The Chronicles of Pro Evolution Soccer

A special announcement today.

I am writing a book about this bizarre PES-playing life, and I aim to publish it this October, initially as an ebook. ‘The Chronicles of Pro Evolution Soccer’ (TCoPES) is a working title.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time. Now, this summer, I’ve finally got the time and the motivation.

I’ve nearly got the book outline done. Serious writing will commence next week, after I’ve got my Open University course out of the way.

I’m aiming for 70,000 words. With illustrations, that’s the rough equivalent of a 200-page printed book. The wordcount could lengthen or shorten depending on how well the writing goes.

I aim to have the book available in the week of PES2012’s release. Yes, shamelessly riding on its coattails.

The book will be published on the Amazon Kindle store and other similar locations for a nominal 99p or so. I’ll give away a load of free copies on the site here. Every regular commenter who wants a copy is guaranteed one.

There’ll be other ebook formats available for other ereader devices and smartphones. There’ll be a glossy PDF version for reading on a computer.

For those who like old-fashioned, proper books, I might consider Amazon’s own Print on Demand service. I might even tout the book to a regular print publisher at a later time. It depends how good it is.

So much for the practical, dirty details. What exactly will this ‘book of the blog’ entail?

It’ll be focused upon a journey through more than a decade of real life with a computer game called Pro Evolution Soccer always a constant companion.

It’ll address the lore of PES, the wider cultural phenomenon that is PES, and the madness of PES.

It’ll be something that all PES fans will hopefully recognise, laugh at and with, wince about, and nod sagely over. I want it to be funny and disturbing. It’ll be personal and autobiographical in ways that the blog has never been.

I also want it to be a story that will entertain and interest readers who know little or nothing about PES. The kind of reader, for example, who might have enjoyed a Nick Hornby book without having any interest in Arsenal or in music.

So it’s an ambitious project, yes, but I’m pretty sure I can pull it off.

This isn’t a random, pie-in-the-sky notion that I won’t be able to deliver on. I have written several book-length pieces before—several novels and a non-fiction memoir. All are gathering digital dust on my hard drive. I’ve never really tried to get any published. I got a rejection slip for one of the novels and then gave up.

The current ebook boom has changed the publishing landscape somewhat. The Kindle Store is huge and getting huger.

Getting the raw words written will not be a problem. I can dash off a few thousand words in no time at all, believe me. Curbing my long-winded rambling and making it into the kind of high quality book I have in mind will be the challenge.

The coming summer will be punctuated by regular updates on the book’s progress. I’ll put some kind of graph in a sidebar and update it regularly.

The regular blog will continue, of course, starting on Monday with the next stage in my PES5(PC) ML career.


  1. Nice one, that’s awesome. Will you be releasing it on iBooks as well then? I think for 99p, you’ll find that most of us on here will be happy to purchase it!

    Though you may have to reveal your real name as author!

    The electronic book will be handy, as you can update it with a chapter on PES 2012 once you’ve played it a while.

    Good luck, i’m sure we’ll all enjoy it. Fever Pitch is a great book and a good aim to have.

  2. Liam—I’ll release it everywhere I can. And while I’ll do my best to accommodate the non-PES reader it’ll be of most interest to PES players. You’ll get a free copy as will every regular commenter, but if you want to spend 99p as well that’s entirely up to you and I’d thank you 😉

    Fever Pitch was great for the first few chapters, very funny as I remember it anyway (must be 10 years since I read it), but it tailed off after that. I’ll try to avoid the same thing in TCoPES.

    Edit: not that I believe for one second it’ll be anywhere near the polished high standard of a professional writer’s professionally edited, traditionally published, and massively successful work!

    I will drop this Fever Pitch thing right now, but will just say that by aiming for that kind of ballpark I might get somewhere near it, i.e. not embarrass myself with a very amateurish, shoddy piece of work.

  3. Brilliant, can’t wait – I think, as Liam has stated already, that all regular followers of your blog will be more than happy to pay for the book, I certainly will.
    Congrats on both the ambition and the willpower to see it through not-Greg; I have relatively high hopes for PES 2012 and what better way to celebrate it’s release!

  4. Fair play!! Not a small undertaking no matter how compressed the publishing world had became I wish you every success (nothing to blow off some writers block like a pes session (but in this case might be the last thing you need LOL)).

  5. Chris—I just listened to the WENB podcast this morning and it was very encouraging. But as ever, the guys admitted that they only played one solitary single-player game. That was while Adam was waiting for Suff to arrive from the airport—if Suff hadn’t been running late, they wouldn’t have played any single-player at all. When they talk about in-game AI, they’re talking about teammate AI, not the way the AI plays against you in single-player.

