Julian Rignall. The graphics on the whole are crap…’ Gary Penn, both in Zzap!64 July 1986 issue. They gave the game 92% for Presentation but an Overall result of just 11%.
Amstrad Action gave it 0%.
According to Geoff, because US Gold had so many games in development, Tim came to him. ‘He asked me, who’s going to do the World Cup game? And I said, you do it, and I think he just forgot about it. And it got to January and I asked Tim how the game was going. Oh I thought you were doing that, he said. And I said, Christ Tim, you got this licence, we’ve paid all this money for it and we haven’t got a game, we’re going to have to find one.’
Tim remembers it in a different light. He always thought there was an obvious partner to bring in on this prestigious project. ‘At the time Ocean knew something about football with Jon Ritman’s Matchday, so Woods and Ward said to Geoff, look, football games are really hard, let us do this. We’ll get a World Cup game for you, and we’ll use our Match Day code. Anyway, something happened there and theoretically Ocean
were going to go away and develop the game. Three months before the World Cup we were so busy I hadn’t given it much thought. So I asked Geoff if he’d seen anything of the game from Ocean, and he said, no, I’ll call them up. He phoned to learn they’d done nothing on it. So we had this licence, we had the World Cup coming – we probably dreamed England could win it – and we said, shit we need a game.’
‘That’s when we went out to every single developer in the UK,’ Geoff takes up the tale. ‘I said we’ll pay you a lot of money to take your game and overlay it with the properly licensed items, graphics… Artic were the only one who came forward and said they could do it in time.’
Tim: ‘In those good olden days of no Internet and reviews only if you wanted them, we said let’s make a fantastic package. So we got this big box and we put inside stickers, a wall chart, loads of stuff … oh, and a game. Then we marketed the hell out of it but we didn’t show the game to anyone – Smiths and Boots and Dixons, everybody, the French and Germans, no magazines. You know we sold in shedloads of it in preparation for the World Cup to start, but at the root of it, when anybody pushed a cassette in to load, was a game
from early 1984 with a penalty thing at the front. And of course everybody went completely ballistic. (…) I mean it was a masterpiece of packaging, it was a masterpiece of marketing – unfortunately the product you got was slightly disappointing if you wanted to play it, but with the wall chart, the stickers, it was bloody brilliant, it was worth the money just for that stuff!’