Growing up I never had much love for football. It wasn’t something I really grew up around, even though the pub my parents ran had Sky Sports. I believe the pub had a football team, I even think my Dad played for it, but it was never something that held my interest. Those of you who have met me at EGX or other events will know that I don’t have the sportiest of builds, in fact portly would probably be a better description. However that didn’t deter me from sports all together, in fact I have very fond memories playing for the pub cricket team. Football though? Well it never really clicked for me.
This has gradually changed over time, and in my early teens I discovered that Brighton and Hove Albion was the “family” team. All I really knew was that they were, quite obviously, from Brighton, didn’t have a “proper” ground (I never went to the Goldstone Ground when it was still standing) and that Bobby Zamora was our star player. Because I wasn’t really that interested in football I clung to those fact like a life preserver when people would ask me about football at school, it was pretty much all I knew.
One day though I put FIFA into my Dad’s PC. I honestly had no idea why he had it, but it was pretty much the only game he had for his PC. In fact it was the only game in the house for quite some time, until eventually a PS1 cropped up from somewhere.[drop]I clung to FIFA in much the same way that I clung to my limited knowledge of Brighton and Hove Albion. I have no idea what version of the game it was, for some reason I think it was possibly FIFA 99. This was quite some time later than 1999 and the game hardly looked cutting edge but that didn’t deter me. I became fairly good as Newcastle (No, I’ve no idea why I liked Newcastle), although the AI wasn’t exactly impressive.
Eventually FIFA left my life again, more games became available and it lost its grip on me. I moved on, and even though I still knew I “supported” Brighton I still remained pretty ignorant of the sport in general. Eventually my knowledge of football grew, and I slowly slipped more and more into becoming a “proper” Brighton supporter after we won promotion in the the 2003-04 play-offs, eventually becoming a season ticket holder this season.
Even as my appreciation and knowledge of football grew, I never really got back into FIFA. I moved in with my current flatmate (David Howard or djhsecondnature who you may know from these here internets) and started to play it a little more. I was awful, I mean absolutely dreadful. Sure, I’d play it but I’d spend most of the time trying to get players sent off; when you can’t score goals you have to set yourself more achievable targets.
However, that’s suddenly changed with FIFA 12. I haven’t played enough of older titles to tell for myself what they’ve changed from FIFA 11, but to me it seems to be whatever they’ve done to the passing system. It just works better for me now, it fits passing style of play I’ve picked up from watching Brighton and seems to flow a lot better.
I mean obviously the Impact Engine is a very visible change but from the perspective of someone who hasn’t played a lot FIFA in the past it seems to have changed little in terms of gameplay. I’m willing to concede that it may well have a deep and meaningful impact for those who are hardcore fans of the series, but to me it just seems a nice touch rather than something that’s vastly overhauled the way things work. As for tactical defending? I didn’t know it existed until Sunday and I seemed to be doing just fine.[drop2]Sadly I don’t have a copy of the full game just yet but even the demo has me hooked. I’d rather be playing as Tottenham (who I only follow in a vague sense because Harry Redknapp amuses me), but playing Man City versus Arsenal over and over seems to sustain me for now. There are other teams that I could use for practising, the only real reason I’m playing the demo, but those two just appeal to me and playing the same fixture on a loop doesn’t seem to grate just yet.
The funny thing is I’ve never really fallen for a sporting franchise before. Sure, I like the WWE games but they’re not something I’ve ever really loved. For some reason, whatever it is, FIFA has managed to dig through to my battered soul and grab hold of it.
Hopefully it won’t be a one time thing with FIFA 12 and FIFA 13 will grip me just as much. Otherwise I’ll just be stuck with this version for the rest of time, I don’t see myself giving up on it any time soon.