Arise Sir Didier

Drogba holding the trophy

Ridiculous. That’s the only applicable word to the latest happenings in my PES2015 Master League world. My young Regen Drogba has only gone and won the WORLD FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR AWARD.

He’s a great player without any doubt, but a puzzlingly in-and-out one form-wise (like so many in this game). He’s never troubled the top scorer lists, for the club or the league as a whole. He’s not a great assister. He has maybe one great game in 5. I regularly leave him on the bench and play Forlan and Crouch up front.

This isn’t to say Drogba is a bad player in PES2015. He’s definitely a great player to have. Much like his real-life counterpart, on his day he’s one of the best players you’ve ever seen.

Drogba kissing the trophy

But this development simply isn’t merited, on any level. Not even nearly.

The team Drogba plays for has only ever finished 2nd in the Premier. We’ve won 1 solitary Cup. We qualified for the Champions League this season for the first time, but were eliminated at the group stage with two wins from six. My team’s global ranking is still in the 80s. This award is just silly.

It’s not a serious impediment to my enjoyment of PES2015, which is ongoing and not threatened by anything right now. It’s just another one of those roll-eyes, shrug-shoulders moments in the world of PES.

I’m showing the game a yellow card on this one.

Here’s today’s goal, from the man who should have won the award:

Saving and uploading goals from PS4 is so straightforward that I’ll try to post a new goal in every post. This one is typical Crouch fare. There’s nothing very special here, I just like the way Crouch calls for the ball in the first few seconds of the clip, receives it, lays it off, goes on a run, and then takes the aerial through-ball on his thigh before slotting the ball into the net. This goal secured a precious 1-0 win that keeps me in the chasing pack near the top of the table.


In slightly related news, I am on a quest to acquire every football game of the past 30 years in playable form. I’m talking Spectrum games, Atari games, all the ISS games, all the PES games, all the FIFA games, and all the strange outliers too. This Is Football. Sega Soccer Slam on the Gamecube. The Wii versions of PES. ISS64 on the N64. Et cetera.

This doesn’t mean getting all the old consoles on which to play them. Far from it. I already have all the ISS and most of the PES games. As for the others, a virtual, digitised collection will suffice.

PC-based emulation of old console games has come a long way in the last few years. The previous time I dipped my toes in these waters, a few years ago now, results were inconsistent. It was a pain to get things working and things never seemed to work for long.

Nowadays, things are slick. If you’ve got a decent PC with a decent graphics card and a decent processor, emulated games work as reliably and authentically as on the original console.

The original Pro Evolution Soccer (PES1, as we must call it) is rather shocking to play now. It has much more in common, graphically and gameplay-wise, with the PS1-era ISS games, than the later PS2-era PES games that it evolved into. I turned it off after a single half of England-Scotland.

Somewhat heartbreakingly, my first proper PES game, PES2, felt much the same. Old-fashioned. Awkward. At least I played a full match of this one, mainly to see and hear the replay music in action once again after I scored.

I find that only the games from about PES3 onward retain any lasting playability.

I’m currently searching for a PS2 ISO of Football Kingdom, the game that was the darling of the PES forums a few years ago, and doubtless still is in some quarters.

I think I’ll save the emulated football games talk for a special post. That’s two special posts I’ve got to do: 1) a look back at PES2014, the one that got away; and 2) a look at old footy games in emulated form.

I’ve got a week off work in mid-May. I should have time to get both of those planned special posts done then.

Until then, it’s PES2015 all the way. By Friday, I should have almost finished season 9. Results generally are holding up, but I’m having a few too many draws and the odd defeat. We shall see if the scripting fairy pays me a visit and lets me back into the title race.


  1. What a teaser as I am obsessed with old footy games in particular some of the old budget spectrum games as I bought every football game on it. Talking of which I have got my e-mail confirmation as I have put myself down for BETA testing of Kevin Tomms new football management game.

    Back to PES matters and have my biggest game of my career ahead as am home to Bolton with 3 games to go and am 1 point clear in second. Twice now I have let a six point cushion slip and sprint clamp anxiety is kicking in. Really on a roll with the game as I will have completed a season in 6 days.

  2. I’m sure you’ve seen this before, but it’s still easy to get sucked in!manager

  3. Darryl – 6 days for a season is good going . I’m averaging 12 days at the moment.

    I haven’t got time to do the emulated football games justice right now. It’s more a hobby than anything. I’ve been using the emulators to catch up on Final Fantasy 12 for the most part. It is amazing how flawless the experience is. The Gamecube/Wii emulator, Dolphin, is particulardy smooth.

    Chris99 – I’ve done my time with Hattrick back in the day, and I was a Beta tester for Football Manager Online many years ago. The online dimension ruins gaming for me. Chess is my limit. Poker too.

