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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Major Indoor Soccer League
1987 Mindscape
Programmed by Simon Ffinch & Mike Goodwin


MISL Soccer (Major Indoor Soccer League) by Mindscape has got to be one of the greatest sports games ever developed for the C64. Not only is the game play superb, but all the preparation you have to do to get your team ready for the next game or season makes you that more eager to play the next game and see if you made the right moves. Where do I begin?!? This game has got a lot!! Awesome game play, stats that are saved, injuries to worry and cry about, trading and recruiting, coaching, and of course the playoffs (if you're lucky to get that far)! For it's time, there were no other games of it's caliber, except for a hockey and outdoor soccer game of similar type also developed by Mindscape. I didn't know any other sports game that allowed you to play with a friend as teammates or as rivals. For a period of about 4 years, this is the only game a friend of mine and I ever played. If there was a better sports game out there, we didn't know about it! We played it so much we wore out the disk and sent $10 with the proof of purchase to Mindscape for a backup copy of the game. We would spend hours debating who we should trade, recruit, bench and start.

When you start a new league you get to choose your own name, select the speed of the clock, number of games it take to go to the next round in the playoffs (3 rounds). In the beginning you get 250 trading points that you can use for trading, recruiting or improving. When trading, you obviously try and trade for a better or younger player from another team. By recruiting a player you simply delete an undesired player and type in a new name for him. If you choose to recruit a player, which I always did and gave him my name so I could play myself on the field, you can give him skill points up 50 (out of 99). Each skill point will cost you a trading point. The maximum skill points a player can go up to is 99. So lets say you give a recruit 50 skill points. For that player to gain more skill points, you have to trade him or there is an option to
"Improve team". When you select "Improve team" you are then given an option as to the amount of trading points you would like to use on the team, your options are 0-250 trading points. You may only do this once a season! If you choose 250, each person goes up about 3 skill points. Each player varies depending on his age. Now if you choose to trade a player to another team, you will need to spend arbitration points, which is of course taken out of your trading points. You view other teams for a player you feel would contribute to your team nicely and you could hopefully afford. The number of arbitration points it will cost you to TRY and trade a player is 10% of your total trading points. If the trade is not accepted by the other team you lose those arbitration points. This can become very frustrating! Some times if you try to trade a player for the exact same amount two times in a row, the second time it might be accepted, but not usually. I don't know exactly what the criteria the program uses to determine if a trade is successful, but I know it's hard to trade old players for younger ones. Often its better to recruit a player (because when you recruit the player will always be 17 yr. old) for nothing and trade him for cheaper than it would otherwise be.

Now that you have all the players you want, you have to choose who will travel with the team and make a starting line-up. When choosing who will be playing you have to consider both skill points and age. The older the player, the faster his skill points decline when he's in the game. Usually the younger players have less skill points, but won't have to be substituted as much and won't get injured as easy. If they do get injured it's usually for only that game and not multiple games like the older players would. The more skill points you have the faster he runs on the field.

Ready for the season to begin! Lets "Play next game". Now you have the choice of practicing or playing the regular season, picking the color you want your teams to be, select how fast you want the clock to tick for each period (practice only), selecting if you want to play with or against a friend, and choosing who you want to be the coach for the game. The coach is the one who determines who gets substituted and what style of offense and defense the team plays. You can also be either the center or the goalie. Your friend can be the other or be any on the opposing team; you can play as teammates or rivals. Having chosen all that, lets play!

As stated before, the game play is superb you can pass, shoot, and do bicycle kicks. There are penalties, "power plays", injuries, celebrating (the player raises his arms in triumph), free kicks, the whole nine yards (sorry, wrong sport)! Before each period, time outs, and after penalties is when you (as the coach) have the option of substituting players and changing the offensive and defensive strategy. For offense you have a choice of being a passing or shooting type team. For defense you have a choice of basically being aggressive or not. I personally didn't see much difference in what was chosen, but when you need a goal with a minute left and you chose to be aggressive as possible and then scored, it made you feel that you could coach in the big leagues!

When the season is over the playoffs start. Only the top four teams in each division are playoff bound. Depending how you ended the season/playoffs determines how many trading points you will receive for the next season. The better you do the fewer trading points you receive. You can even save them and add them to
next years trading points to get a really good player you've had your eye on. After each season, the players gain a year in age. When players reach 36 yr. of age, after the next season, they turn 17 again but usually with less skill than the year before. These are usually prime candidates to trade for. Players on your own team, when they reach 36, will stay 36 forever. You need to trade them in order for them to go back to 17 again.

One main difference this game has versus the others that Mindscape did, of the similar style, is that all away games are determined by the computer. At first I didn't like this, but changed my mind when I realized the seasons go much faster. This game also keeps statistics and keeps them for up to 10 seasons. When I was in high school I kept records on paper and I believe I was up to 52 seasons before I started over again. Yes, I played this game a lot! When you're done playing for the day you can save everything and the next time you boot up the game you begin where you left off. Don't think you can cheat and reboot the machine in a game where you know you're going to lose, because if you do, when you boot up again you will find that you forfeited that game and there's no going back. I had the power go out when I was playing a playoff game once...{:-/... lets just say I had to purchase some spackle at the local hardware store the next day.

How a game like this existed during it's time is mind boggling. All the customizable options, the recruiting/trading you have to do, the game play, all of it builds on each other to give you one of the greatest sports gaming experiences you will ever have. You may think that it's too complex to get started and manage, but it's not at all. Yes it takes a little time to get things configured, but that's half the fun. You'll find yourself contemplating which is more important, age or skill level? In essence this is not a game you play in a day, but for as many days/months/years as you want to. And when you win the playoffs, the trophy!....Well, I won't say, I'll just let you win it and find out for yourself. For rookies at the game, it will take a few seasons before the teams takes shape and starts winning the away games. Don't get frustrated, because when all your hard work starts paying off with wins, the joy is that much more intense. In my opinion, Mindscape made a game that would rival any of today's sports games with their fancy graphics and multiple buttons; and they did it over a decade ago.

F.Y.I. - If you like MISL Soccer, the hockey and outdoor soccer game that Mindscape made are also excellent and very highly recommended!

On a more sour note, I must say their basketball version, which I don't think came out on the C64, but I bought for the Amiga, which has the same feel but not game play, was a HUGE disappointment. I believe the game was called Omni-Play Basketball or something like that, I almost cried the game play was so bad, or should I say nonexistent.

There it is, hope I didn't put you to sleep, hope it made sense, more importantly I hope it made you want to try the game. I know you won't regret it.


Submitted by Curt Lieser (29 November 2000)

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