Consumed with rage, bitterness and envy

Back in the saddle. I haven’t had a good lockdown, principally because I haven’t really had a lockdown. Apart from a few precious weeks near the start, working life has continued as normal for me. Working life not only hasn’t really changed, it’s got busier. As the weeks and months drag on I find myself consumed with bitter envy of everyone who wakes every day to the sheer Paradise of not having to go anywhere. I am not claiming to be a nice guy, but I’m an honest one here. It’s no good anyone chastising me for moaning about having a job. I really don’t care. I want to have my bitterness and eat it.

I’d love to be spending the days at home but it’s not to be. And as the world struggles to get back to normal, my work has intensified and increased. So for the past week I’ve been forced to severely ration my gaming time of all kinds. 12-hour working days leave me mentally drained, fit for nothing but food, telly, bed.

I even envy the schoolchildren their 6-month summer holiday. I left school 35 years ago. The other day when my neighbour’s children were all screaming in unison as if they were being murdered, I caught myself wishing they were being murdered. No, I am not a nice fellow.

Sunday night I had a spare hour or two. In that spare hour or two, some footy gaming happened. And so I’m back – like a fool, a renegade – I’m back – and Leeds Utd are in trouble at the foot of the Premier League table, coming up to the halfway point in Season 4, as can be seen in the table above.

World Class has been kicking my ass. So much so that I decided to call it quits and take the brave decision: back down to Professional I go.World Class initially started out superbly for me at the start of this season, but as the grind of the season got going and fixture pile-up took its toll on my modest squad, well.. I started taking heavy defeat after heavy defeat. My manager rating was on 47 and falling like a stone as the heavy defeats kept coming.

It’s going to be the middle of June soon – it’s going to be Midsummer’s Day soon, can you believe – and there’s no space in my footy gaming schedule for me to get sacked and start again.

Professional it is – which in turn might not last very long, as I immediately won the next 3 matches more or less at a canter, including a 3-1 win over Liverpool.

So I will be back on World Class before long. Maybe after January when I can get some players, beef up the squad. I’m going to create a little cushion for myself so I don’t get sacked arbitrarily, and then head back to World Class. Gaming the difficulty system like this isn’t ideal, but it’s all Covid’s fault, like everything else is.

Incidentally, the best part of coming out of lockdown? Hopefully no more of those TV adverts. You know the ones. You know the ones. I don’t even have to describe them.

I have got a couple of interesting goals to show here that I didn’t have edited in time for the post. I will add them on here as an appendix later.

Updated: 15th June 2020 — 11:43


  1. NG – I feel your pain with the 12 hour shift problem, been on them myself last week. No gaming since then.

  2. Lloyd – I felt like posting your long-ranger in this post, I only caught up with it yesterday and I’m still marvelling. Best one I’ve seen on FIFA20.

    Just ten years ago I’d have had energy to spare even with a 12-hour shift and would have squeezed an hour or two of gaming in somewhere, but nowadays (nearing 50), nope, not happening.

  3. Nationwide! enough said.

  4. Paul – they all seem to bleed into one another and are a blur of tinkly pianos and people doing yoga in their living rooms and jumping around their gardens and the like. All cousins of the emails (which are still coming) from a company that you once bought a fridge from to tell you how they’re dealing with Covid, etc.

  5. I was envious of you outlanders at the start – getting out of the house, seeing what was happening in the world beyond – like I am legend’s protagonist to us mere vampirey things. Now it’s a bit more even – with working back at UCLan I’m pretty relieved I don’t have to trek to Preston.

    Speaking of company ‘care’ mrs t had a hell of a job getting her bank off the phone the other day. They were desperate to talk about her welfare and wanted her to take a call from our of their appointed mental health people. She’s never been finer, not sitting in traffic, drinking bad coffee and being the only one in her team with half an idea of how to do things with the tech but would they f’kin listen? She had to tell them the time wasted with her could result in someone else having a problem before they’d hang up. My bank clearly looked at my balance and thought no loss.

