Sensible World of Soccer (herein referred to as SWOS) was the sequel to the classic soccer (herein referred to as football) game Sensible Soccer (herein referred to as sensi). Developed by Sensible Software (the team behind Megalomania, Cannon Fodder and Sensible Golf) SWOS built upon sensi's classic gameplay by taking the huge top down perspective and tiny players and making them do more. It is impossible to say why the game worked so well but to the millions of fans, it just felt "right". The controls allowed you to pass the ball effortlessly from player to player, add aftertouch to control the swerve of the ball and dribble effortlessly through enemy defenses. After a few days (continous) play, players developed a sixth sense of when they were about to lose control of the ball, where their other players were on the pitch and which way to bend the ball to defeat opposing goalies.
Unlike the recent glut of ISS/FIFA clones, SWOS required skill to control the ball. There were two controls, run and pass (or run and tackle when off the ball). If a turn was made too quickly, or the player on the ball not skillful enough, the ball would run away from you. When passing or shooting, the ball had to be aimed to its destination, there was no tapping of the "shoot" button here. If this seems dull to you, you obviously cannot imagine the feeling of picking the ball up with your talented left back, running through the entire opposition, rounding their goalie and ramming the ball into the back of the net.
SWOS was the first game to make a stab at including all of the world's football teams, each with the correct players. Want to play in the Ghanian cup? Just pick "Hearts of Oak" (the best team in Ghana by a mile), likewise all leagues in almost every country imaginable were included, with thousands of players - on two double density (880k) floppy disks. The career mode put you as player manager of any of these teams, with a crude management simulator allowing you to buy and sell players, manage money and arrange friendlies. This provided a framework for the gameplay as you took your chosen team through up to 20 seasons of gameplay. At the end of each season you were offered jobs by other teams and (occasionally), International sides.
Never in the 9 years since its release has any game managed to match SWOS in playability I wasted years of my life playing that game, years I can now never get back, I curse the day I ever bought it.