One of the effects of the digital age has been to make the world more connected. That’s particularly the case in sport, where events like the Super Bowl or the FA Cup Final, which used to be huge within their countries but not beyond, are now global events. The same applies to sports in general. We’ve got Canada playing cricket and Denmark playing American Football. Whatever next – Australian Rules in Iceland?
That’s not such a crazy idea. Being the country so far from anywhere except New Zealand, Australia held on to its secrets the longest. But now, there is a growing interest in Aussie Rules football. There are already leagues set up in India, South Africa, China and Germany. Could the game spread further and attain the popularity of, for example, rugby?
If you’re new to any sport, it is a great way to get to understand the fundamental rules and gameplay. Now soccer has FIFA, or EA Sport FC, as it is now known. Basketball has NBA 2K. What video games are out there for either the die-hard Aussie Rules fan or the curious novice who wants to learn the basics? Let’s have a look.
Australian Rules Football – one for the retro game geeks
The first game is just worth a mention in case you happen to have it lying on a shelf. The imaginatively named Australian Rules Football was released in 1989 by Clockwize games for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum.
The game was only released in Australia, although some are sure to have found their way to Japan. Clockwize is best known for its Grid Iron American Football management game. Little is known about the Australian Rules Football game – if you have a copy, it could be valuable!
EA joins the party in 1996
A first real sign of Aussie Rules joining the international sporting scene was when EA launched its first game in 1996. It launched its first cricket game the same year, incidentally. The first version was available on PC only, and while a follow up came out the following year, players had to wait till the 1999 release for a version they could play on PlayStation.
EA has continued to produce a new game almost every year, right up to AFL 23, which was released in May of this year, and in September on Xbox. The game feature all the men’s and the women’s teams in the Australian leagues and you can add your own just for fun if you want to, too.
The game itself is very slick, with difficulty level just right in that Goldilocks zone between “too easy” and “really hard”. There are rumors of a card-based game, similar in concept to the EA Sport Ultimate team, but it has yet to materialize.
One for the casino fans – the Aussie Rules Slot
If you love Aussie Rules and you enjoy playing the pokies you are definitely an Australian, at least at heart. This much-loved slot game from Cyprus-based Rival Gaming was first released way back in 2010, but like Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst, it has stood the test of time and remains a popular title at the best mobile casinos in Australia.
The graphics and sounds are fun, if unsophisticated, as you might expect given the game’s vintage. There are five reels, 15 paylines and some fabulous free spin bonuses that can really ramp up the rewards if you get lucky.
It is fair to say that over the past decade, EA has held the monopoly on Aussie Rules games. If you’re new to the game, any one of the EA AFL games serves as a good primer. But if you prefer to avoid the big publishers, two indie games are on the way. Footy Showdown is currently being developed by Boot Mode Games and Australian Football Coach 2023 is also under development for release later this year.