Dancing pixels and shattered dreams

Last night a glittering second half hat-trick from Alexis Sanchez saw Arsenal prevail over Hull 3-1, and left me buoyant. The world’s colours shone brighter, food tasted better, and I had a spring in my step.

Encouraged by their solid display, Arsenal immediately changed shirts and backed up for another match (a hugely impressive feat) only to be decimated by a Manchester City shaped steamroller, 6-0.

Shattered… vulnerable… I put down the PS3 controller.

And two minutes later…

There was to be no bouncing back from that. I stopped being angry around 4-0, and was now simply emotionally raw.

FIFA is as close as I come to having an addiction in my life.

When I bought my PlayStation there was a bundle sale which I chose not to purchase; instead I opted to buy the console, extra controller and games separately… purely because the bundle package didn’t include FIFA.

I own only 7 PlayStation games in total, and 5 of them are FIFA titles.

Heisenberg ain’t got nothing on Lionel and Timmy

Many readers are nodding while reading this, as the inner sanctum of FIFA gamers is a tight-knit bunch. For the uninitiated though, FIFA gamers can seem like an odd bunch. There are probably more FIFA video game highlight clips on YouTube than there are actual football highlight videos. Friendships can crumble or be built upon by pixels dancing across a screen. Controllers and TVs are never safe when FIFA is up and running, and nearby children should be shielded from the vitriol and expletive-laden rants of the typical FIFA gamer.

It can be hard to explain the addiction. Other video games involve stages, levels, collecting coins… something to keep you interested while you ‘finish’ the game. FIFA’s primary driver is endlessly unobtainable perfection. It’s like golf. You will never finish it or master it, and the sooner you accept this the better.

Like peas in a pod, really...

Like peas in a pod, really…

When I started playing FIFA I used a moderate difficulty and often ‘forgot’ to save my progress after bad losses. This becomes boring. There’s only so many times you can win the league with +68 goal difference. Then I committed to saving no matter what, but on the moderate difficulty with outrageous transfer budgets, this too became relatively easy, after poaching £100million worth of talent so that 85-rated players are sitting on the bench.

And so here I am, on ‘World Class’ with a strict budget. Not quite ‘Legendary’ mode, but then again I’m not clinically insane.

Yes, I still use an elite squad in Arsenal, and yes, I still expect to beat lower teams… but those relatively easy games are only good for honing technique/strategy for when Liverpool, PSG or Atletico Madrid roll into town.

That’s when my wife knows not to walk across the TV, and even talking to me becomes fraught with danger. A permanent scowl across my face, sitting on the floor since “the couch is too far from the TV”, I am lost for two 6-minute halves (“that I swear, honey, will be over in, like, five minutes”).

But honey, it’s a well-known fact that FIFA distorts the fabric of spacetime!

And this is when I play against “the computer.” When I play against actual friends… well then all bets are off. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve hosted FIFA events. I’ve invited friends over for the express purpose of playing FIFA for as long as we’re all able to do so.

Talking and catching up? Sorry, not tonight. Tonight… we battle.

I’ve sat as a nonparticipant and watched two other people compete for extended amounts of time, commentating/provoking when appropriate and shutting the hell up when I notice someone who is losing enter “possible nuclear FIFA tantrum” mode. I’ve heard friends invent new swearwords and I’ve seen at least one instance of physical violence after a 90th minute goal.

We’ve embraced the brilliant FIFA Apology Rules, ridden the emotions of ‘Random Team Roulette,’ and awkwardly played 2-on-2 on the same team as the folks we wanted to annihilate only minutes earlier.

I literally cannot articulate how much I want you to die painfully right now.

FIFA is a strange addiction, I’ll grant you. Yet despite all the quirkiness and extremes I’ve just described it is relatively harmless. It’s a video game.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself after Nasri freaking nutmegged Koscielny AGAIN are you frikkin kidding me what the hell that’s just crap I mean I haven’t strung four passes together in ages and they can’t seem to lose it and what the hell is Zabaleta doing frikkin catching Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wing so quick that is frikkin bull I mean that’s why I put Ox on the left in the first place cos he’s a jet and frikkin slow bastard frikkin Zabaleta can just reel him in like that and of course his tackle is perfect and he gets the ball but if I do the same it goes out every single time this game is garbage I don’t know why I play it it’s so frikkin rigged frikkin City bloody frikkin BLOODY FIFA!!!

Just a game.

Just a game.

Just a game…



MoTD’s FIFA Experiment

MoTD’s resident NBA nut Tommy has committed to playing FIFA to learn more about football. My advice to him was simple: Prepare yourself emotionally.

Tommy will keep MoTD readers up-to-date with his FIFA progress on our Facebook page. It will be a fascinating insight into the seed of addiction being planted.

Check out our Facebook page to watch Tommy slowly descend into FIFA Fixation.


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