The world football star Edson Arantes do Nascimento, best known as Pelé, passed away last night from colon cancer at the age of 82 at the Albert Einstein Hospital in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
O Rei is acknowledged by many specialists, former football players and fans as one of the best soccer players and sportsmen of all times – in fact, FIFA recognized him at least as the best player of the 20th century.
He was the leader of the most successful national team of all, Brazil, who won the World Cups of 1958, 1962 and 1970. Outside the sporting arena, he was also a very important figure who left his mark on the world of video games, as did the Argentine star Maradona, who passed away two years ago.
Pelé became a global icon and the first soccer player to star on the cover of a game with his name on it, Sears’ Pele’s Soccer for the Atari 2600 in 1981. Due to technical limitations of the system, the matches were played by teams of three players instead of eleven.
The Atari made a TV commercial for its sports games in which we can see Pelé and two other sportsmen of the time, namely Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketball) and Mario Andretti (car racing driver).
Their legacy was extended for many years and for example in 1993 Pelé! by Accolade was released for Mega Drive.
Besides being endorsed by the Brazilian footballer, Pelé brought ideas, strategy and comments to the game’s design.
A sequel was released in 1994, Pelé II: World Tournament Soccer, with the option of a four-player mode on the same console.
Coutinho foi o maior parceiro que Pelé já teve. Juntos eles formaram a maior dupla da história do futebol mundial e receberam essa homenagem da Santos TV em 2014, com um novo desafio. Fica a saudade de tudo que você fez por nós! pic.twitter.com/XdDpqTGJQ7
— Santos FC (@SantosFC) March 12, 2019
Recent appearances of Pelé in the world of videogames
Over time, as new generations of great soccer players -or at least more media- emerged, the presence of Pelé in videogames became less and less important.
Nevertheless, Academy of Champions: Soccer for Wii in 2009 rescued the player and turned him into the director of a soccer school.
Of course, EA’s FIFA series hasn’t forgotten about O Rei either with FIFA Ultimate Team, where he’s often one of the most sought-after cards among fans.
He also had its own mobile game, Pele: Soccer Legend, as well as curious tributes in Rocket League – the soccer game with vehicles – and even Fortnite.