    Still barrelling through the Skyrim big quests. I actually died last night but I’m giving myself a free pass as it was an instant death with no warning. No fight, no fall, just a walk into some light that instantly killed me. Purity rules say you can do that for stupid designs. Think I’ll be back once the footy restarts – and congratulations to coventry city.

  6. Uncle Turf – in Coventry, ‘the Championship’ translates to ‘one step closer to home’. Bit worried though that the actual lack of any football-based conclusion will leave the club baby-weak for life in the Championship, whose clubs will all have played a lot of football by the time 2020-21 gets going.

  7. The classic ‘a season too soon’? Sad that Bolton have gone, one of those clubs that in my assigned divisions would be at least championship.

    Now there’s an exercise for a rainy day – reorganising the leagues into ‘they should be in that’ decree. I think Coventry would be 19th in the top league (it wouldn’t be called premier anything and there’d be 22 clubs.)

  8. Just stumbled on this site, kinda hoped I would have stumbled upon it earlier but anyways we move. Still playing pes 2013. Wroughllen is doing a great job for me, scoring over 40 goals for the season. He’s currently 109 in rating, didn’t sell him! 🙂 Also Madrid are trying to get my minandinho who’s currently 108 in rating. They’re both 30 & 31 years respectively. I’m currently in 2024…. And Y’all seem like pretty cool guys 🙂

  9. I really appreciate the way the banks are all looking out for us by shutting the majority of branches, paying practically no interest, and reducing opening hours so I am unable to go into a branch.
    I would have closed that bank phone call right down, as my first question would be how can you prove you are my bank and not a scammer?
    On my thirteenth week of working from home, but my wife is still pulling twelve hour night shifts.

  10. The most annoying thing is every skinny little malnourished rake appearing on tv claiming to be a PT, and doing a mini workout routine, that are identical to the 234567 that we saw before them, makes my piss boil.

    this situation has clearly shone a light of truth on companies and how piss poor their custoimer service is, and also a few who have been superb in dealing with customers

  11. NG/Paul – Quick question. With your realism mods are you getting many drawn games? My experience of this Fifa is that they are as rare as rocking horse shit. I am now 15 games into my project re-start (now with Sunderland). So far I have won 8 and lost 7 on World Class. So far I have yet to experience a drawn match, which are of great importance. I did notice this the first time round.

  12. Darryl – quick look back at my league tables shows some draws, but proportionally not as many as might be expected sometimes. But look at the table in this post – a few too many draws for my taste there. My most common scsneario early on was hanging onto a narrow lead in the final minutes only to be pegged back at the death for a morale-crushing draw, so I have had plenty. I remember FIFAs of old in which too many draws were a big problem – FIFA14, the first footy game on PS4, was notorious for this. And the whole question raises another question – to what extent are we comfortable with the game openly stage-managing outcomes from behind the scenes? We all know that it happens (in every football game it happens, because it can’t not happen), but do we want the game in your case, for example, to be coded as if to say in effect ‘right that’s far too few draws for this one, we now need to manipulate a few matches to create a few draws by force’. In effect, that is what now has to happen in your league, so watch out for that. And it’s like when you’re at a stage play and an actor needs a prompt for his lines or something goes wrong with the scenery. You sort of grimace and half close your eyes, pretend it didn’t happen and continue to enjoy the play.

    Chris99 – I think your job is very at-homey anyway (wish I’d made the right choices to get something similar) so I’m not burning with envy in your case. It’s my fellow office drones like Paul and many people I known who have quite comfortably done their jobs from home that I do envy. But my real BURNING BITTER ENVY is reserved for the furloughed workers who have had 3 months (and will get up to 6 months in many cases) of doing nothing for 80% pay. Yes, I know how insecure that is, I know that for many furloughed workers will be unemployed quite soon, and I know that 80% of income is a problem for the many who are forced to budget from payday to payday (can we take my ‘lucky to have a job’-themed ticking-off as read, please). All I’m saying is that in my particular case to be furloughed would be a good working definition of Heaven. I’m going to be crushed with bitter envy and nothing will persuade me otherwise, even if somebody de-lurks to tell me a furloughed horror story about themselves or their friend’s neighbour’s aunty who is now a homeless prostitute, or whatever, which I’m certain exist.