    Otherwise, my ears pricked up at all the talk of the improvements. I was even inspired to go back and play some PES2011, and had a few very good games.

    I’m actually looking forward to starting on the book. I think the October deadline is dependent on me getting the first draft done with about a month to spare, i.e. by early September. That shouldn’t be a problem. Rewriting and editing will be the toughest part of this and where I might overshoot the runway so to speak.

  6. Gary—thanks, and in case you were wondering, yes, you do count as a regular commenter!

    I’ll be playing my usual PES sessions whilst writing the book. Just this morning I had a few good matches on PES2011 (it does happen), and I’m looking with interest at this WE9LE game that I keep hearing about. I’ll be taking a look at the game next week (sadly working all weekend, and doing OU stuff etc). So the whole book-writin’ thing will not in any way be replacing my PES-playing. In many ways, this mania for PES—PES as the one constant in more than a decade of life now—is what it’ll all be about.

  7. I guess, with regards opposition AI, the problems in 2011 only truly rear their ugly head in ML when a lot of the scripting starts to kick in. So maybe even a longer single player playtest is unlikely to unveil any problems us Master Leaguers may face down the line.
    Compare the general experience of the demo with a Master League campaign 5 seasons in and they’re completely different beasts. As you’ve said previously, the proof will be in the playing and I’m trying to curb my enthusiasm, but there are some very positive noises coming from Suff which made me sit up and take notice

  8. Congratulations not-Greg, I wish you all the best of luck with your undertaking.
    So will it be a personal story too? Or mainly about PES? Will it be fictional at all? Will you capture the girl of your dreams at the end?

  9. Chris—quite right, it takes something like 50 hours minimum for an ML player to discover the character of a PES game. It’s great to hear the WENB guys’ views, but disappointing that they just played one another for their entire time on the game. They’re both mainly single-player players, neither of them very keen at all on multiplayer as far as I know.

  10. Grilled Seabass—it’ll definitely feature personal elements, as that’s part of the concept. It’s strictly non-fiction, no jazzed-up elements at all. You won’t be reading about what I have for breakfast, but it will cover a few select life upheavals with PES as the backdrop. I’ll also touch on how the girl(s) of my dreams have come and gone, while PES abides. When I started playing ISS in the late 90s, I had a full head of hair and I didn’t wear glasses. Think “Miracle of Castel di Sangro” territory, but with PES instead of Castel di Sangro and, ah, mostly set in my bedroom instead of Italy.

    Again, I have to stress that I don’t think I’ll be able to match the brilliant standards of that book, or of Fever Pitch or whatever. By at least aiming in that general direction I can hopefully make it worth everybody’s while, instead of it being simply a 70,000-word blog post.

  11. well not-greg, im looking forward to it, i like the writing style of the blog, i’m sure the book will be a good read.

    I also found the WENB positive, but as has been said on this blog before, the true test is when it’s in out hands.

  12. Makershaker—thank you, and I’ll be trying to make it a concise, entertaining read. Every PES fan who’s been with the series for longer than a few years should recognise some of the aspects of PES fandom I’ll be touching on.

    E.g. one of the sections I have in mind will be an in-depth look at what I remember of the day in 2004 when PES4 was released early in the High Street shops. I was in town that day—the Wednesday before official release day— without a clue it had happened, and when I saw a sign going up outside HMV saying they’d started selling PES4, it was one of the most intensely happy moments of my life.

    Why was it such a great moment, though? What does it say about PES, and what does it say about me, and what does it say about the whole PES-following community? I remember looking at PESfan when I got home that day and it was going into meltdown. It was true hysteria. And why has that feeling largely gone, now, in 2011? Is it the game, or is it us growing older? It’s putting bittersweet stuff like that in context, and examining it in more depth in a real-world context—hopefully with some humour—that the book will be all about.

  13. Not Greg, that is ace – if you do go down the print on demand route I’ll certainly be willing to stump up extra for the privilege of a paper back!

    Good luck!!

  14. Pete—cheers, Print on Demand would come much later. PoD is different from the old-style vanity publishing in that the books only get printed if somebody actually wants one. It’s definitely something I’ll consider after I see how the ebook goes down.

