Any issues involving the simulated contests of athletic millionaires, played from the comfort of your sofa, very much falls under the banner of First World Problems.
Playing FIFA online is as good a way of wasting your life as I’ve discovered. Occasionally ill-tempered, frustrating, and father to many a splenetic invective, there are few purer ways to celebrate the beautiful game. I, for example, can only think of 67 or so better examples.
Until FIFA get over themselves regarding Fair Play and restore the Massive Dirty Hack and Dive buttons, I shall have to resort to angry, futile prose in an attempt at catharsis after the following misdemeanours have taken place. All publicity is good publicity, as I’m sure EA will agree.
Really? The Generic National Anthem? You want to listen to all of it?
You get 10 XP points for sitting through all the cut scenes. It’s the only reason I can think of for forcing a stranger to sit through this, as happened to me yesterday. I sat, tapping A, wondering what they were getting out of the experience. Is it the beauty of the lens flare as the sun comes over the oval of the stadium? The unspoken nobility of the Belgian national team and their finely rendered haircuts? Does this player have no national identity of their own, and therefore clings to the non-specific anthem as being representative of nothing and therefore everything they stand for?
Quit when you score after 30 seconds
If the time on the clock has not reached the five minute mark, you can quit an online game without losing. This is why, if you score early, your opponent may quit on you, and would therefore make a rubbish gay cowboy. The worst bit is when you try to explain this joke, and then you end up sitting down to watch Brokeback Mountain together and by the end you’re in tears, and then you agree just to play the silly game of football after all, and then they beat you because they haven’t been as emotionally affected as you because they’re a MONSTER.
Play against strangers with your headset on
I can understand friends nattering away – full of banter, beans and spunk – while partaking of an online soccerball contest. However, if no one else is in the room with you, putting on a headset so you can have a one-sided conversation with a stranger you’re playing football with is a strange choice of activity, at best a metaphor for Cartesian dualism. Less pitiable, but more awkward, is when the entire family appears to be in the room. It’s hard not to feel bad as you effortlessly beat an Italian schoolboy at FIFA, it’s worse when his family are in the background and are audibly upset.
That’s before the whole ‘It sounds like someone paper-cutting a million wasps in half’ issue with the sound quality.
Kick off and then do skill moves, daring you to tackle them
So, what’s your gameplan? Pack the centre of the park and play it wide? Sit back, invite them onto you, then counter-attack rapidly? Punt it long? Or do a short pass from the kick-off and then just stand there doing skill moves and flicks? You realise how pathetically obvious it is that you want me to lunge forward so you can sidestep me gracefully? You realise that I can wait longer than you can? Go on. Try me. My record is the entire first half.
Pausing for no apparent reason
There is some tactical advantage to be gained from pausing at certain moments. You can only pause when you have possession (which is technically deemed as ‘if your player was the last person to touch the ball’), so if the ball’s heading out of play it’s a good time to make substitutions, as they will come on fairly quickly after the restart. What quite a lot of people do, possibly in the hope of causing a distraction, is pause the second after the ball hits their player.
There then ensues a cat-and-mouse game of ‘Well, I’m not unpausing, because if I do it first they’ll know when they’re unpausing and have an advantage,’ both players poised over their controllers tapping the bejeezus out of a button and anticipating all their opponents’ possible moves.
When I say cat-and-mouse, no cat would ever bother indulging in such a pointlessly competitive act, not when there’s a sunbeam around or another animal to torture.
Punt the ball back to their goalkeeper from kick-off, then play keepy-uppy til your attacker gets there
This is another variant on the slightly fey ‘Chase me! Chase me!’ behaviour as documented in number four, but here it’s often deployed after the 80th minute when your opponent has the lead. It’s eminently sensible, tactically speaking, as it kills time and is more annoying than the news that Justin Bieber will not only be playing Robin in the new Batman Vs Superman movie, but he’ll be workshopping the character for a year in your house.
Such behaviour is technically allowed, but should be rewarded by a message on the screen, one from a series of compelling philosophical arguments stating that everything dies and beating someone at FIFA isn’t going to alter the scale of your universal insignificance.
It’s a penalty, not an art installation
You’ve scored a penalty. Most penalties are scored. This is one of the least difficult things you will ever accomplish in your life.
No one needs to see replays of such an event from three different angles in slow-motion. You might choose to do so to annoy your opponent, but that would be because you’re being a dick. Even if your opponent was being a dick first, you’re still being a dick. Stop being a dick. You can’t cancel out a dick with another dick. That’s just two dicks. This is contextually worse. Stop being a dick.
Send unhelpful messages about connection speeds
Do you know, sir or madam, the exact details of my internet setup? Do you think I would have made it to Division 1 playing exclusively on a dial-up modem? Because those man-hours of excruciating pish would totally have been worth it, the effect much like being stuck in a room with a strobe light. But now that you have pulled the wool from my eyes with your badly spelt invective, I can suddenly see how I should upgrade to broadband from my Trevithick modem.
I suspect that it’s more likely that idiots emit some sort of broadband dampening field.
Go Barcelona and think they’re geniuses because they can score with Messi
I’m rubbish at dribbling, I panic at one-on-ones, and if I try to do a skill-move it usually ends up as a throw-in, but even I can score a nice looking goal when controlling the best player in the world. Hell, I can score a nice-looking goal when controlling Cillian Sheridan. Stop running up and down the pitch in celebration just because you’ve managed to curl a 20-yarder in using Messi or Ronaldo. It’s actually harder to wet yourself than what you’ve just done, so stop breathing in your own farts, and show me you can do that again while controlling Delroy Facey.
One day, after losing a match, I received the following message:
u jewish ****
I blocked the player, and then, puzzled, did some research. Having played as Valencia, it turns out there is a Jewish quarter there, but the club are not renowned for such a heritage. It turned out that it was simply referring to a kind of goal. If two players are clean through against a keeper, squaring it to another player and leaving them with an empty net to shoot into is referred to as a ‘Jew goal’.
Ignoring the fact that this is an eminently sensible tactic in such a situation (what with scoring goals being the aim of the game and everything), it reflects that problem within gaming that many people think Eric Cartman is a role model, rather than an insane megalomaniac. As a result, they don’t consider entrenched sexism and racism to be a problem. Furthermore, there are people who don’t see it happening to them, and therefore assume it isn’t a big deal, as opposed to an insidious and deeply creepy blight on our society.
Go, First World Problems.
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