  4. In my ML realm, Luca Toni won World Footballer of the Year last season. It was well-earned after bagging around 90 goals in two seasons. Sadly however, I had already left the club. No PS4 trophy for me.

    Can’t wait to see how your old football game collection grows. A collection of physical copies would be a thing of beauty, but alas, utterly useless without the consoles. There are two games that got me into football gaming all those years ago. Sensible Soccer, to me, is still up there with the very best and is the forefather of football game editing. Countless hours were lost creating my own teams of silly named players on my old Amiga. It’s where Freebridge United, my usual ML created team, was born*. Also, SEGA Worldwide Soccer ’97, and it’s younger brother SEGA Worldwide Soccer ’98, on the Saturn were incredible games. Well, from what I remember.

    *I have a downloaded copy at home will all the bells and whistles on it. It’s all the different SWOS games in one file with one launch window allowing you to select the edition of your choice. I could dropbox it you or something, if you so wish. I also have a legitimate copy of SWOS 96/97 from GOG, but I’m not sure I can share that with someone else.

  5. Meanwhile we head over to Burnley as there are jubilant scenes as Fleetwood Town are promoted into the Premership.

    Absolutly shattered! I won 1-0 at home to Bolton followed by a 3-0 defeat at Derby. This left me with a one point lead over Norwich and 2 points clear of two more teams. But they all had better goal difference, so simply I had to win.

    Went one nil up after 18 mins, only to concede just before half time. Then came a second half onslaught from me but the scripting gods, seemed to have a spell over me as nothing would go in. 9 minutes on the clock and I am throwing everyone forward. Thoughts had turned to “will I ever go up” and “not the play offs again” when I launched a ball into the box, which wascleared to Howson who hit a lamish shot which somehow squirmed under the keeper. It could of taken a deflection but I don’t know as I was hugging my little lad who was sat playing on the I pad on the settee. Last 8 mins seemed an eternity. Yes I am up 🙂 I am off for a cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit to take it all in. Further.

  6. Tommy — I already have that particular Sensi file packed full of versions and patches and mods and all sorts. Alas, the franchise represents a blank spot in my footy gaming education. I missed it in the 90s, and tried my best to get into it in more recent years, but the top-down style and ruling concepts — particularly the dribbling — are foreign to me.

    My footy game collection project definitely includes Sensi, and I’m due another tilt at ‘getting it’ one day soon. Not being into Sensi, for a football gamer, is a bit like never having read War and Peace for a reader (never done that either).

  7. Darryl – Congratulations mate. I enjoyed that almost live update.

    n-G – That little collection sounds fun. Personally, I’d rather the “real” games on cartridge/tape/disc or whatever even I I can’t play them. Like Tommy, SWOS was a big favourite of mine but the one that hooked me on footy games was Emlyn Hughes International Soccer on the C64. Even that game allowed you to edit the player and team names. Amazing really.

    Talking of which, tonight will hopefully be spent designing a new kit for Brighton, some tactical jiggery-pokery and some squad rebuilding ahead of season six.

  8. Darryl — brilliant! Great summary of the vital action too. Did you record the key goal? Upload it and stick it here in the comments if so.

    Now you will be going shopping for players to take you through a Premier season, you should see the true cunning of this transfer market. You’ll discover that even £30m won’t get you many more players better than the ones you already have.

  9. Thanks chaps.

    NG – no that is a bit of a sore point as I have not been able to record for a while as I keep getting a upload error message. Sadly we do have a naff Internet connection. Have been planning ahead this season and have a 3.5 star rated team that can at least compete and just want to add in a couple of areas. I like the prospect that it is a bit more cunning when you go up.

  10. Shed — I’ve already got all the ISS and PES games in real boxed copies in various formats, so their digital versions are purely complementary. If I really wanted to go all-in on the project I could order the MegaDrive, Wii, N64 games etc that I have in emulated form from Amazon/eBay. I won’t be going that far as I haven’t got the space to lovingly tend such a collection. Each game would have its own glass case on individual spot-lit plinths in a hushed, airless room. Maybe one for the future, to show my lady friends when they come round to visit.

  11. Darryl – Are you PS4? I forget. I had something similar a while back, turns out I wasn’t signed in to my YouTube app. Could be that, perhaps?

  12. Tommy – thanks for that. I will do some investigating as it could possibly be as simple as that.

  13. Just had an absolutely cracking game against Man City that may well have turned my season around. Sitting 13th with 8 points from 7 games and feeling thoroughly despondent I had De Rossi sent off after 10 mins. Adopting a NG mentality of I will not be beat I actually went 2-0 up by half time. They came back into the game and pulled one back with 15 minutes to go. I switched to my defensive formation and was holding out until they scored on 88 mins. Back to my attacking set up and I scored a 93rd minute winner which had me punching the air in delight. I’m back!!!

