Scripty McScriptface

The pattern of Season 10 of PES2014 is becoming clear. After Monday’s somewhat gushing endorsement of the game and my progress in it, I find myself being contained more or less in place. Can’t get ahead, but not falling behind. In the League at least. I’ve played 6 more league matches and this is the table:

PES2014 Season 10 after 15I’ve not lost any more matches, but there have been two frustrating draws that have prevented me getting close to the runaway leaders. Both of these dodgy draws felt a touch scripty. Saying that PES is a touch scripty is like saying EastEnders is a touch shouty. It’s what happens.

First Man Utd were almost unplayable, and I considered myself lucky to come away with a 1-1. Then I should have thumped Spurs 10-0, such was my dominance. Their keeper clawed everything away and the post saved him twice when he was beaten. 1-1 there too.

I’m worried that this season will see me just go through to the end, almost getting within touching distance of the top but never quite managing it. As if the game won’t allow it for another season or two.

Many a veteran PES player will snort in derision at the suggestion that there’s a secret layer of machinery behind the scenes that controls the tendency of outcomes. But I know that the machinery is there, and that scripting exists.

Two reasons. First: I’ve perceived its effects, in every single football game I have ever played, for over 20 years now. Second (this is the real clincher): if I was creating a football game, I would pack it to the rafters with scripting. Football gamers want football games that last for more than a couple of weeks. The only practical method of doing that is to install a host of artificial handicaps that work their hidden magic according to very specific criteria – scripts, in other words.

Scripting in PES is an old debate that should have been put to bed long, long ago. I’m amazed when I see it suggested, or even hinted, that scripting doesn’t exist in football games. Believing that scripting doesn’t exist in footy games is a little like believing that film actors improvise their lines, and are accidentally filmed in the course of doing so. It just isn’t a credible position to take.

PES2014 Season 10 Europa League final group

Things are slightly different in the Europa, where I have sailed through to the knockouts, as I knew I would. You just get a feel for how things will go. Scripting works both ways.

The knockouts are where I traditionally trip up in European competition. The Europa (or the WEFA Cup, as I will always think of it) is my least-won competition in all historical Master Leagues, for various reasons. This may be the last opportunity I will ever get to win it in PES2014.

Finally today, two moments from my encounter with Chelsea at the start of this season. I found these moments on my phone. I won this match 2-1. Yes, I’m the one who inflicted that solitary defeat on Chelsea as pictured in the table above.

First you see one of PES2014’s dumb moments: a decent header from Torres (okay, it seems to come off his shoulder, or even the Chelsea defender’s back, but whatever) that is chested down on the line by Deco, who then can’t twist in time to scoop the ball in. Aaargh!

But responsiveness fans needn’t fret too much. A few minutes later, Torres is on hand to first-time a half-volley into the net. The goal comes from a nifty one-two and is a fairly typical PES goal in many ways, but I find these something of a rarity in PES2014.


  1. Turf – Re your judo question, my little ‘un and my niece both do karate. Both did it for different reasons. My niece (an only child) took it up at 11. She was doing no activities and as such was getting introverted and a bit podgy. She’s now frighteningly good, lost her puppy fat, gained confidence and has won a couple of medals in competition. My son took it up a year ago at the age of 7. He’s very intelligent and quite gentle, ie the kind of kid who would get eaten alive in a modern senior school. So for him, well his parents :-), it was more about confidence and not bursting into tears if someone hits him. He likes the organisational side of learning the katas, and gaining a few belts has boosted his confidence with bigger kids.

  2. No treble for me in my current ML season with Brighton. Lost 1-0 to Arsenal in one of the Script McSciptface matches you describe above. Still unbeaten in the league and in the Champions League.

  3. NG – I like what you did with the title there.

    I love those who argue scripting doesn’t exist. It is there so does exist, end off. We did once have titles that didn’t have scripting and they were the likes of Matchday, with little shelf life to go with it. The over the top Pro Evo scripting has a mystical charm of its own.

