Q: “PES Chronicles”, eh? Sounds fancy. What’s it all about?
A: It’s a thrice-weekly online diary of my experiences in football gaming, focused on Pro Evolution Soccer. I’ve played PES for most of the past decade. But there’s also plenty of talk about FIFA, and some talk about other games too, football-related and otherwise. That’s it really. Nothing more, nothing less.
Q: Cool. Let’s play online!
A: Er, no. I never play online.
Q: What have you got against playing online? Not scared, are you…?
A: Yes. I mean, no. It’s just that I really don’t like the kind of football played online. And I work full-time and I have plenty of other stuff to do besides. Gaming time is a precious commodity for me. For those reasons and more, playing online is a waste of my time. The football gaming I choose to undertake is single-player, offline, up against the AI. For better or worse.
Q: How long have you been doing this thing?
A: Playing football games, or blogging?
Q: Ah… both?
A: My very first football game was some Pong-like monstrosity on a Binatone machine in around 1980. Then I played various football games, including the original Football Manager, on the ZX Spectrum in the 1980s. Then I had a break from gaming until the mid-90s, when I restarted with FIFA96 on the MegaDrive. A few years later I got a PlayStation and a copy of International Superstar Soccer, and that was that. I was hooked, and have been ever since. ISS98 followed, then the ISS Pro Evolution games, and in time I graduated to the PlayStation2 and its wonderful succession of PES classics. The next-gen era has been less idyllic, to say the least.
Q: Oh, you’ve stopped talking now? Why not just keep going?
A: All right, I will. I started this blog in October 2007, in the weeks leading up to the release of PES2008. My intentions were twofold. I wanted to celebrate the greatness of PES. And I also wanted to put all the time that I spent playing it to some constructive use. What better way to do that than to commit to writing more-or-less coherent articles about it, every day?
Q: And then what happened?
A: PES2008 happened. Looking back now, its still very hard for me to understand how that game was ever released. It was inconceivable to anybody in the months leading up to it that PES2008 could be anything other than a stupendously great version of the greatest football game ever created.
Q: Right, thanks for the history lesson there. I’m still not clear about something. You play PES and you blog about it, fine. But what do you actually do that ends up in the blog?
A: Most of the time, I play Master League and I write about it. That’s it. The blog could just as easily have been called Master League Chronicles. I should have called it that, really. Some visitors mistake PES Chronicles for a general PES or football gaming website. It’s not.
Q: Okay, simple enough. What else should I look out for?
A: Look out for rapidly changing thoughts and opinions. It’s not unknown for me to loathe something one week and love it the next, and vice versa too of course. Experience has shown that it can take weeks or months for me to settle into any of the new football games.
Q: Is Greg Downs your real name? What’s the not-Greg thing all about?
A: When I started the blog I named myself after a legendary Coventry City left-back named Greg Downs. He was part of our 1987 FA Cup-winning team. He was famously terrible, and thus a cult figure at the club and in the city.
Q: So why take his name?
A: Because of, er, irony?
Q; That’s not i— Ohhh, never mind. Why the ‘not-Greg’ thing, then?
A: I wanted to avoid any misunderstanding. I didn’t want anybody to think I was presenting myself as actually being the actual, historical Greg Downs. ‘not-Greg’ encapsulates the situation perfectly.
Q: Great. So, what’s your PSN or XBL name? We can play online!
A: We’ve been over this… I don’t play online. I won’t be playing online with you or with anyone else. Sorry, but I just don’t play online.
Q: Oh, right… I get it. I’ll drop you an e-mail instead, wink-wink.