Rugby Video Games

Rugby Video Games At a time when there’s no rugby action, and you are advised against playing both on a professional and an amateur level, we would like to have […]

Rugby Video Games

At a time when there’s no rugby action, and you are advised against playing both on a professional and an amateur level, we would like to have a look at the best and most notable rugby video games that have been developed over the years, so in absence of matches to watch, perhaps you’ll find an alternative, virtual way to enjoy your favourite sport/hobby.
Sure, rugby can hardly be compared to football, or other sports that attract more viewers and are popular all over the world, but in case you’re not familiar with rugby video games, you would be surprised to see how many rugby games have been developed over the years.

Early days – the 1990s

The first rugby union game that has been develop is International Rugby Challenge and it was available on Commodore Amiga and Mega Drive. This game went live in 1993 and it was fairly popular. However, video game fans who also enjoy playing rugby, had to wait for at least two years for the next release – Rugby World Cup ’95, which as the name suggests was based on the world cup that took place in 1995 in South Africa. The game was developed by EA Sports UK division and it was published by EA Sports. If you are familiar with sport games, you are surely familiar with EA Sports, as they have developed some of the most popular sports games.
The next released game also came in two years time, the Jonah Lomu Rugby game was released in 1997, but it was also based on the 1995 World Cup. This was the first game available on the PlayStation Console, but definitely not the last one. All subsequent releases of rugby games, regardless of the developer and the publisher were available on PlayStation consoles. These are the only three games that were released during the 1990s, but the next decade was a lot more prolific.

The era of EA Sports

As early as 2000, EA sports immediately released another game, titled only Rugby, and this was the first game available on PlayStation 2, a console that was released during the same year. The game featured more than 20 teams with over 500 players. Commentary was also included, as it is usually the case with EA games, and this game was narrated by Jamie Salmon and Bill McLaren. The PlayStation 2 edition of the game received great reviews. EGM rated it 7/10, IGN gave it a grade of 7.3 out of 10 and BBC Sport rated it with a staggering grade of 94%.
After a three-year hiatus, the Rugby 2004 was released. This was another game by EA Sports, available on the same two platforms. This game pretty much was a sequel of the original Rugby, but it wasn’t as successful in the eyes of the critics.
EA Sports aren’t the only developer/publisher that releases rugby games, there was also a title released by Acclaim Entertainment in 2004, called World Championship Rugby. This game’s popularity was far from the popularity of EA Sports games, and Acclaim Entertainment never released a rugby game again.
EA Sports went on to release two games in the upcoming three years – 2005, 2006 and 2007. However, the 2007 edition was the last rugby game ever released by EA Sports. Other companies, most notably Australia-based Tru Blu Entertainment got into making rugby games.

Tru Blu Entertainment takes centre stage

One of the latest rugby games is Rugby Challenge 3, a sequel in the Rugby Challenge series. The first Rugby Challenge was released in 2011, the second in 2013 and the third one in 2016. All three games were released by said Tru Blu Entertainment company.

What the future holds

Perhaps rugby games aren’t as profitable as major football video games, or NBA games, but there are still quite a few rugby fans in Ireland, Britain and all over the world, not to mention that a lot of them that have no idea that rugby video games exist.

One look at the selection of online slots at SlotsWise will give us an understanding of the scope of themes that can be developed into games. So, we might see smaller, mini-games based on rugby, as well as mobile games, and why not board games.