    Of course, I’ve got to actually write the thing first. I’ll be going ‘radio silence’ on the topic for a while after today 😉

  15. this sounds great. really hop this goes well for you. i would love to read this book. love to know what your thoughts are on the early pes games. unfortunately i feel pes is sllipping away from me. with all the new games soon to be released football games just dont seem that exciting anymore.

    good luck on your book, im sure it will be a success 😀

  16. sounds great not-greg, I’ll definitely buy a copy. Especially if you’re interleaving your personal life into the PES history. Best of luck with the writing!

  17. ali—that slightly sickening feeling of PES’s golden era having been and gone, and never to come back again…. That’s part of the inspiration behind wanting to write this book now. I’ll try to do the subject justice.

  18. abbeyhill—PES will be front and centre, with my personal life a sub-theme. It’ll be a book about PES with elements of my personal life in parallel to it, rather than an autobiography of any kind that happens to have a lot of PES scattered throughout.

    This book will be a PES book all the way, starting from the first day I played International Superstar Soccer and ending with the PES2012 demo. Along the way there’s a lot of life and general history and PES to get through.

    For example, in 2002 I once really embarrassed myself at an office party, walked home and sobered up on the way, and before sleeping went straight to the PlayStation for a few healing matches of ISS Pro Evolution Soccer. To this day I remember how deeply absorbed I became in the matches, the humiliation of the night totally forgotten.

    It’s that kind of thing—ISS/PES as the one true constant across 12 years now—that it’ll all be about. It’ll be as funny and strange and slightly disturbing as I can make it.

  19. Good luck with this book, sounds fantastic! If it’s as well-written as the blog, there should be no worries. I’ve always liked the idea of writing a book. Sometimes I come up with what I think are good ideas, make a half arsed attempt to start writing something, then realise they were actually rubbish ideas and that I’m incapable of expressing them in a well-written way anyway. Such is life 😉 I’m struggling to get excited about PES 2012, don’t know why, I don’t particularly hate/dislike PES 2011, I’ve enjoyed it despite it’s glaring issues. I have largely stopped playing it for the time being though. I’ve moved onto Mass Effect 2 now, after finishing Bioshock (with a second Bioshock run in tandem). Feel a bit lost, being on the playstation I’ve never played the first Mass Effect, and I’m not a particularly massive sci-fi person normally. Spent more time reading codex entries and walking round my starship than actually doing any missions!

  20. Really looking forward to reading your book when you have finished it. I would be happy to pay for it as 99p isn’t a lot.

    I haven’t been commenting much recently but hope to get more involved again.

    Recently been back online with master league since the psn has got back up and running. Looking to get promoted to div 4 on Monday with a decent run of results. I have been building up my attack first and have still got most of my original default players with ivarov in goal. My next job is to build my defence up. Here’s to the future.

  21. Filbert—writing is just dull work for a lot of the time, it has to be said. I always find that I have to write a lot and then whittle it all down to get something worthwhile – many of the blog posts are written that way.

    You say you’re struggling to get excited for PES2012… me too. Oh, there’s interest and hope all right, but none of the flame-hot need to get my hands on the new game that I would have felt in years gone by. (Another book-hook, there.)

    I think it’s down to two factors. Firstly the series itself is just not what it was in the PS2 days. That’s a debatable point for some, but not for most. The majority is by no means always right, but in this case I think they are. It’s undeniable that in the PS2 days the majority of us existed in a state of blissful footy-gaming joy, and it’s also undeniable that that is no longer the case.

    Second, we’re all getting older. Changed perceptions change as perceptions go on changing…

  22. The Dribbler—thank you, and now all I have to do is write the bloody thing. (Slightly regretting shooting my mouth off now!)

    PSN… what is that? I am not knowing this ‘PSN’ of which you speak…

    Seriously, I am happy for the multiplayers that it’s all back up and running, but I hardly missed it at all. All I missed really was going into the Store every week and looking at all the newly released demos and PS1 classics that I’d never have time to play. I donwloaded Little Big Planet and inFamous when the freebies came out, but still haven’t even installed them.

    Ivarov is a bit of an underrated keeper, I think. He’s still my main keeper in season 3-4 of my PES5(PC) Master League, and good enough for me not to be looking for a replacement just yet.

  23. This is excellent news Not Greg, I wish you Villaba’s Speed in completing this ambitious project, like the others would be more than happy to pay to read it. The funny thing is I think I’m probably going to enjoy your musings more than PES2012!

  24. Lord Stanley—thanks, and you won’t hear any more about the book for a long while, but I’ll be working on it rest assured.

    PES2012 sounds promising—as did PES2011, and as did PES2010, granted, but one of these days the Great Unifying PES will arrive on next-gen, by the law of averages if nothing else.

Comments are closed.