Keegan Kaye |
Of all the sports played in the world, surely cricket is one of the hardest to simulate as a video game?
You have to code in the bowler’s action, making them look as realistic as possible whether flying in as a speedster or twirling away as a spinner and then almost immediately after the player controlling the batter needs to be able to hit the ball 360 degrees around the outfield.
And then there’s the simultaneous requirement for the fielding team to retrieve the ball and hurl it into the keeper whilst the batting side is running between the wicket.
There are so many moving parts that make producing a realistic and authentic simulation incredibly difficult, and yet we are closing in on 40 years of cricket games on the various computers and consoles that have been developed.
From rather primitive beginnings, cricket games have evolved and are still going strong on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.
And other forms of gaming have been quick to jump on board. Stick Cricket is an immensely popular app for Android devices, while Cricket Star Slot is – as the name suggests – a game that requires players to spin cricket-themed reels and try to win cash prizes. To see cricket as part of a range of offerings available on platforms produced using casino software that simultaneously offers sportsbook products alongside cricket-themed slots and card games confirms its global popularity.
To celebrate the nearly four decades of action, here’s a look at the timeline of cricket video games.
Cricket 64/Howzat! (1984)
It all began in 1984 when cricket fans were treated to not one but two flagship games in the same year.
Cricket 64 was the debut outing for the sport on the Commodore 64, while Howzat! had the honour of opening the batting on the Spectrum ZX.
4 Box Art Covers from #crl 1984
Blade Runner – 1984
Omega Run – 1984
Cricket 64 – 1984
Terrahawks – 1984#zxspectrum #sinclair #c64retweets #c64 #retrogaming #retrogames #retrogamer #commodore #amstradcpc #boxart #c16 #bbcmicro #zx81 pic.twitter.com/UWmFmWtuhj
– Friend Friend (@rexthedogge) March 12, 2020
consoles of the day to get their cricket fix.
Cricket Captain (1989)
Cricket ‘captain sims’ have been around for more than 30 years, and while the initial offerings were somewhat limited compared to those that have followed, the Cricket Captain franchise is still going strong to this day.
Pick your team, set your field, rotate your bowlers and decide on your batting lineup – it’s all in a day’s work for the humble cricket captain.
Graham Gooch’s World-Class Cricket (1993)
The Amiga 1200 and Atari ST took gaming to new levels in the early 1990s, and Graham Gooch’s All-Star Cricket was a major step forward in progress.
Featuring the same game mechanics that are still used today, the action saw bowlers deciding where to land the ball with swing or spin, with the batsman tasked with hitting the ball in the centre of their willow and not edging behind.
Gooch, the legendary England captain who scored nearly 9,000 Test runs, lent his name to three different video games, but World-Class Cricket was undoubtedly the pick of the bunch.
Brian Lara Cricket (1998)
As the Amiga passed the torch of gaming on to the Sega Mega Drive and Nintendo, they in turn would ultimately bow down to the PlayStation – released to much furore in 1995.
It would take three years for the Sony console to get its first cricket title, and Brian Lara Cricket, which was licensed to use the name of the record-breaking West Indian left-hander, was the benchmark for all that would follow.
2️⃣6️⃣ years ago today, Brian Lara claimed the record for the highest individual first-class score.
But do you know who held the record before him? 🤔
Hint: 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/DzaVDjK6dT
— ICC (@ICC) June 6, 2020
Ashes Cricket (2017)
The nearly 20-year gap between Brian Lara Cricket and the sport’s definitive release shows just how hard cricket games are to make.
But Ashes Cricket is, arguably, the best cricket simulation ever made, with realistic gameplay and new modes including player creation, enabling you to guide your star from the academy right through to the heat of Ashes battle.
It’s been a long 40 years of waiting, but finally, cricket video games are smashing it out of the park.