Why is Super Arcade Football important? – An Interview with Ali Motisi, OutOfTheBit’s Co-Founder

Super Arcade Football

Super Arcade Football is the next 2D title from the wonderfully talented OutOftheBit. This indie studio is all about making modern classics – new releases with a distinct “retro” feel. Their latest release, Super Arcade Football, does exactly that and it’s out now on Steam, iOS, and Android.

We had the chance to send Ali Motisi, co-founder of OutOfTheBit, some questions about his studio’s latest title. We had the chance to discuss the game’s development, the importance of its accessibility and what’s up next for OutOfTheBit – Oh, and we also got to ask about what sets Super Arcade Football apart from the rest of the crowd. (Loose pun intended.)

An interview with OutOfTheBit’s Ali Motisi

Firstly, we wanted to congratulate Motisi and his team for the launch of Super Arcade Football – it had been in Early Access for a while and developing a game is never easy! We asked how it felt to be sharing Super Arcade Football with the world fully – at last – and Motisi had the following to say:

” It feels great… The game had been in development for a long time and [OutOfTheBit] had the difficult task of an engine change to overcome, but we pulled through. We’re proud of the end result, and judging by the feedback we’ve been getting, we’ve created something rather unique in the football gaming scene.”

Unique is a word that aptly describes what Super Arcade Football brings to the table. It’s nothing like FIFA or eFootball – the two “football games” that dominate the market alongside Football Manager – and OutOfTheBit are well aware of that.

“Why is it important to have a title like Super Arcade Football out there?”

When asked about where Super Arcade Football fits in this genre, Motisi highlighted the more “unconventional rules” that OutOfTheBit’s game plays by. When asked about “why Super Arcade Football deserves a seat at the table”, Motisi responded with an insight into the importance of exploring this “weirder” side of Football games – something so few titles do nowadays.

” Super Arcade Football allows players to have a gameplay experience that would be impossible in the real world. “

Super Arcade Football isn’t a game that’s designed to be a competitive service – like FIFA, for example. It’s designed to provide “an experience further from reality”, where “meteors can rain from the sky during a match.” OutOfTheBit’s title introduces a series of interesting mechanics that presents players with a different kind of challenge – certainly one that you probably wouldn’t experience in a football game.

Super Arcade Football
Credit: OutOfTheBit

On top of all the meteors and changing goal sizes, Super Arcade Football boils down to an experience that’s designed to be fun to play. How did OutOfTheBit do this? Well… Motisi had this to say:

“[Super Arcade Football] provides a unique experience in its story mode, then keeps you entertained with local and online multiplayer, and custom tournaments... We combined simple controls with fast gameplay and a plethora of modifiers… It plays like an arcade game, but provides a condensed experience of a football match, with all the highs and lows that entails.”

Super Arcade Football is easy to pick up – and difficult to master – which is music to any player’s ears. We’ve played quite a bit of Super Arcade Football now and Motisi is right: its condensed football experience is a lot of fun and a fantastic change of pace. However, there’s more importance to Super Arcade Football’s simple controls than you might realise…

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“Why is it important to have a football game as accessible as Super Arcade Football?”

OutOfTheBit’s co-founder, Ali Motisi, was insightful in his response to this question – He drew from personal experiences that we all can relate to in his response.

Something I’ve noticed with modern football games is that people can’t play at a competent level until they’ve spent a few hours getting to grips with the controls. I’ve had evenings playing popular football games with friends where many of them weren’t able to join in because of the steep learning curve.”

Although Motisi doesn’t mention a specific title, it’s a situation we’ve all faced at one point or another – no matter the genre. A lot of titles, especially those with multiplayer capabilities, have a steep learning curve that’s often difficult for casual gamers to get to grips with.

” We decided to make a football game with a simple control scheme so that anyone was able to play it.”

Super Arcade Football
Credit: OutOfTheBit

Super Arcade Football does away with a complex control scheme and boils down to “one button” gameplay. It might sound reductive, but OutOfTheBit “worked hard to make sure the gameplay had depth” during development. You can head the ball, slide tackle, whip in a cross, and even hit a killer bicycle kick in Super Aracde Football – all with one button!

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Was this difficult to do? Of course, it was. Motisi explained that the couch co-op approach to Super Arcade Football made this particularly challenging.

” Yes, it was hard to make, especially because we support something that old-school games never supported – local co-op for up to 4 players on the same team. That was a real challenge.”

However, the hard work has paid off and Super Arcade Football is one of the better pick-up-and-play couch co-op games we’ve played. You can even play together all on one keyboard! It might get a little crowded, but it’s a lot of fun and really ups the intensity when you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with your opponent.

The simplistic controls, the shoulder-to-shoulder competition, and the charming – yet simplistic – graphics left us feeling as though we were stood in an arcade on a cabinet. Super Arcade Football is clearly inspired by these older titles, but we asked Motisi specifically if there was anything that helped contribute to the wonderful experience OutOfTheBit has put together.

