You run home from school. Kick your Ben Sherman Wallabees off. You know he’s there. Waiting. Ready to unleash a 99 shot power rocket from one corner of the box to the opposite top corner of the net. No sign of coming down. Right. In. The. Net. You smile. Pull out the case & slip the disc into your PS2. It’s Adriano time. You nod firmly at him as you pick up your pad. Trevor Brooking’s voice booms through the TV – “PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER”. It’s time.

How bloody good was PES 6 – the OG Hipster’s choice of Football Game. Arguably PES 4/5 were just as good but they lacked peak, Adriano. Real arcade football. Pinball. Excitement. End to end. Zidane, Beckham, Inzaghi, Cannavaro & Co. Before we became too critical of Football Games (see modern day FIFA generation). Expectations were considerably lower. You settled for 90-degree dribbling. You settled for 3 skill moves. You ADORED Trevor Brooking. The squads were magnificent. PES 6 was another gift from those glorious Japanese. First Korea/Japan 2002. Now Winning Eleven.

It wasn’t just settling though. For every flaw with the gameplay, you were gifted something magnificent. For starters, you could jump into the PES Shop & purchase Juan Sebastian Veron & Freddy Adu (Blocked my mate on Twitter recently – if you’re reading Freddy you’re not welcome round our way). You could edit/create kits, badges, boots (YES BOOTS) & fan shirts. AMAZING. They even stored Adidas, Nike & Puma kit templates without the logos for your creative pleasure. Furthermore, you could literally draw up the Adidas logo in five minutes & throw it on your kit. Mega. (Or head into the black market of eBay & purchase a memory card which some shifty geezer had uploaded ALL licenced kits/badges/team names).

Master League. (Way better name than Career Mode). Pounds? Euros? Dollars? Nah, we’re willing to sell you Ballack but we want 15230 PES points. PES points were the original transfer currency. This Neymar transfer would’ve been way more exciting had PSG offered their sum in PES points, wouldn’t it? Exactly. You could even use your Master League side in Exhibition mode against your mates. Wonderful.

Team names. Slightly confusing. Especially as a younger self with very little geographical knowledge. Also somewhat disappointing that the Bundesliga (excluding Bayern Munich) was not available. That’s in hindsight though. I wasn’t screaming out at the age of 12 for Torsten Frings. The team names, however, do make great pub quiz conversation & actually, some of them are great. West Midlands Village, Pompy, Berkshire Blues, Lancashire Blues & Patagonia (Boca Juniors – how cool).

All perks aside. I really did fall in love with PES 6 for the gameplay. It was pure excitement. The sheer difficulty of scoring a volley from beyond the 18-yard box. The angled strike. The sound of the ball leaving each player’s boot. The slide tackle from behind in which the victim appeared to bend backwards way beyond your regular spine’s allowance. Diving headers. Pitch patterns. Player conditioning. The speed of the game. Konami advertising boards. The Galacticos. Opposite buttons to FIFA. Great stuff.

This was a game you could not master. No Ultimate Team nonsense. No “super players” who could literally beat you 8 nil every game. No online frustrations. Purely exciting, arcade football. A game as wonderful on your own as with your friends. PES 6, for all its “external” flaws to non-users, was THE ultimate football game.


[ Retro Gaming ] : 2010 South Africa World Cup

Games that accompany major international tournaments always add to the buzz surrounding the tournament. In 2010, I was 13 years old and at school. With the World Cup being in Africa, the games kicked off ten minutes after school finished (normally) meaning me and my mates pedalled the fastest we possibly could to catch them. What made it more exciting was playing the Fifa World Cup game after following the matches themselves. It added something to the experience of such a renowned and loved event like the World Cup. We could embark on our own journey through the tournament either with a whole team or a player that we created ourselves. It made us feel so much more involved with the global tournament than just simply spectating.

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The game features a tribal and Safari-like design obviously to portray the South African World Cup. The World Cup tournament feature is something I loved because you could take over smaller countries and attempt to topple the footballing giants, which offered intensity and excitement.

Now, looking back, the squads were something I was mostly interested in. I decided to look through the best national teams in the world’s squads and see who was highest rated and who was in the squad itself – Nostalgia at insane levels!

First up, I looked into England and ‘mediocre’ instantly jumped to mind. Aaron Lennon out wide and Emile Heskey upfront. Glen Johnson at right back with Rob Green in net albeit accompanied by John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney. England’s team on the game is like real life: average.


