Month: March 2008

Welcome to peschronicles.co.uk

Yes, I deliberately chose a new theme that’s vaguely reminiscent of the old one, and I will get around to fixing some of the issues with some of the posts, and I know the faithful old header image looks a bit… well, squished is probably the best word for it.

I’ll sort everything out in due course. Some things can’t be mended, I’m afraid. The Export/Import function worked superbly but not everything survived the journey. I’ve lost all the comments made on posts over the past week or so. Everything else seems to be all present and correct, barring a few glitches with some images in some posts, which I’ll have to fix manually when I get time.

At some point over the summer I plan to make a drastic overhaul to the appearance of PES Chronicles, but that time isn’t now. I didn’t want a massive change. I wanted to ease into my own .co.uk domain with a WordPress theme and design that looks similar enough to the old wordpress.com theme for me (and you) not to feel instantly homesick.

That’s all now. Blogging about blogging (about blogging about blogging) is one of the internet’s least appealing quasi-magical-realist attractions. It’s not good to drive with the hood up. I won’t be posting any more meta-posts about the site, unless something terrible happens and I have to go back to the old site (not an impossible outcome).

Coming up tomorrow: the end of season 2011. It’s a good ‘un.

My greatest PES2008 goal

A while ago I promised that my goal replays would all be of truly remarkable or peculiar goals. Today I present a remarkable goal.

For anybody who can’t or won’t view the replay, the goal goes as follows: Komol, playing wide on the left up front, plays a one-two with Podolski in the middle. I hold the ball with Podolski for that fraction of a second needed for Komol to steal a yard on the defender. Then I play a long aerial through-ball back to Komol. The ball bounces once in front of Komol— and I half-volley it from 20 yards past the keeper into the net. A rocket.

Well, I like it. It’s the kind of goal that I love to score, and this is one of the best of its kind.

It was one of the few times during this PES year that I have performed an actual goal celebration in front of the screen. I waved the controller in my left hand and made a fist with my right hand and let out an involuntary shout. More like a roar, in fact. There was no one else in the house, but maybe the neighbours heard me. (“That weirdo next door’s playing his computer games again.”)

Maybe it’s not my greatest-ever PES goal. Off the top of my head I can think of several goals that have given me as much or more pleasure to score than this one.

I can think back all the way to ISS98 on the PlayStation1: a certain Michael Owenn (sic) once netted an arrow-straight screamer from all of 50 yards. Even now, almost a decade on, I can close my eyes and relive the exact moment it flew in—which is fortunate, as there were no replay saves in those days. I remember many a fine goal scored with Stoichkov in PES3, Bergkamp in PES5, a little winger called Malgani in PES6…

But this goal from Komol is the most recent one, and it’s on PES2008. For now, it’s my favourite.

Almost incidentally, I’m now 1st in Division 2. There are two games to go. I’m not just going for promotion now. It’s the Championship I’m after.

Show me the money

Another Other Football Game Sunday is upon us—and no, I still haven’t played Football Manager Live again all week.

That makes it about 10 days since I last logged in to play with my team and face off against another player live, online, the way its makers intend. All of my games have been taken care of by the AI.

I hope I don’t suddenly receive an email terminating me from the Beta test. Somehow I don’t think I will. It’s people like me—casual players—who’ll make up a significant portion of the game’s subscribers after it goes live. We must be catered for.

I have some time off work next week and I plan to spend at least thirty minutes playing FM Live every day. But I also have lots of other stuff to do next week as well, including a Very Special development related to PES Chronicles itself (see below), so we’ll see how that intention holds up.

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Just in time for OFG Sunday came the demo of UEFA 2008 on PS3. It’s also out for the XBox360 but I went with the PS3 version of the demo as that’s where I’ve played FIFA08 all year so far.

UEFA 2008 is a development of FIFA08, and an early taster—perhaps—of what EA has in store for us with FIFA09.

I’ve only had time to play a couple of the two-minute games allowed in the demo. First impressions are pretty good, despite what many would see as a retrograde step: FIFA08’s slow, methodical, love-it-or-loathe-it gameplay style has been tweaked backward, toward the old-style FIFA.

