Good news – the silly season on the blog is over.
It seems to have gone on for longer and been sillier this year. That’s because it has gone on for longer, and it has been sillier…
This summer I’ve been busy with work and some other matters, and not had much time at all to devote to the blog. Doing a twice-weekly blog takes up a significant amount of time. A month or so ago I almost mothballed the blog until September. The last time I took that sort of step, though, I enjoyed my leisure so much that I ended up taking a whole year off, and I didn’t want to run the risk of being tempted to do that again.
So I went with all the posts about me playing, oh, ‘This Is Football 2003 whilst riding a unicycle’, and that sort of thing. Cheap as chips.
I would like a short break before the new season begins, so I will have the next two Fridays off. I will continue with once-weekly Tuesday posts until the last week of August, when I will return to twice-weekly with my End of Year Review of PES2019 and a look ahead to PES2020.Yesterday, prompted by a comment from a regular commenter, one Uncle Turf Esq., I acquired a ROM of International Superstar Soccer for the PlayStation2. And played it in PCSX2 on the PC. And recorded the footage, which is below.
England versus Scotland, of course. I didn’t bother upscaling the graphics or making any housekeeping tweaks offered by PCSX2, so this is a bit blurry and there are occasional glitches:
ISS(PS2) is a sort of second cousin to the mainline ISS-PES series that we know. Definitely a non-canon effort, this was a port of ISS64 from the Nintendo 64 – itself a somewhat legendary game on that platform.
I remember the PS2 version coming out at the time to the indifference of the already-large ISS-PES community. The gaming press at the time was almost entirely print-based, awarding every PES game a routine 10/10 every year from PES2 to PES6, and quite rightly so. Back then you tended to have one game and you played that game alone.
So this International Superstar Soccer port pretty much died a death in the UK and European market, although it was more popular in the Japanese and North American markets, which was the intention.
I found myself enjoying my one match on ISS(PS2) a lot more than I was expecting to. The mechanics are surprisingly solid, although I never did quite get to grips with the passing system, as can be seen. The first goal I conceded – quite early on – was a poor one from my perspective, but it shows the AI dribbling and taking people on.
I never scored, and barely had any meaningful shots, not getting my first proper shot away until I stopped trying to sprint-pressure, as in modern games, and take my time.
All in all, I would rate this fleeting encounter with ISS(PS2) quite positively, and I was not expecting to. A very playable game, perhaps even a touch more playable today than the ‘official’ games of the time. The design elements from almost two decades ago (such as that big blue free kick arrow) do feel prehistoric now, but that sort of thing charms rather than bothers me.
In other news, I have finally put in my PES2020 pre-order, after kidding myself for a few weeks that I might be able to become a PC gamer. I’m a console man through and through, and I have of course plumped for the PS4 version again this year. Which doesn’t mean I can’t also go PC, though, particularly if the retail PES2020 is watered down to the point of blandness, of which there is a high chance.
I’ve gone with my supplier of the past two years, Simply Games, who dispatch the quickest of any online retailer in my experience. I’ve worked out that I could get PES2020 as early as Friday 6th September, or at least over that weekend. Which would actually not be totally welcome, as I will be hectic with work, but I’ll take it. If it happens.
And that really is the end of silly season on the blog. Back to Serious Season with immediate effect.
NO Friday post for a couple of weeks, remember, so I will return with a new post next Tuesday.
Which will be taking us back, for a couple of weeks of continuous play of The One True Game..
Back to the Golden Age of football gaming.
Back to a time just before everything started to change.
Back to the only real football game that has ever been made.