  4. I remember Matchday and Matchday 2 lasting me a few days each before I could win every game easily. The first football game where I thought scripting had gone too far was actually the greatest football game ever made, PES5. So it’s not a drawback, it’s a necessity. We wouldn’t have football gaming without it.

  5. NG – exactly as scripting is like referees as they infuriate you at times, rob you of games, come to your saviour at others and there is no way the game would be possible without them.

  6. Thanks for judo/martial comments, he’s got his name down so will see how it goes.

    15th, dizzy heights! 21 goals scored from 22 games. This pes is the anti-Lloyd, it’s the take any scruffy bundled in goal you can get. I’ve decided klose and me are just not a good fit this incarnation. I’ve had him in other pes to good effect but with the limited through ball potential, absence of decent heading chances and need for a bit of craft he’s just not worth the value he’s given. Anelka and welbeck offer more, Kane’s getting there. I think this is the hardest pes I have played, it is so punishing of anything wayward, late, slightly awry and gives you virtually no real quality. It’s a big deal when you score but I can’t imagine many players have saved replays.

  7. Uncle Turf — yep, that’s right, PES2014 as the hardest-ever PES is pretty much indisputable IMO. One of its many peculiarities is that most of its goals get their value from the context you score them in. They have to mean something beyond themselves. I do miss the joys of traditional PES shooting, but the altered chemistry of 14 still fascinates. I’m as immersed in this ML as in any other. A cult classic, definitely.

  8. As it is my birthday and I have a bit of money I am looking to buy a game and am looking for a deep game that does not go down the tired old sub mission route. Or any game really that is a bit different. Any recommendations as I keep myself a bit detached from the world of gaming, except footy games really.

  9. Darryl – in order of greatness, I recommend ICO, Portal, and Bioshock. All three are short (10-15 hours) and don’t have anything by way of anxiety-inducing map icons and reams of sub-missions and all that stuff (Bioshock does have a map, but has linear objectives, and is very neat & tidy on the focus). They’re available for PS3 on the PS Store, or will be very cheap in preowned sections of real stores. ICO in particular might well change your life. Get all three!

  10. All three are winners in terms of world-immersion, straightforwardness in what you have to do, and more importantly brevity. I doubt you’d end up ‘doing a werd’ and drifting off with any of these short games. If you only want to get one for now, make it ICO. It’s the kind of game you finish with manly tears welling up.

  11. Darryl – purely for balance I have to say ico annoyed and bored me within minutes and was most definitely not for me. I suspect it splits the community. I did like the title it can be bought with as part of a remastered set – shadow of the colossus – maybe that’s not a bad call if you want something slower paced and pretty . Disagea? Maybe the ‘zany’ dialogue would irritate but I loved the weird world within an object levelling. It’s actually quite difficult when you stop to think how many games now rely on ‘take X to y then proceed to point z, here’s the map’. Platformers, shmups, etc are rare as rocking horse poop in the upper echelons of charts and if you don’t like fantasy RPGs then it’s sport n cars. Like the firefly I am I find I always gravitate to what’s going on topside ie. In July I fancy virtua tennis, back in January it was nfl. I’d rather like a shot on that snooker game that I got rid of years ago, even better I’d like a game of snooker if I had any mates!

    I can’t really better NG’s selections even though I’ve only played one of them. It’s why I jacked GTA in so early, same old ever.

  12. Thanks for all that and some food for through. It is a pity there is no real huge game like a Fallout that shows some originality and does something different than the sub mission nonsense. But we live in an age where originality is dead. Game designers would rather go down the well worn path. Witcher 3 looks like it has bags of potential but it would annoy me for these reasons.

