I sit writing this week’s Interfering With Play slightly earlier than usual. Due to Man United vs. Barcelona and the release of GTA IV on Tuesday, I have decided that there would just not be time to fit in this column, and therefore have brought it slightly forward. Having read the comments from the previous week’s article, I believe there are a few major talking points that need addressing and as usual, I will try to fit as many in as is possible. So without any more delay, lets get going.
Kiss My Seabass
It has taken a great deal of patience to stick to the original plan, especially with so many people asking me, regarding the result of the Seabass Letter. For those who have only recently come across PESGaming.com, I compiled a letter to Seabass, expressing some of the views and concerns shown by the PESGaming.com public about PES2008, along with suggestions for the 2009 edition of Pro Evolution Soccer. This letter was finalised on February 29th 2008, and sent the following week. Having waited two calendar months, and sending the letter to numerous people at Konami, including Seabass’ “Official” e-mail address, I have heard no word back from anyone, other than the standard auto-reply messages on certain e-mails. Of course, this is highly disappointing, if slightly expected that a large game developer would spend time speaking to a dedicated fan site in some form that was other than an official interview. However, in my opinion, it was worth a shot that some of the views expressed by this gaming public would fall upon influential ears, and this remains to be seen. Of course we all expect issues such as the lag and the online play to be fixed, but if new game modes appear, or old options return, I for one certainly won’t be complaining come mid-October. I would like to set straight that not once did I claim to know anyone from Konami personally, nor did I state that I was ‘in the loop’ regards the games developments. Due to many hours of dedicated research, I try and keep on top of all the latest rumblings in the world of gaming, and when these rumblings involve PES, my ears do tend to be slightly more sensitive. Like many of you, I am a huge PES fan, having just clocked up over 250 hours of playtime on the game, and simply want the best possible gaming experience.
Heads, Shoulder Buttons, Knees and Toes
One of the biggest criticisms of Sony’s PSP since its introduction was the fact that it only had one shoulder button on each side, as opposed to the usual two buttons found on both PS3 and 360 controllers. Of course, on a portable system, every cm counts but this has made playing a lot of console orientated games slightly off-putting. Pro Evolution Soccer requires all four-shoulder buttons as much as any title, and it has been a huge debating point as to whether the game would be worthwhile playing on the handheld console. In my experience, and in the experiences of my mates, I highly recommend PES on the PSP, but warn that it is a lot more difficult alternate between playing the console and handheld version. The idea of sitting on the train or playing wirelessly against mates is a huge draw, and coupling this with a slightly watered down Master League you have a game that provides as much of a lifespan as any other title on the system. If you are contemplating buying the title, I believe most games shops have it on sale for under £20, or you can support Konami sponsors, Play.com and get it for a very reasonable £19.99
As many regular readers are aware, the whole age ratings on games feature which has spent so much time in the news in recent months has been a personal choice topic. Speaking to a lot of people, ranging from teachers and parents to avid gamers, there are many different views and outlooks on the subject and I thank all those that have expressed their views as a part of this site. Of course, its an issue that will rage on for many months and even years until computer games begin to receive a similar level of recognition as music and movies when it comes to adult content, with some believing this may never occur. This week though, I am bringing it closer to home, and asking the question why do these age ratings apply to Pro Evolution Soccer. Surely with football being on TV pretty much every hour, and being a popular sport amongst children as young as 3, there will never be any desire to make games like PES and Fifa anything other than a 3+ PEGI rating. Common sense tells us all this fact, but once again, as realism develops, so too will the over cautious censors. WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 has received a 16+ rating, even though WWE is shown all hours of the day on Sky Sports, and Tony Hawks Project 8 received a 12 sticker from the BBFC, even though children as young as six can be seen skateboarding in their local parks. The subjects themselves are not particularly offensive, but some of the issues in the game are, including violence and bleeding which occurs in both titles. Only a few weeks ago in Interfering With Play, a great deal of interest was shown as to regards more realistic injuries on PES, and if these became represented in graphical form, the people responsible for the age ratings would definitely step in. What are your views on this as football gaming fans? If you have played either WWE or Tony Hawks, do you feel the graphical content is worthy of the age rating it has received? Taking this one stage further, and I am playing devil’s advocate slightly here, should PES have received a higher age rating due to the diving aspect on the game? The big concern is that we do not want children emulating the games they are playing if it is a negative influence, and diving is a problem that children as young as five are starting to get in on. Ridiculous it may be, but its there to be debated, and your views are the ones that count.