    Peter Parker – thank you for your comment, unless you’re an ecstatically furloughed worker, in which case, I withdraw my thanks and struggle to contain my jealousy.

    Uncle Turf – it would have been a season too soon even under normal conditions. Assuming next season starts more or less on time, Coventry and Rotherham won’t have played a truly competitive match for almost 6 months, which will be a serious disadvantage to them IMO. Be interesting to see how that plays out.

  13. NG – you didn’t put peter straight….none of us are by any stretch of the imagination “cool”.

    Self – employed, in all the wrong categories, qualify for nothing but fortunately never been busier. My postman mate currently hates everyone – people who’ve earned 80% and can take on other work, essential workers who’ve been given ppe when they haven’t, nhs staff being clapped, people clapping, people sending and receiving post, his Union…pair of you would have made a fine team, except he would hate you as well.

  14. I was slightly disturbed last night to see a BLM endorsement when I loaded up FIFA. I really don’t want to see this. The reason I play games is for escapism from political events. That is all I have to say on the matter.

  15. NG – That is likely to happen as it is probably inevitable that the puppet master will balance things out. I will report back with any findings as I do find these things interesting.

  16. Darryl/NG – I’ve had plenty of draws, and a few 0-0 draws, something of a rarity in footy video games.
    The FIFER mod does take some of the pre-determined behind the scenes scoreline management away, there are matches I’ve gone on to win 4 or 5 0 that would usually only see me win 1or 2 nil or even a close 2-1 or a draw.

    I too was disappointd to see the BLM notice on the FIFA splash screen, not because I’m in any way racist or against what they are protesting for but like you, its a video game, EA should stick to that, not start taking sides on political issues.
    And apart from that, its all becoming a bit of a fad, we had the LGBT movement, then MeToo, now BLM, people just love playing the part of victims these days, makes them feel ironically more impotant and secure than their usually insecure little lives allow them to be.
    Will never take it that seriously whilst there are tons of black people all over social media calling eachother N***a all the time. Contradiction in terms.

    New FIFAX post up at 10am.

  17. Peter Parker – welcome! Coincidentally I was also looking through some of not-Greg’s PES2013 posts the other day, searching for evidence of scoring 2 long rangers in one match, and Wroughllen and Minandinho were his star players too. I had forgotten all about Wroughllen, and the fact that player OVRs maxed out at 109 rather than 99 or 100 back then for some reason. PES2013 was superb, still got fond memories of my Spanish ML with Getafe in all the proper stadia. Do you not find it gets a bit easy eventually with the player development, boots and ability to score from anywhere?

  18. Darryl/Paul – it’s a bit like the company you once bought a pair of socks from ‘getting in touch to tell you how we’re dealing with Covid-19’. Companies rushing to align themselves with BLM are similarly pretty much engaged in a marketing and branding exercise. ‘Branding’ is an unfortunate term in this context with its slavery associations, but that’s what they’re doing: putting their stamp on your mind and shamelessly piggybacking on an issue to do it. I’ve kept my game offline for a few weeks now so I haven’t seen the notice myself.

  19. NG – well depending on when your last update was, you will possibly have 2 udates to install, 19th may and 9th June I think, both break the mods, but theres hotfixes for mods.

  20. I don’t know, I quite enjoyed Yorkshire Tea and PG Tips telling some racists on twitter to fuck off and find other tea brands to drink

  21. The one who caused the Yorkshire tea response is a particularly loathsome figure. I agree with the mention of marketing spin by some but they had to call out a complete cnut.

  22. n-G – Great to see a FIFA holding up so well. The difficulty level shuffle still seems to be a thing though.

    I’m one of those who have indeed found myself with a fair bit of free time during lock down. I’ve been checking in here occasionally to marvel at those FIFA graphics and presentation and to see Paul denounce all things PES, past, present and future. Me, I’ve found my niche in a very particular bracket of footy gaming.