  13. Darryl – purely to rebalance Uncle Turf’s remarks about ICO, the game plonks you down in a mysterious situation with no explanation of where you are or what’s really happening, and challenges you to work everything out. Your first task is to open a cage to release an imprisoned girl, which you’re not helped with. ICO fans recall it more for the strong emotion it builds up throughout the short 10-15 hours you’ll play it, rather than for the fiendishness of its puzzles or for its combat. The game’s emotion is built on the ties you feel to its only two characters – the boy that you control, and the girl that you must lead out of the castle. The castle itself is one of the most eerie and haunting level designs in gaming (the castle being one huge level). The puzzles are never unfair and I recall getting through the game relatively easily. Of course nowadays gamers expect lots of on-screen help and hints, etc. You’ll get none of that. I remember a while back you talking about a game called, I think, Two Brothers, that sounded as if it was inspired by ICO.

  14. p.s. I played a couple of hours of The Witcher 3 and had a screen packed full of quest icons and subquests and sub-sub-quests… Great world, great graphics, and a superb in-game card game (always a winner with me, that: viva Final Fantasy 8!), but I only feel a sense of helpless anxiety when confronted with games that give me too much to do, and where everything generates even more to do.

  15. NG – yes it was Two Brothers I played free as a PSN game. I do remember you mentioning ICO at the time and I did look it up then. The stunning backdrops and story idea where very similar. It also had a very emotional ending.

  16. To balance out the rebalancing…I felt I’d been dumped in a truly stunning location with a genuine mystery to solve but I didn’t warm to the characters at all, in fact the slap of their feet on the castle stone made me want to hurl them from the highest rampart. I don’t have the patience at all for that kind of game – where’s my sword? Who do I kill now? You mean I really have to go all the way up there then all the way back again…? Like the more annoying puzzles of tomb raider where you are going to A to pull lever B to escape room C. Not for me but that’s me not the game it aims to be. Wasn’t ‘journey’ something similar? Give me a side scrolling blaster any day.

  17. To re-re-balance everything here, wandering around those huge old Tomb Raider levels looking for the way out, having tried everything, and coming close to despair… is what made those games great for me. I never got out of one level in Tomb Raider III despite literally weeks of trying for multiple hours per day.

    ICO is nothing like that, of course – none of the puzzles halted me for longer than maybe one session and my final playtime was about 12 hours.

    It’s not a fighting game, although there is fighting, and it’s not really a puzzle game, although there is puzzling (some of them very intricate and ingenious).

    It’s an emotion-tugging game that builds its effects around the dynamic of the boy and the girl, and how fiercely protective it makes you feel towards her. If you bailed on ICO long before that connection was forged and before the urgency was created in you, the player, to get these characters out and protect the girl, then you will be baffled at the huge renown this game has to this day.

  18. I guess Ico ‘splits the community’ in the sense that absolutely every remotely serious gamer views it as an all time classic, a masterpiece of design, atmosphere, story and emotion. Every gamer except for Turf

  19. I hated it. I desperately wanted to love it but I was bored, irritated and relieved that it still fetches a decent trade in price. Apparently you can complete the game in under two hours according to them that know so on t’ forums.

    There are some out there will tell you water diving works too Darryl, don’t believe em, that and ico are all part of the great conspiracy…it’s too late for abbeyhill.

  20. Btw I’ve only been watching since the semi finals but you must be loving the ‘snooker’ aspect of this year’s snooker NG – longest ever frame, re-racks, it’s been like griffiths v thorburn.

  21. abbeyhill – indeed, turf’s inference that there’s some kind of ‘split community’ when it comes to ICO is drastically wide of the mark. There are plenty of games that split people’s opinions. ICO isn’t one of them. I remember coming across a few scattered forum postings long ago from ICO-sceptics, but they’re remarkably few. Yes there are contrary views, but people who’ve actually played ICO overwhelmingly love it. So there is a split, but it’s between people who have played ICO and people who haven’t played ICO. *performs victory roll*

    Uncle Turf – the only problem with these long frames with multiple bouts of safety play is that they’re not long enough and the safety play breaks down too quick. I just watched the end of tonight’s session and the commentators irritated me with their working assumption that quality in snooker equates to mammoth breaks and lightning frames. Nope. Quite the opposite.

