What to Do When the J.League Season Is Over?!

The end of the J.League 2019 season is just around the corner. It has been a thrilling campaign, particularly at the top of J1, with Kashima Antlers, Yokohama F. Marinos and FC Tokyo still with a shot of the crown with five games to go... but soon the exciting story lines will conclude, leaving a need to be entertained and to compete until the top division of Japanese football gets underway once again.

In the modern day, the go-to source for entertainment is gaming, but despite the dedicated fan base for football in Japan, the licensed video games aren’t among the best sellers. It was found that FIFA 19 on the PlayStation 4 was only the 49th best-selling game of last year, with the Nintendo Switch – the console of choice – version of FIFA 18 and FIFA 19 sitting back at 73rd and 78th – likely due to the lackluster porting efforts of publisher Electronic Arts. So here, we’ll be looking into a few different gaming options that provide the excitement of football, whether the competition is in a huge virtual stadium or simply through the thrills of engaging with game-play features.

Battle in huge football-themed stadiums

One of the biggest releases of the year, if not the biggest, is going to be Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Finally boasting real open-world game-play and featuring on a home console, the Nintendo Switch, everyone is hyped for the newest game. Based in Great Britain, Sword and Shield will bring in a new wave of Pokémon, new ways to interact, and new activities to enjoy. The  developers, Game Freak, have gone all-out to invoke as many elements from their theme as possible, which includes drawing from Britain’s insatiable love of football.

Instead of battling gym leaders in their own building, away from prying eyes, major battles in Pokemon Sword and Shield take place in packed stadiums filled with cheering fans. Game Freak wanted to add as much gravitas to the occasion as possible, so they’ve also included the giant Pokémon feature of Dynamaxing. On top of this, certain Pokémon can Gigantamax, which alters their appearance and moves with specific monsters, such as Charizard, Corviknight, Drednaw, and Pikachu.

Seeking football thrills elsewhere

If you don’t own a Nintendo Switch, or prefer more adult and sophisticated games, one of the best hubs for entertainment online is the casino. Manekichi is specifically built for Japanese gamers, offering a diverse range of games that includes some features that will immerse you in football once again. The pick of the bunch is Mundial Fever as it features Diego Maradona, Pele, Zinedine Zidane, and even a penalty shoot-out feature.

Baseball and rugby games are, understandably, dominating the mobile gaming charts in Japan right now, per SimilarWeb, but Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer app is still the best mobile football game going. Adapted from the console game with a massive mobile audience, the updated app of eFootball PES 2020 now boasts the licenses for Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and, exclusively, Juventus, among others.

The J.League season may be reaching its concluding chapter for 2019, but there are plenty of games ready and waiting to give you your football fix, during the off season.


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