    Having returned to PES 5 and played it properly with the defaults this time and enjoyed PES 2008 (PS2), I’ve been gripped by PES 2011 (PS2). What a game and what a ML.

    It has taken me 13, yes 13 seasons to finally win promotion.

    House rules have given what is a tough PES with a ruthless AI another layer of difficulty and I’ve loved it and am still loving it. The variety of goals for and against and the player individuality is incredible. I started this campaign a while back on a HDTV but the key to truly unlocking this gem has been playing it on a proper old CRT telly. PES 2011 is the best looking PES of the PS2 era and of course it has all the presentation and ML features of the PS3 version. The crucial thing is though that is has PS2 era gameplay.

    So that’s footy gaming for me. PESS 2011 on the PS2 in the shed. I’ve just edited kits, unlocked new players and given myself a new Amex-like stadium ahead of my top division debut, at last.

  23. sounds awesome Shed, and a reminder that an investigation of the ‘lost years’ of PS2 PES 2009-2014 remains among my gaming plans. Would be via PC emulation mind, rather than your full CRT/PS2 experience! 13 seasons in division 2 is an epic struggle

    Have you played many of the others aside from 2011, and how would you describe the gameplay in relation to the prior PS2 classics?

  24. Paul – where does it all stop with the tearing down of statues and the removal of shows like Little Britain off our screens. Take my all time favourite ‘Only Fools and Horses’ as a lot of the references and gags would be seemed to be politically incorrect now. David Jason did say recently that they would have struggled to make the show now. However, if they do ever remove it from UK Gold that will be my red line and I will turn my TV off for good. You can’t just erase history like that.

  25. abbeyhill – I’m tempted to get PES 2012 and/or 2013/2014 for the PS2 but I think by then, it was just a player database update. They’re pricey too, PES 2014 especially as it was the last game made for the PS2.

    PES 5 remains a classic. We’ll never see another game like it. The fouls and just how hard it is to break down the AI.

    PES 6 began the next chapter up to PES 2008 which has a better attacking AI. I’ve got but not played PES 2009 (PS2). PES 2011 is different in that a lot of work was obviously done on the graphics. Even the goal nets are different. It even has a Champions League licence. It seems to be harder too, both in attack and defence.

    Of course the true test of this game’s greatness will be once I start playing the big boys.

  26. Shed – was not 2011 the NG rock n goal years? The promotion that time forgot.

    You’re right, the missing discs in my recently gathered collection are the ps2 latter years. They’re not cheap and people know that (they’re not silly money, just it goes against the grain paying proper game prices rather than 50p at cash converters). If and when I get them I want it to be as a steal.

    I don’t regret getting rid of the ps3 at all but the ps2 is something I’ve now bought three times.

  27. Shed – I’ve got the PES2011(PS2) ISO on my hard drive somewhere! I’ve also got tomorrow off work and will have to give it a spin. Great to hear you’re persevering with the PS2 era, but I am sad to hear that you’ve had a lot of free time during lockdown. My bitterness is epic, it really is. I feel like a kid who had to keep going to school throughout a 6-month summer holiday.

    Not a fan of PES6, acknowledge it as a classic of course, enjoyed my original time with it in its day and have loved my little plays of it in all the years since, but I firmly place the beginning of the decline of the PES series as early as that game. I’d won the lot on top difficulty in 5 seasons of ML. The fouls were suddenly all gone, the first example I can remember of loud-enough moaning about fouls getting them changed. Other games that followed PES6 were better, some great, but PES6 was like the sounding of a bell whose reverberations are still being felt today. PES6, the ‘Faustino Asprilla at Newcastle’ of PES games.

    Uncle Turf – PES2010, on the PS3, was the occasion of my Rock And Roll Years vid. PES2011 on PS2 is a game I’ve only ever played for 5 minutes, a year or two ago when I got hold of every ISO for all the lost PS2 PES games after PES6.