“What was the inspiration behind Super Arcade Football?”

We asked Motisi if there were any non-sports titles that inspired Super Arcade Football – “were there any specific games that you looked at during development?”

I grew up playing a lot of classic Amiga games as a child, and all these games have had an influence on the design philosophy at OutOfTheBit. One non-football game we’ve played a lot in the office is Towerfall, which is a fantastic local multiplayer game with beautiful controls.”

Towerfall is one drop in a sea of inspiration – Motisi also mentioned the fact that the OutOfTheBit office had a Sega Mega Drive and SNES hooked up and ready to go throughout the development process. If you like games from this era, you’re going to love Super Arcade Football more than you might realise – even if you’re not a football fan!

Super Arcade Football boasts a dedicated Story Mode – that has been previously mentioned – and we asked if there was anything that inspired the narrative behind this mode. It’s full of larger-than-life characters but feels very close to home at times. Super Arcade Football’s narrative is all about a man named Martin who purchases his beloved local club, Balarm FC, for a pound. It’s in ruins and you’re tasked with bringing Balarm FC back from the brink and returning this club to former glory.

Super Arcade Football
Credit: OutOfTheBit

Motisi started out with a disclaimer, of sorts – “all players and clubs in Super Arcade Football are fictional, and any resemblances are simply coincidental…” – and then proceeded to respond with the following:

” Buying a football club for £1 is no new thing – older readers will remember Ken Bates purchasing Chelsea Football Club for £1 back in 1982.”

It’s something every football fan has experienced in one way or another – the “beautiful game” isn’t always so beautiful – and it’s an underdog narrative that throws you into the heart of a fictional community like your own. Super Arcade Football does a lot for a game that seems so simple on the surface.

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Following on from this, we asked Motisi about the importance of Super Arcade Football’s 50-50 split between men’s and women’s teams and whether there were any features like this that didn’t make the final cut.

” Are there any features that didn’t make the cut? What would you like to add?”

Things like “time” and “money” are often limiters in game development – and every other aspect of life – and we asked if there were things that OutOfTheBit simply couldn’t get done due to these. Super Arcade Football, unlike a few other games out there, had spent a long time in Early Access – Motisi had this to say when asked about missing features:

” After many years of early access, I believe we’ve created exactly the game we set out to create when we started. The only thing we would have done if we had the time was a custom team editor. It’s natural as a developer to look back at your creation and always want to add a bit more, but it’s important to know where to draw the line.”

Motisi also commented on the modifiers that didn’t make the cut – one of the key features that sets OutOfTheBit’s Super Arcade Football apart from its peers. From his response, it feels like there was a “trial and error” approach to this – ultimately, the modifiers that made it into the game are those that played best when implemented.

” We tested many other modifiers. Some of them looked good on paper but weren’t as fun once included in the game. For example, a magnet that attracts the ball to you, and teleportation.”

Super Arcade Football
Credit: OutOfTheBit

One feature that did make the cut, however, was women’s teams. We asked why Motisi – and OutOfTheBit as a whole – felt it was important to include. His response was simple and reinforced by a situation we can only imagine is happening all around the world.

” With the growing popularity of women’s football, there’s no reason not to include female teams. We had the idea to include women’s football teams in the game very early on in development – before any other football game even had them. I have twin daughters and they were asking me right from the start to include women’s football teams.”

Women’s football is growing in popularity and – despite the fact that it’s still second to men’s football – there’s a lot of progress being made both inside and outside of the gaming industry. OutOfTheBit’s contribution to this cause may seem minor, but it’s actually vital in making progress. The balance between men’s and women’s football has to be seen as standard – and in some situations expected – in other industries in order to make the real changes in the sporting industry.

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Finally, we got to ask about the future for OutOfTheBit – now that Super Arcade Football was out. They’ve tackled racing – with Super Arcade Racing – but what was next on the “to do” list?

“What’s the next sport’s title you’d like to tackle as a team and “Super Arcade”?”

Interestingly enough, Motisi explained how the OutOfTheBit team were shifting gears a little for their next project. He had this to say:

” We’re going to take a break from sports games because they’re one of the most challenging types of games to develop. They’re real-time, have multiplayer, have an online component, and have a database of names. It’s an absolute nightmare to manage.”

This is all understandable, and Motisi expressed pride in what his team has achieved. However… That still leaves us with the future…

“At the moment we’re working on a very exciting new project that we’re happy to disclose for the first time. It’s going to be a 2D single-player story adventure which I think players are going to love.

It looks like OutOfTheBit is working on something interesting, to say the least, and we can’t wait to see where Motisi and the entire development team take their talents next. Super Arcade Football is out now on Steam, iOS, and Android – we recommend you pick it up and give it a go. You won’t regret it!

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