Fast Forward The Ads
Assache has been going on for most of the week about the adverts in PES, and how they seem to be constantly updating and changing. Rumours have spread that Konami adapts the ads and having a broadband Internet connection sees the game ‘self-update’ to the latest sponsors. Whilst I have seen no proof of this, I believe Konami is onto something regarding advertising in computer games, and they have done so by taking it further than the simple advertising boards, which surround the field of play. Certain games have relied heavily on one sponsor, the awful Adidas Power Soccer springs heavily to mind, but in the digital information age, it shocks me that very few other genres of games have taken up this money spinning idea. I am obviously thinking outside the sporting genre, and into the worlds of RPG’s and FPS. Loading screens could be cluttered with the latest products instead of ‘overused’ in game imagery, and with no option to skip these, people will have to pay attention to what is being displayed on the screen. Companies would also be able to focus certain advertising campaigns to certain demographics, meaning 18 rated games could have more matured based adverts for products that would never be allowed on prime time TV slots. Whether it is a case of contracts and legalities, or whether its just as case of gaming developers wanting to keep out of that mainstream marketplace for as long as possible is totally up for debate, but with Internet sites like Myspace and Play realising the importance of in-game advertising, its only a matter of time before some of the big guns follow suit. May I also bring up, I notice that IGN.com features heavily within PES2008, popping up at the end of every game and throughout the Master League menu screens. IGN.com is a highly reputable site that provides quality information and details about pretty much every game ever made for a home console, yet on re-reading its review of PES, it seems to be written from a more Fanboy perspective than many of the others out there. This could be mere coincidence, as I am not for one second implying IGN would trade review scores for advertising, but it is worth taking a look at. As you know, personally I would agree with the rating given, but in comparison to the other reviews of games, some of the text does seem slightly generous.
Four Is The Magic Number
I have received some interesting nominations for the Big Four article that will feature throughout the month of May. Basically, it is a look at the four most influential footballing games in History, with a different one being highlighted each week. Needless to say, Adidas Power Soccer is not in the top four. I am pretty much set with the four titles that will be featured, but am still more than open for any suggestions. They need to reach me by this time next week in order to be considered for this feature, and must be available on a home console (so no PC or Arcade Games). Please e-mail suggestions to me at the usual address with the subject, Big Four in order to ensure a prompt reading and response.
You Do Not Have To Say Anything…
Finally this week, I would like to make a few comments regarding the whole purpose of this article, and indeed exactly why I write Interfering With Play. I write Interfering With Play on a weekly basis, and it is designed to discuss topics of a football gaming nature. As a result of this, some topics will be about football, some about gaming, with the majority of topics being in some way related to the two. I love PES, but like to consider myself objective and do not wish to appear as a Fanboy, not open to other games, even the dreaded F Word (Fifa), and blind to everything other that PES. Peter Willis does an excellent job keeping PESGaming.com up and running, and ensuring that all the latest news about PES in right here for you to digest as and when you see fit. Interfering With Play centres on PES, but will go off on other angles, tangents and provoke different discussion topics. If these topics appeal to you, please read them and respond, if they do not appeal, ignore these and read the ones that do. Each week, I write four to seven sections, with at least 2 focussed on PES, and will continue to do so, in spite of seemingly ‘no new topics’ available. I fully appreciate peoples input, be it either positive, as so much is, or negative, which obviously provokes more talking points. To cut a long story short, I play a lot of PES, but I appreciate there are other things in life, and like to bring up related comment with the belief that the majority of readers will find it either interesting, thought provoking or slightly amusing. An example being Soccer AM, which in spire of being a football show, features bands and actors along with many moments of pure comedy genius. It still centres on football, but drifts off on all angles, something that I like to think Interfering With Play also does. The main thing though, is that moaners, fanboys and everyone in between get their views across, because that’s the whole point of PESGaming.com
That’s all of have time for this week. As I said, I wrote this on Monday night (although it will be posted on Tuesday) so I am, like many gamers, looking forward to sitting down with a copy of GTA IV. If you have any comments about anything you have read here, either add them at the bottom of the page, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for Reading