  28. I liked this goal from tonight’s session:-

  29. Darryl – I like it too, straight as a ruler, and I always think goals like that are satisfying because they look as if they’re going wide but are somehow ‘caught’ by the corner of the net, like a lacrosse thing.

  30. Darryl – I’m annoyed by this whole BLM crap, don’t get me wrong, i get the whole movement thing, and things do need to change with reference to police brutality towards ethnic races, but literally just in the US, you don’t see this kind of behaviour in the Uk or other countries, or if som certainly not on a grand scale like the US, just one off incidents.

    But the black community have jumped on this and suddenly everything in history, when times were vastly different,is now ultra offensive, taking down statues of anything or anyone that remotely offends them, whilst all still happily calling eachother the N word all over social media, complete contradiction, and highly annoying.

    Anyway, PES 2011 was one of the best PES titles, a reboot of the game, new passing mechanics, animations etc, new aesthetic look, and a great ML mode.

  31. Another skipped post for me today I’m afraid – I’m off work but other things have displaced the time available.

    I had played another session, 4 league matches and the FA Cup, and had this league table lined up to show:

    Manager Rating is <50 and things aren't looking good. I've made a side-save as I won't restart with another team, either right now in Season 4 or from the start.

    I won the FA Cup match though, so there's that.

    And my January window is going swimmingly. Details Tuesday.

  32. NG – interesting as that table shows you have only 1 draw in 21 games as well.

    Paul – Well said. You would not believe we are in the midst of a global pandemic and then facing a recession well beyond the scale of anything we have faced before. Meanwhile though we are concerned about statues and a reference to ‘Chinese Alan’ in Gavin and Stacey, who incidentally got his name from his addiction to Chinese food. It would be like me fretting that the toilet roll needed changing whilst my bathroom was flooding.

  33. Played my second game on world class last night – a tough but fair 1-1 with charlton. Fouls aren’t really a fifa thing are they. They’re just not a thing any more in any football game. I have to admit I’m finding it a bit more nerve wracking than PES. I feel like I can’t switch off or they’ll shred my defence. Not like Epes’s ridiculous overpowered nonsense but the movement and swift passing. I really avoid slide tackling for a start. That’s why I’m not powering through the fixtures as it feels like I have to approach each like a proper game, with alternative plans, buying carefully and for what I need. It’s very much more involved than anything previously. The outlook for eeepes 2021eee looks truly dead.

  34. Turf – second time around I have played on WC from the start and love the challenge. If I was on Professional I would zone through the games and season more. You really have to concentrate on every game and moment within them, which in turn makes it a better experience.

  35. It’s when the AI gets in behind your fullbacks that you’re basically dead, so the whole strategy is to prevent that and force them inside, which they’ll nearly always do it you have a secondary press player with the full-back.

    Certainly agree Uncle Turf that the ‘weightiness’ of each match is much greater with FIFA20 than the lighter ePES. Still going to play the inevitable demo with lots of fouls, and I will of course be getting the WiFi router that is the PS5 and PES2021 too, if there is a PES2021. But assuming EA make it with FIFA21 on time, I’ll be getting that on PC.

  36. I will be stepping up to Legendary for season 7. The challenge awaits.
    I really want to dig out a satin cushion with a golden framed quote from all those who this time last year that repeatedly said that ‘Games don’t matter in FIFA’ …. back then I was amused and disgusted that anyone that played ePES, a game where literally no game maters because every AI team plays identical, and theres not even a troiphy to win at the end of the season, could have such a fanboy blinkered view, instead i’ll just sit back and smirk whilst thinking ‘Told you so’.

    I actually really like the PS5 design, i like that its not just another dull black plastic box, it looks futuristic and its different. fell asleep halfways through the 3hr presentation, saw some of the games lineup, and woke up just in time for the conxole reveal, no price point or release date though.

    And rumours I’ve heard are that there won’t be a PES 2021, or certainly not this year, because although millions of other companies can remote work, produce product, and create and innovate, including EA, apparently Konami are incapable and the current situation was too much of a stretch on resource!!