The same solid gameplay is there but it’s now a wee bit more arcadey, with ‘better’ player response times and ‘improved’ passing. I think that the UEFA 2008 engine—and, I predict, the eventual FIFA09 one—is a concession toward the anti-FIFA08 brigade.

Shooting in UEFA 2008 feels a great deal more satisfying, but it’s still not all it could be. Shooting is one aspect of FIFA08 that I have never really learned to love. It seems to lack the visceral ooomph-factor that PES shooting provides in bucketloads.

I’ll post more about UEFA 2008 after I’ve spent some more time with it over the coming week. These are just my very first impressions. I’ve spent literally minutes playing it.

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Here’s some news for everybody who reads this far down.

In a couple of days (a week, tops), visitors to this WordPress-hosted domain will be redirected to peschronicles.co.uk.

I bought the domain name months ago (no dot.com snobbery for me) and now I’m finally going to use it.

Moving to my own domain gives me total control over the site’s design and content. I won’t be keeping the current template, but I will stick with the basic three-column layout with everything roughly where it is now (First XI, Squad list, Top Posts, etc.).

In addition, I will be deploying some advertising. This blog attracts steady traffic—not enough to make serious money, but hopefully enough to cover my hosting costs. I appreciate that this could irritate some visitors, but the adverts will be discreet. Anybody who is really aggravated by advertising on the Internet should already be using Firefox+Adblock anyway.

I’ve got several ideas for how the blog could develop to include new kinds of content. As we move through this summer towards PES2009 I’ll be trying out various things, but the core content—daily chronicles of playing PES—will never change.

I’m announcing it now because I’m not an expert at these things. The new site might be a little—how you say?screwy for a while.

It’s a wonderful life

That’s a high-quality screenshot in more ways than one…

No, it’s not the final table for the season. (I’d be turning cartwheels of joy if it was.) That is the table after 10 games. There are 4 games left to play. I’m 2 points clear of Valenciennes below me. I think I’m going to do it. I’m finally going to get promoted out of Division 2, after 339 seasons of trying, or whatever it’s been.

I think I have finally ‘arrived’ on the PSP/PS2 version of PES2008. I know how to defend. I know how to attack. I know what is and isn’t possible with which kinds of players. I’ve finally stopped trying to dribble past everybody all the time, which is something that you can do with preposterous ease on the so-called ‘next-gen’ version of the game, which I played for five months and will never play again (except out of curiosity one rainy day in July, perhaps).

I’ve also had to adjust to the game’s hair-trigger shooting after the ‘heavy’ shooting of the PS3 version. I’m sending less shots ballooning over the bar, and more into the back of the net. My goal difference is looking healthier.

It’s still not all rosy. I still concede maddening goals. I still come up against CPU players who seem unstoppable no matter how careful I am with what I call ‘micro-tactics’—when you have a runner running full-pelt at your defence, and you have to decide, quickly, whether to dive in, or try to shepherd him away, or bring across another player with the Square button and try a combination of both. If I’m feeling impatient and frustrated I’ll dive in (and often mis-time it, and concede a free kick/penalty, or miss the tackle competely).

But that’s the level of play that I had and enjoyed for several years on PES6, PES5, PES4, PES3, PES2, PES, ISS2, ISS, all of them.

I never, ever felt about any of those games, “Now I am your master. Now there is nothing else I want from you.”

I played them all with consistent pleasure and a feeling of being challenged by them until their replacements came out. As I’ve said before: if Konami’s yearly updates were taking me for a mug, I was happy to be so taken. That’s the kind of being-taken-for-a-mug that I like very much.

I can feel myself straining at the leash to go off on one about next-gen PES2008 here (again), but that’s old ground now. Suffice to say that I felt very much taken for a mug by it, and not in the nice way. But I have a new outlook on life. Yes, a great session on PES can do that for me. All is right with the world.

In my latest game I got two fine goals with Komol, one of them a stooping header from the edge of the box. My other goal in this 3-0 win was Larsson’s first for the club, cutting inside from the left and firing low past the keeper.

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