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Next, Germany’s starting XI. Rene Adler was a solid goalkeeper in the line-up, being the highest rated. Miroslav Klose, the eventual all-time leading World Cup goalscorer, led the line with a young Mesut Ozil playing in behind. Michael Ballack was a player who also sat in the middle of midfield.


Brazil is five-time champions of this prestigious tournament so I was obviously going to dive into their squad. Julio Cesar, with an 89 overall, was between the sticks with Lucio and Juan in centre-back. No sign of Thiago Silva yet in the starting XI according to this game. Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Robinho in attack with Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato on the bench alongside Dani Alves. A talented team despite their exit in the quarter-finals to the Netherlands.


The Netherlands went all the way to the final, beating Uruguay and Brazil on their way, with a fairly strong team (especially in comparison to now). Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Rafael Van Der Vaart all in the starting line up.


The final team I decided to have a peak at was one of the best international sides football has seen, Spain. Champions of Europe in 2008, eventual champions of the 2010 World Cup and then the European Championships in 2012, this team dominated world football for years and is looked at as one of the strongest teams the game has seen.


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A young Sergio Busquets was included in the squad but wasn’t the highest rated. He then showed incredible form in the years following (as you already know). Fernando Torres and David Villa led the line in this game. An incredible team.

Now, looking past the teams and into actual gameplay itself, the graphics on this game were seen as stupendous back in 2010 and still today, they are good. The inclusion of confetti on the walk out (and the fact it stays on the side of the pitch) adds a little something. The addition of manager cuts is also a nice factor. Marcello Lippi is spot on. Below are a few shots from gameplay showing you what the game looked like.

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Football video games give fans a sense of being involved on-pitch and let them live their dreams of winning titles. This game was something I loved playing alongside watching the games because it added something extra.

Football is a lifestyle. #FOOTBALLISPERMANENT

[Retro Game] : The question is, ‘Can you FIFA 08?’

FIFA throughout my childhood and into teenage years was wonderful. A stress free life, bashing career mode with your mates every night until I hit A-Levels and FIFA had to take a back seat. However, FIFA 08 was during a time I could play it every night without trouble and that’s what I did. A game full of legendary players we now worship and some we still dislike. Cover stars Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho give some stardom to the game alongside the gameplay itself. I’ve played this game both on PlayStation2 and Xbox 360 and both have impressed.

The opening sequence provides something great, apart from the skill tutorials which I’m not a fan of myself. However, the gameplay footage of Ronaldinho, Rooney and LA Galaxy’s David Beckham improves the title sequence (Xbox 360).

Being the football ‘nerd’ I am, I went straight to look at the squads on my return to this game and I was blown back by nostaglia and happiness. The AC Milan squad is incredible. A midfield of Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf and Kaka line up behind Alberto Gilardino and number 99, Ronaldo.


Not only do Milan have this starting XI with Alessandro Nesta at the heart of the defence, Paolo Maldini, Cafu Alexandra Pato and Filippo Inzaghi sit on the bench for the pre-set FIFA08 line ups. Alongside this, the sibling of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willy Aubameyang, sits in the reserves.




Across the city of Milan, Inter hosted their own superb line up. Throwback to the days Milan was host to two incredible football teams rather than two mediocre ones like we have today. Hernan Crespo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic lead the line for the Nerazzurri with Patrick Vieira and Luis Figo still in the line up. Sheeesh.


Now moving to Spain. Barcelona have a young Lionel Messi who was still being mentored by the one and only Ronaldinho. Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o play upfront and Yaya Toure and Xavi holding. Real Madrid have a partnership of Raul and Ruud Van Nistelrooy up top, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robinho in midfield and World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro in defence. El Clasico was exciting in 2008. Ah, this game makes me really, really happy! The nostalgia brewing when playing this game is incredible.



Now, onto career mode. A incredible throwback for myself. In this FIFA, the option to chose a sponsorship deal is still within the game and the transfer system is very simple compared to the recent editions.



FIFA 08 isn’t all good though. I feel the first touches of each player are a bit poor but this could be due to the technology at the time due to recent editions being fine in this area. However, this is still a game you should try and play again. I enjoyed my return to it, you might also. Blow of the dust on your Xbox360/PlayStation and play.