  22. nG – Also watched the final frame after MOTD2. I found it surprising that both players were so tired after a 5 hour session that ‘basic’ mistakes were being made. Interesting to watch though as Ding seemed to be on the back foot mentally; a couple of times he turned down straight forward yellow and green with a chance to tuck up behind the brown for the one snooker he required.

  23. NG – that is what made the two brothers game work so well as the longer you played it the two became more in tune with each other, plus they had different skill sets, so you became more protective of the younger brother.

    I am still enjoying FIFA 16 but am playing in smaller sessions due to the time it takes now to complete a season. I did a re-start a couple of weeks ago and am in the play off positions with Leeds at the January transfer window.

    I have enjoyed the snooker for once. It did make me laugh the other day when the commentators tried to deny the pockets are bigger now. It is a pity they don’t make snooker games anymore.

  24. Chris99 — the commentators kept blaming fatigue, but I think they were being gallant towards a young Chinese man a long way from home in many senses. And remember that the TV commentary is heard via earpieces by spectators in the auditorium. Hence the ripple of laughter when Taylor made his joke about where people in Coventry go when they’re sent to Coventry. Also note how the TV commentators prompt much of the spectator applause for quite ordinary shots due to their pre-shot discussion of what the shot means in the context of the break/the match, etc.

    I had the continual sense that Taylor and Doherty were being apologetic to the audience (at home and at the venue) about the ‘scrappy’ snooker. They just will not see that frames like the epic last frame are the ones that make snooker a spectator sport.

    Some of Ding’s bizarre choices are about a different game-playing culture. I wonder how much of the UK snooker-playing culture he has absorbed (even though to hear him speak he sounds like he’s more than well on his way to having a Jan Molby/Peter Schmeichel-style northern English accent of some kind).

    Ding’s reactions to opponents’ flukes are interesting. The game-playing custom here is that the fluker raises his hand to acknowledge the fluke, and the flukee either nods back to acknowledge the acknowledgement, or makes no movement at all. Ding always looks visibly upset, disturbed, and mutters to himself, as if calling down the Curse of Heaven upon the foreign devil*. I’ve also never seen him do a table-tap to acknowledge an opponent’s good shot. I remember seeing him go to pieces in a match against O’Sullivan about 5 years ago when he angrily started swiping at everything and, ironically, behaving just like O’Sullivan in a strop. I hope he wins it though as it’d be a great story and he’s an outsider in many senses.

    Mayday Bank Holiday: for 30-odd years now, whatever I think otherwise, today is always ‘End Up Watching The Snooker Day’. I even like it in the years when it’s over early and there’s a bonus episode of Horizon or Dad’s Army or whatever.

    *I know that’s actually a Japanese thing.

  25. Darryl — A decade ago I played this online snooker game for a few years: I paid a subscription and everything. I got quite advanced and was noted for my tactical play online. Good memories, mostly, which is saying something when online mutiplayer is involved. If it’s still the game it was back then, it’s well worth a look. There’s no single-player offline mode, but there is a practice table and a 14-day trial period.

    Here’s a vid of somebody messing about on the practice table, a good overview of the ball physics etc.:

  26. Back in the world of FIFA, after a long bout of apathy, I’ve got back into it. January transfer windows closed and I’m confident my Cardiff squad is good enough for the Premiership. I’m in the semis of the League Cup and still in the FA Cup.

