Sarah Cracknell, can you hear me? Your boys took one hell of a beating

Only a few matches since the last time. Is right now the summertime slump for football gaming, or what? I still want to play a football game, and I do play one, but the real urgency isn’t really there at the moment.

Saint Etienne are heading in the right direction. I said last time that I want to finish in the European qualifying spots. I do my best to win every match with my low-rated team and threadbare squad. It makes every match an interesting battle.

It’s so hard to score goals with a low-OPR team. I suspect the game has a scripted goals-limiting formula in place. I make great chances, but don’t finish them. ‘That’s because you’re playing with poor-statted and low-skilled players, and/or you’re just not good enough,’ would be the standard objection from a scripting-sceptic (of whom there are surprisingly many still around). Perhaps.

I have experienced what might be one of my most humiliating defeats in any PES ever.

Matched up against Paris St Germain, I was gratified to find that they actually played like a top team. Strong, fast, aggressive, skilful, dangerous.

They had a man sent off early in the first half. Naturally I expected to go on to win – maybe not comfortably (nothing is comfortable with a team like my Saint Etienne), but I still expected to win.

I lost 0-3. It’s worth emphasising what happened here: I lost 0-3 against 10 men. They went down to 10 men when it was 0-0. Nothing like it has ever happened to me before in PES. And I wasn’t even unlucky. Just overpowered at the back and neutered at the front.

Truth be told, it doesn’t seem to make a difference how good the matches are. I’m definitely starting to flag with PES2017. I think this season, and maybe one more, and I’ll be ready to take a break before PES2018’s arrival.

Here’s the current table – despite losing a few matches now, and drawing too many, the league table scripting has kept me very much in touch with the European places:

Updated: 7th July 2017 — 00:59


  1. I’m getting in with an early comment to add to the illusion that the footy gaming season is still very much on. It’s a bit like Sky Sports News or 5 Live trying to sound engaged about the Under 20 Cup thingy and comparing a kids team losing on pens to Germany to a full on World Cup disappointment.

    Anyway, this really does feel like the close season and despite the odd ML pang, I’m managing to stay on the beach when it comes to footy gaming by not playing any. I need the break if I’m going to get full enjoyment from PES 2018 I feel.

    I am however rather enjoying No Man’s Sky again now that I have finally got to the base building bit. I’m currently scouring the galaxy looking for some weird element that sounds like spam but apparently is crucial in the building of a space buggy.

    I saved the game last night as I took shelter on a horrible acrid planet with no life or spam, all the while looking forward to getting back to my new alien/robot pals for the net phase of building. They have coloured lighting on sale!

  2. Shed – it’s Scotland vs the Republic of Ireland tonight… in women’s football. I’ve got a sneaky fiver on both teams to score. Women’s football can be technically accomplished and watchable, but lady goalkeepers are almost always so poor that clean sheets are rare.

    I’m waiting for the next big NMS update to land before venturing back in. I looked in on the game when the version you’re playing landed a few months ago and thought it was about 80% of the game we thought we were getting a year ago. This next update should take it over the line to 90% or more, and that’ll hopefully be the Minecraft-Elite-Skyrim mashup I yearn for.

  3. n-G – My chosen online bookie doesn’t seem to have the both teams to score bet for this epic encounter. I agree about women goalkeepers – even though that’s probably not a very right-on observation nowadays is it?

    NMS is certainly a beautifully designed game. I love how ambient it is while the last update has given it just enough on an ongoing goal other than whatever it was about reaching the centre of the universe. I wonder what the next update will include then…

  4. Shed – Ladbrokes. And it’s the physical male-female differences that manifest themselves in the whole women’s-football-weak-goalkeeper phenomenon. They just haven’t got the musculature or the reach to cover the goal in the same way as a man. A woman goalkeeper with the physical height of a van der Sar or the solid ‘chunkiness’ of a Peter Schmeichel is pretty much not going to happen. Smaller goals would rectify this, but then there’d be even more of a credibility problem. You watch, now I’ve said all this there’ll be a WOTM performance from one or both keepers and I’ll lose my fiver…

  5. Shed – I blame the Vikings. They tend to be mad for a bit of spam.

  6. NMS – stay away from the story. Do not do the story. Make no attempt to play the story and ‘unravel’ the ‘mystery’. If you scratched your head at the ending of 2001 then the story is not for you. If you liked the ending of 2001 as it made you question everything – do not do the story. I wish NMS had no story.

    I’ve fired up far cry primal again after an early venture, just as a quick savable break from pes. I miss the rocket launchers but like clubbing cavemen.

  7. I still have one last ML campaign “hoorah” left in me. Having just acquired the PS4 version of ’17 again I’ve only had time for one quick game. The difference between it and the PC version is more vast than I remembered, or cared to admit to myself. Going to sort out my option file, adding a few new leagues (MLS, CSL etc) and start from scratch one last time. Probably for about 5 seasons, by which point it all starts to loose it’s allure.

    Minecraft will probably get in the way now though, and I have you lot to thank for that!

  8. NMS – I certainly won’t be following any kind of set story in NMS, nor do I in most open world games. I’ll potter about, build a base and maybe do a round a world trip on my buggy once I have enough spam for my buggy.