    Could all just be rumours, irrelevant though as I wont be going anywhere near the game or the demo.

  37. Not keen on the white parts of the PS5. Although it may look great when it comes of of the box, there may be long term light discolouration, and the controllers in particular are likely to get grubby with use.

  38. Paul – I still say that was true last year and the year before though, and the year before that and the year before that. My main critique was that gameplay felt empty, an intangible subjective quality that I don’t think you’ve ever grokked, because it always inflames you into mentioning atmosphere and stadia and the like, which isn’t what I’m talking about. I know somebody who’s never been able to see The Wire as anything more than a lot of barely comprehensible talking. With any media it all depends on what you experience and how you experience it. In another universe I’m still happily playing PES2020 because PES Productions held their nerve and didn’t dilute the game after the excellent demo. In that universe, FIFA20 is something I picked up and tried for a traditional half-season around about April, as usual, and dropped again. Your cushion of triumph is stuffed with an illusion of objective value.

    Chris99 – these last two PlayStations have been curiously lacking in design nous. The PS4 is particular is just a slab. Best-looking console I ever owned was my beloved crystal Xbox1 that I still regret trading in.

  39. I like the white, and reckon it’s a homage to the Wii – still one of the finest ever games consoles

    Personally think that PES2021 will come out bang on time. Most of Konami’s other businesses such as gyms, casino and pachinko games hardware, are really bad amid coronavirus so the mobile/console game division has to carry the company this year

  40. This was mine

  41. NG – Totally disagree, I played 11 extremely rewarding and enjoyable seasons on FIFA 19, game play definitely was not empty, as those on here playing 19 right now can testify to.
    presentation atmosphere etc, its all as much of the package as game play, and nmone of it ewas empty or did not matter, FIFA 19 played brilliantly, 20 is even better, all game smatered and definitely were not empty.

    We obviously have massively varying opinions on what constitues solid, engaging game play, PES’s AI, clumsy collision detection, warping of balls and body parts, and general broken tactical elements was the absolute epitome of ‘matches that don’t matter or felt empty’.

    Anyway, at leats we have a general concensus that FIFA 20, with the extra element of PC mods, is superb, but i stand by the fact that so many, not just you, rubbished FIFA’s longevit last year, despite never playing it properly, but are now lauding it.

  42. As a long time lurker. This blog has always been a guilty pleasure even though I switched to FIFA a few years ago. A way to briefly escape the madness out there so it kinda irks me when politics enters the fold. As much as I agree that having a BLM message is out of place in a video game I recognise why they’d do it, strictly business. however I found a few comments here weird. Anyone who’s witnessed the protests will see that it’s not just the “Black community” demonstrating. Also majority of Black people worldwide do not use or agree with the use of the N word so that argument is weak and a pointless generalisation. As per statues, Yes, those people’s deeds were in the past but on that logic would it make it right to put up a statue of Jimmy Saville 100 years from now because well despite his evil acts he also raised a lot of money for charities? The bottom line is if the problem didn’t exist neither would the global reactions.

  43. Paul – me saying ’emptiness’ is like pressing CTRL-V, for your response 🙂

  44. futi bolla – thank you for your comment, which I think is a fitting one to close the debate here, for good.

    With immediate effect, no more politics or real world events will be discussed here except in passing. I’m going to eliminate my mentions in posts as well, except in passing (i.e. the style I followed for years until recently). I enjoyed the Coronavirus discussion because of how it edged onto paranoia and conspiracy and the end of the world – all good harmless entertaining stuff, if you ignore the death and suffering. I’m ditching that too. Race and racism, though, is truly toxic even on a formal news-related site, never mind a footy-game related blog where hopefully most (or all) visitors are not really looking for ‘coverage’ of current real-world events.

    I’ll close comments for today as I don’t even want to discuss why I don’t want to discuss it.

    Back to FIFA20. There will be a new post tomorrow, and I should be back in my regular twice-weekly schedule now.

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