  14. My backup striker Niang went supernova right as Milan played Real Madrid in the CL QF 1st leg at home. He got 2 goals but we drew 3-3. Thought we would be out but 45m euro signing Destro poached both goals off rebounds in our 2-1 win at the Bernabau. Niang has displaced Destro as my choice striker, he has a great turn of pace that opens up defences. He got another 2 goals as Milan beat Shaktar 3-0 at home to qualify for the CL final.

    In the league we’re 4 pts clear at the top with 3 games to go. But no treble this year as we’re dumped out of the cup by juventus 2-5 on aggregate. I bought Zouma from Chelsea for 40m+ and Coutinho from Liverpool for 75m! Zouma already contributing in the CL especially, Coutinho to join next year. Have to do some selling as I’m low on cash!

  15. LC – Nice to hear some new names being mentioned. From comments on here I feared everyone was converging on the same squad.

    nG – From my Amiga days I would have to put forward Kick Off too.

  16. Love the Premership on top player as all the teams so far play to the way thier real life counterparts would. Not won a game yet as have dtawn 3 and lost one. The game continues to make me smile as I set up a ultra defensive 4-5-1 agsinst Man Utd away and despite giving away 70% of possesion I went 1-0 up with a great goal from Sloth, who thankfully is starting to be more dominant in the middle now. It was looking like a famous victory with 3 mins of injury time awarded. With just under 6 minutes to go Utd rifled one in from outside the box. They have even included Fergie time 🙂

  17. Snazzy new home and away kit designed ahead of season 6 and a switch to a more classic 442 with a 451 and mad 2224 attack formation in reserve.

    Had a big clear out of my squad with Kike going to Southampton for £5m – great price for a 77 rated 29-year-old. Sad though as he was a favourite despite being very average really. Also sold a first choice CB for £6m and default Eborcany has gone too.

    Using my “only sign available players rule”, I struggled to find any great quality to buy or loan but I did pick up regen Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Phillip Lahm who I might just stick straight in my starting XI. I think one or two or you may have had Zlatan but I thought I would give him a go as he’s certainly not got the legend of a Crouch or Drogba in this ML.

  18. I underestimated how many players I decided not to renew thier contracts having decided they were not good enough for the next step up. This has left me a bit light with a 22 man squad until the January deadline where I have got 4 more players agreed to come inclding Suarez (Argentine one) and Ashley Young on freebies. Bit of experience to go alongside my developing side.

  19. Shed – Big Zlatan is great, although I didn’t get chance to see him at his best. He’s definitely got something about him that makes him better than most, and his skills card list is massive. His stamina is poor early on, but he should become one of the best after time. I hope to pick him up again in the future.

    Just entered the January transfer window which means 4 new players have joined up with the squad. Signed Mario Yepes from my old club for a cool £51m, also Claudio Bravo, Mario Santana (just called Santana, for some reason) and Iker Muniain on loan.

  20. Chris99 – most of the overlaps in squad members are in the striker area, you’ll notice. PES2015 is a peculiar ML world in that there really are very few top, top players in any positions once you get a few seasons in.

    My last search for all 90+ OVR rated players after 8 seasons returned only 12 results. 3 of those players were already mine. Others found the same in their ML worlds. Which means that when you go a-hunting for a top new striker, the same handful of names will appear across all worlds. I have dark suspicions that this is not how it was meant to be.

  21. nG – It does seem a limitation for a long term ML. This year I’m FIFAing, and although it prides itself on accurate rosters there are always plenty of invented youth players in the game. I haven’t played enough seasons t see if they are truly world class though.

  22. There’s no shortage of young players and regens (Crouch and Forlan are great examples). There are more invented young players than you can shake a stick at. There’s just this very strange profound shortage of established strikers who are already developed and ready to go.

    In the last few editions of ML, from PES2012 on I think, the OVR rating goes up to 110, and there have always been plenty of players filling those spots from the first season or so.

    In PES2015, the scale once again goes up to 110, but after 8 full seasons, there are only 10-15 players rated 90+, and there are NO players at all rated 100+. Most peculiar. So peculiar that it can only be an unintended glitch-bug, I sadly conclude.

    The long-term effect doesn’t seem to be limiting. You tend to focus on youth and develop your own players. The bulk of talent inhabits the 80-90 OVR range, and this effectively becomes the pool from which you draw your new signings. The AI is such that every opposition player plays like a 200 OVR-rated player when they feel like it.

  23. I’ve never been sure about the whole concept of regens. It seems to subconsciously encourage people to stick with the same players by getting their regens after they retire.

