One Special Day is an event that brings games companies together to devote one day to raising money for Special Effect, the gamers' charity. This all goes towards helping people with disabilities play and enjoy video games, so naturally it's a cause we're proud to be associated with at Tag.
To support One Special Day our Tag Team dusted off the old consoles and set about recreating this summer's Euro 2016 tournament using as many vintage football games as we could find. Competing not just against each other, but against the unreliable nature of the office Dreamcast and N64, many goals were scored, decisions contested and rivalries formed.
Most importantly, in the end our players, friends and families were delighted to have raised the sum of £722 for Special Effect!
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The opening round brought with it some early controversy as Mike Herron's Wales had to be disqualified after their 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland. Despite his stellar work in wrestling with our Dreamcast's unreliable disk drive, Mike had to learn the hard way that booking a holiday on the same day as the quarter finals broke competition rules. As a result, Derek Patterson's Northern Ireland side glided effortlessly into the next round.
The tie of the round was a pulsating 3-3 draw on the NES, between Carlos Salvado's Belgium and Hannah Peratopollous's Hungary. Carlos later edged the match in a tense penalty shootout. Elsewhere, Hugh McLaughlin's Iceland were awarded the wooden spoon after suffering what was to be the tournament's biggest defeat, a 3-0 humbling at the hands of Marc Williamson's England.
The remaining matches in the opening round proved a little less memorable. However we were all sad to say goodbye to Scott Downie, Nicolas Tanda, Richard Tilbury, Jim McLeish and Tom Goodchild, who simply weren't good enough for the quarter-finals.
The next round got off to a shaky start as Andrew Mclean and Gavin Moffat spent most of their FIFA 98 match trying to work out the controls. After a calamitous 90 minutes Gavin's Croatia team sneaked through with a 2-1 victory. History then repeated itself as Belgium were issued with a disqualification due to Carlos Salvado's ill-timed holiday, ensuring Derek Patterson staggered into the semi-finals without winning a single game.
The much-loved ISS 64 proved the battleground for the remaining quarter-finals, the first of which saw a 3-1 victory for Paul Farley's Spain over Joe Dixon's Germany. Ross McWilliam and Marc Williamson then served up a classic 7-goal thriller, with Marc progressing after a 4-3 victory.
After making it to the semis by default, Derek Patterson's luck finally ran out as his plucky Northern Ireland side finally came unstuck against Croatia. He did however get the consolation of playing his final match on the Neo Geo's Super Sidekicks, perhaps the most finely-aged and playable of our retro classics.
In the other semi-final, it was a battle of senior management as Paul Farley's Spain took on Marc Wiliamson's England. 1996 favourite Actua Soccer provided the battleground and proved itself prophetic, as England ousted Spain much like their real-life counterparts did two decades ago at Euro 96.
We travelled back to 1985 for the tournament's showpiece event as NES Soccer was wheeled out for the decider. It proved to be an excellent choice as Gavin Moffat's Croatia and Marc Williamson's England played out an exciting 3-3 draw. Penalties beckoned, then went on for quite some time until Gavin was first to work out that not moving your goalkeeper actually made him more likely to save. As a result, by the finest of margins Croatia became champions of Tag's Euro 2016 retro re-enactment! Unlike in France earlier this summer however, England put in a stellar showing and were just one penalty away from victory.
All in all it was a great day for all involved and we'll certainly be hoping to support Special Effect again in the future. Thanks to all the players who got involved and all those who donated to this wonderful cause, including the team at New Star Games who made a very generous contribution!
Special thanks also to Mike Herron, Joe Dixon, Tom Goodchild and Phil Stewart, who kindly donated gaming equipment for the event.