  27. I decided not to use my ‘exploit’ for signing 0% probability regens in this ML on PES2014 so January transfer window season 4 saw me sign only a regen Tim Cahill and an AMF called F.Robert who I think now plays for Swindon in real life. Still, running solidly in 4th and a few points behind Atalanta I have a reasonable chance of promotion. Switch to a narrower 4-1-3-2 formation, similar to yours not-Greg, has tightened the defence right up enabling a few scrappy 1-0 wins

  28. In the end I got a game for the PS4 I know little about (The Talos Principal). It kind of stood out and picked itself. I also picked up World Championship Snooker for nostalgia reasons. I got the 2009 version as I preffered it to the later one.

    NG – If I remember right Ronnie had to convince him to carry on as he bizzarley conceded early in that match as it was getting to him that the crowd were rooting for O’Sullivan. Yesterday he looked on the brink of tears at one point. I have to say I am quite warming to him.

  29. NG – I used to play The Snooker Club at work when I was in a job with next to no work to do. They were good times.

  30. Archer MacLeans Whirlwind Snooker on the Amiga is the best snooker game ever.

  31. I’m awaiting the many many readers of this blog who will write their first post in support of my suggestion that ico is poop.

    I found that really off putting last night – the earpiece chortling – with sports like tennis, cricket it’s obviously not an issue but it felt like Dennis Taylor was standing next to the table doing an interval routine a la John Virgo of twenty years ago. I couldn’t believe Stephen hendry moaning about how it’s not the sort of snooker he likes to watch, it’s the name of the game, it’s not ‘rush to pot ten balls’. I’m supporting selby all the way as I feel he’s being unfairly maligned, what he does is much harder than simply playing long range pots that may or not run safe and he’s still light years ahead of the boys of the 70s.

    Abbeyhill – I’ve found Cahill enthusiastic without knowing the best fit. He can play all over central midfield and up front but is not great at any. He seems bustling and not easily knocked over though which is useful. A good sub when your team improves.

  32. Darryl — I have heard of The Talos Principle. I think but for Uncle Turf being a spoilsport and making it a ‘thing’ in your mind, you’d have gone for ICO. Shame, I think you would have adored it.

    Lloyd — Stephen Hendry’s on the PS1!

    Uncle Turf — I love the tactical game and Selby has a first-rate one. Ding is competent at it, but uninspired. I never felt he would get anything out of that amazing and brilliant final frame last night. The commentators were absolutely right that his choices were working against him. ‘Pot up to the brown and lay a snooker along the cushion behind the black’ is something that would occur to almost any crafty club player in the UK. I used to play lots of pub pool in my younger years (I was great until the fourth or fifth drink kicked in, then I was going for ridiculous shots). Often I’d encounter players who regarded any type of safety/tactical play as dirty and dishonourable. I do wonder if there’s something of that bizarre attitude embedded in Ding at a cultural level, and he has to dig deep just to do the basics in any tactical face-off. Marco Fu also seemed naive against Selby the night before.

  33. NG – I did look for ICO but didn’t see it in the three shops in Blackpool that sell games. Also I can’t purchase it off the PS store as whoever owned the console before me is blocked for some reason and won’t let me progress with setting it up.

  34. outrageous! Spoilsport….thing….? Is this because I mocked stick twiddling and water?! Darryl if I still had my copy I’d post it to you but I stand by my clearly minority view (obviously NG has blocked many hundreds of supportive comments along the same lines).

    Ding shouldn’t be troubled by safety play as his coach is Terry griffiths, I just don’t think he’s as good at it as potting and he looks very nervous. Pleased that Alan McManus struck a blow for forty somethings, I couldn’t believe when snooker supposedly became a young man’s game with anyone over 30 effectively in the twilight of their career. I’ve never liked pool, just not my thing although I did see there is some sort of deeply unpleasant arse on some American circuit doing the whole angry Higgins turn. No idea if it was real though or part of his ‘personality’.

    Skyrim getting a tad tedious now, level 39 not even close to dead for hours. With my enchanted armour and powered up archery I’m pretty safe from all but falls of cliffs and multiple Mage attacks. Might be time to rest it.

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