  24. Which I loved doing, on the rare occasions I could do it. There’s no ‘subconscious’ encouragement about it!

    Bergkamp in PES5 – had him three times. Hagi in PES2012, so good I signed him twice. I’m sure I’ve done it at other times, but they’re the only examples that occur to me right now. There are very few ML campaigns that actually go on long enough to allow the multiple regen-signing scenario to occur, but when it does, I’m all for it. If I’m still playing PES2015 when Crouch retires and is reborn, I’ll be scanning the Regen lists every single week to make sure I get him again. ML is a fantasy world and that’s its strength.

  25. Shed – I’ve got Lahm, he can play a variety of positions very well. Got a good dribble on him too.

  26. Different strokes. Regens never really floated my boat.

  27. Chris – I am with you on that one as I don’t mind the Fifa set up where they reuse the surnames but the player is a different player with stats/traits. In PES it is case of just lazy programming one would think. I may use the odd one sparingly but I don’t think I would use him again but given my history that would be a nice dilemma as I doubt I would ever get that far. Like you say everyone is different and I sit somewhere in no mans land when it comes to being in the realistic/fantasy camp.

  28. I used to go out of my way not to sign famous players – even regens – as the journey of some unknown to world beater is one of the best aspect of a ML career. In PES 2015, however, I feel like I need all the help I can get on Superstar level.

    I’ve been actively seeking out players with multiple special skills – Long Ranger etc – and most of them are obviously household names. I have at least set the boundary of not just chasing the best players in the game by limiting my new signings to available/transfer listed players.

    Oh, and I sold regen Luca Toni for £10m. I just never took to the guy even though he looked promising. Only ever scored one goal in the season he was at Brighton.

  29. Shed – £10m!!!!???? If I was to try and buy him now in my game it would set me back £100m+

  30. Tommy – Oh! I was quite chuffed with that when the offer came in. He’s still a bit-part 19-year-old in my ML but I just couldn’t get anything going with him.

  31. Hope your all sitting comfortably, highlights from seasons 10 and 11. It’s 15 minutes long and please excuse the rubbish transitions as I forgot how to get rid of them until after I finished it. Doh.

  32. Lloyd – great stuff that was my toilet viewing this morning. You can see from the clips that you have a very dangerous counter attacking team.

  33. Lloyd – I was very taken with how dangerous your Drogba seems compared to mine. I think my play-style (almost all pass and move: I rarely dribble and almost never try to beat players, even though I know PES2015’s mechanics are very dribble-friendly) doesn’t suit him.

    And I was most perplexed in some of your clips about these sleet/snow/rain slicks, behind the goals:

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    I’m only slightly disturbed to report that I don’t recall seeing anything like that in any of my hundreds of matches on PES2015. Either it’s not in my game, which is disturbing, or it is and I’ve just never noticed it, which is also disturbing. Either way, it’s just disturbing…

  34. Lloyd – Nice video. Almost seems like a different game, do you play on a slower pace setting? Great to see Totti flexing his muscles. Can’t believe you haven’t changed Riise’s hair to ginger though. Bugged me for ages that did.

    Poor run of games at the minute, after a lovely spell last night where I qualified for the CL with a heroic push At the end. Today has been rife with over-hit passes, I think I’m trying to compensate for the drop to two-bar.

    Drogba still toilet.

  35. Tommy – I play on -2.

    Just got knocked out of CL group stage, another chance to win the Europa League beckons. This is definitely the hardest Pro Evo I have played. Season 13 and still not a sniff of a League title. Always seem to get a bad start and play catch up all season. Superstar and 0-bar is rock hard, no going back though.

  36. At the halfway point of my first premership season and the season is turning into the struggle you would expect for a newly promoted team, which is proving that the difficulty is holding up and the balance seems right. Currently 14th with a nervous eye on the relegation places. Target was about the 13th mark. Have 4 decent signings coming so should be ok. There was a notable 1-0 win away at Chelsea where the evergreen Samaras broke clear from a long ball in the first half and slotted the ball. I then defended like Tigers to hold on to a famous victory.

  37. Drogba starting to show some consistency now. Good wins I’m the cup against Sassuolo and in the league against leaders AC Milan. Grounding defeat to Lazio. Currently 2nd and 16 off the summit, so probably no first season title, but a great base to build on.

  38. The difficulty scaling is definitely a major change for the series this year. I was just thinking how most ML campaigns crumble quite quickly after you reach a certain plateau with a decent enough squad etc. This one definitely isn’t obliging.

  39. Ha… Milan are Serie A champions, again. Lost track of games played, thought I had 3 more games to go with a 4 pt lead when actually it was 2 to go. So won the league with a 2-0 win at Verona with one game to spare.

    Next I look forward to the CL final vs Chelsea. Should be relaxed as Milan will be in next season’s CL no matter what.

    Another strangely unsatisfying season, winning serie A without beating any of the big tough teams Inter or Juventus.

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