Amy Eglin, self-confessed FIFA virgin, spares a thought for an alternative living room date.
When I think of my perfect date, FIFA 11 doesn’t necessarily feature. Call me old fashioned but I think of myself more of a dinner and film kind of girl, so I was relatively thrown when my date suggested, “So, shall we go and play Xbox?” Not wanting to come across girly and, er, a little bit old school I agreed, admittedly a little half-heartedly, it was a “lovely” idea and we settled on the sofa with the console and Carlsberg.
Within five minutes I was sold. Being, crudely put, a FIFA virgin I first got surprisingly excited when I realised I could be any team, in any division, in any country – I’d figured beforehand the teams were based within Premiership (maybe at a push Championship) Leagues, or as World Cup competitors (I discovered later the World Cup was featured in an entirely separate FIFA game, silly me). So with Tottenham picked as my team (obviously) and a quick lowdown on the buttons – how to run fast, direct my passes, switch players, etc – I was ready to play.
What I hadn’t accounted for was that a game of FIFA generated similar levels of excitement as a real match. Maybe it was because it was my first FIFA moment but suddenly the competitiveness, the need to run around the sofa roaring when I scored (I suppressed the urge of top-over-head celebrating, it seemed a little inappropriate in my date’s sitting room), the scowls and potential hooliganism when I lost came flooding over me.
Another misconception I’d had was that whilst the teams were real, the players within them would held no similarities to the real ones, bar maybe height and hair colour. A surprise came as I got more into the match and began to recognise differences between how the football players performed. When I couldn’t force Crouch to run as fast as Defoe, I turned to my date for a reason. All I got was, “It’s a new thing they’ve done with 11, makes the players play like they do in real life.” With a little further research I found that it was a new feature on FIFA 11 called Personality Plus, which essentially means the personality, style and skill of each player is now in the game – meaning Sol Campbell’s a little slower and Heskey probably won’t be able to score. Just kidding… sort of.
So, after a two hour break-in, I can now honestly say FIFA is now a favourite pass time, and potentially, a new perfect date. What I like best is that it’s not just for gamers, it’s also for anyone who enjoys football, for anyone that wants to try and make Peter Crouch do the robot again and for the girls that want to make Danny Rose obey their every command. Or is that just me? Oh…