    I’m relieved to have a game like this on the go though as I was sorely tempted to pick up a PS4 version of Skyrim to restart my coastal exploration which halted when midi-Shed nicked my PS3 for his teen lair.

  9. nG – This may re-ignite your PES fire…

    Very much a work in progress, but when it’s done, if it gets done, might be worth checking out!

  10. Tommy – definitely drinking the last dregs of Year of 2017 now.

    Shed – if you have PS+ the digital version of Skyrim Special Edition is on sale. 20-odd quid. I was tempted the other day, but at this stage for me, getting a new game that isn’t a PES or a Metal Gear or a Civilization is essentially just throwing money away.

  11. NG – don’t get it (skyrim). got it for free on pc but difference with the original is minimal. My interest in footy gaming is also wearing off steadily, as it should be. One more season and the euro championship with the Netherlands and that will most likely be it. By then the demo must be close to being out for 2018 so onwards to next year it will be.

  12. Funny enough I picked up Skyrim yesterday having traded it in for Fifa 17. Never played the original, so all is new and fresh for me. Only had an hour or so this morning, so not formed any particular early impressions. I am not a huge fan of the quest heavy games, so time will tell.

  13. #1 – I have to say, as much as I am still enjoying my Saint Etienne side-quest, I am running on fumes for this main stage of my footy gaming year now. I do still want to give some time to PES5 – proper time, this time – before September.

    Darryl – Skyrim is one of the best world-of-its-own computer games going. I bet it looks great on PS4 – my laptop is around the PS3.5 level graphically on a good day. Alas, Skyrim’s missions became a nuisance to me. Quests within quests within quests, to the point where the compass thing was a forest of directional indicators. I recall how it ended for me. I was about 25 hours in and I got to this town where I had to do this thing so I could go back and do this other thing (that I needed to do for the sake of yet another thing), and the game wanted me to walk for one side of the town to the other about 8 times fetching things from named characters and giving them to other named characters, who I had to search out from within dozens of characters. At that point I thought I’d seen enough. I DO still regret not pursuing the Uncle Turf/werd approach to it, though, where you just wander around doing what you feel like without missions.

  14. NG – I think they have the right idea and I too regret the end of Fallout 4 for the same reasons as it was an incredible, complex world with such variety wherever you went. The shame was I only touched the surface as I felt compelled into following the worn pathway. Yes it looks fantastic as the detail is as good as I have seen on a video game. Best I have seen since Star Wars Battlefield but that has no gameplay.

  15. The imagined back story wanderer skyrim is a thing of great beauty but even then you cannot avoid quest upon quest. Simply meeting someone on the road can lead to an aim to complete – it’s not a ‘yes I will help him’/’no I wont’ option, it appears and then you have to try and ignore it if you don’t want to do it. There are bugs as well, when x can’t lead to y as three years ago you didn’t do z. It is worth doing the main quest simply to unlock a few abilities but if you don’t want dragons you can just turn left rather than right and they never appear. Personally I did two – one quest and one not.

    Better than the look Darryl is the hear – skyrim’s music is stunning, the rolling themes and subtle notes building to huge crashes. Makes game of thrones sound like a school band hitting a bontempi organ with a toffee hammer.

  16. I want to suggest morrowind then. Bit dated but offers what you guys want. No quest markers and a true elder scrolls game where you can actually do whatever you want to. Right masterpiece if you can get over its age.

  17. Started a new ML with AS Avellino in Serie B, fully fleshed out leagues with kits (no fake players) and Italian commentary – the works. Eccellente!

    Just had a game in a monsoon against Carpi with 7 (SEVEN) fouls against. That’s the most I’ve seen.

  18. Snes mini pre ordered

    Tommy – Good Choice. I had 2 seasons with Parma in Serie B. Home Brew kits and a classic 90’s kit. I love that PES MOTD vid. Right up my street 🙂

    Darryl – I always have the same plan with Skyrim/Fallout sandbox games. A couple of main quests to procure cool items then mooch about bit, rinse repeat.

  19. #1 – I took a look at Morrowind on Steam last night – intriguing art style there that looks superior (in variety, not graphics) to later efforts. I’m waiting for the No Man’s Sky update though, and I still have Elite to plough into on PC…

    Tommy – if only those high-fouls matches were the norm instead of the once-a-season exception.

    Werd – I’m sure even your wheezing old pre-Internet laptop would have run a SNES emulator, but I suppose having the object is what it’s all about. I’ve got a ZX Spectrum in a cupboard somewhere that I bought from eBay for a tenner a few years ago, just to have one. Never been plugged in.

  20. NG – too right. Pure nostalgia. Like Turf it has a lot of great gaming memories, all 96 levels of Super Mario World, Secret of mana completed, mario kart time trials…see I did used to play 🙂

    ps I was gutted when I discovered my 48k went to the tip, thanks Dad!

  21. Werd/NG – I still think the Spectrum 128 is still at my Mums with all the accessories and games. I gave away the 48k when we upgraded.

  22. Even all the old 48K games have faded with time. I checked in on a web browser version of Atic Atac not too long ago, as it happens, and amused myself for five minutes, but even that was an eternity compared to how long most old games last before I stop.

    Tomorrow’s blog post is looking in serious doubt. It’ll definitely appear, but it might be just a video clip and/or screenshot. I think this’ll be how it’ll be all week.

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