Gaming Flashback – Speedball

We look back at more than 20 years of virtual sporting brutality

Breakneck-paced sporting action, ultraviolence and cries of “Ice cream! Ice cream!” from a courtside vendor – Speedball is the ultimate future sport gaming series. As Speedball's just hit iPhone, we’ve decided to walk back through over 20 years of virtual sporting brutality...

Speedball (1988)

The first game consisted of 5-a-side futuristic sports action in an enclosed ice hockey-style court. The idea was to get the ball into the opposition goal (well, duh) by any means necessary, with powerups giving you a helping hand. It debuted on the Atari ST and was ported to the PC, Amiga, C64, Sega Master System and (under a different name) NES, and was warmly received.

Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe (1990)

The sequel took the graphics up a notch, increased the teams to 9-a-side and upped the violence, as well as letting you rack up higher scores by getting a goal just after using one of the courtside score multipliers. Rightly regarded as a retro classic, Speedball 2 has appeared on or been remade for pretty much every console and computer around. It’s probably best remembered for the Amiga version, though, which dominated many a 12-year old boy’s weekend.

Speedball 2100 (2000)

This PlayStation-only 3D remake didn’t set the world on fire. Sluggish, plodding and ugly, the only thing it really added was the ability to create your own team rather than have to play as Brutal Deluxe.

Speedball 2 Tournament (2007)

This PC-only update helped restore some of the Speedball franchise’s swagger, retaining the fast-paced gameplay of Speedball 2 but giving the visual a bit of 20th century 3D spit and polish.

Speedball 2 Evolution (2011)

Speedball 2 was always going to end up on iOS at some point, and who better to bring this retro classic there than Sensible Software supremo Jon Hare? Updated graphics that retain that distinctive Bitmap Bros. feel, the same beautiful gameplay (with tilt controls an option) and multiplayer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, it’s well worth the £2.39 price – which covers both the iPhone and iPad versions. Read our full review