It’s Blackadder V in all but name

I’m taking full advantage of being back on the PS4. Here is one half of a PES2016 match in my resumed Master League, with me providing spoken commentary:

The sound quality isn’t great. I recorded the voice track on my phone, and kept moving around. Sometimes my voice is muffled, sometimes it’s crisp and clear. And it’s slightly out of sync with the on-screen action at times. Sorry about that.

I’m aware that few readers actually watch these spoken-commentary vids, so I will summarise what I talk about:

  • I reminisce, briefly, about classic Mathieu, and lament his averageness in recent editions.
  • I recommend a TV sitcom and go on about it for ages.
  • I play badly.
  • I finish making a nice cup of tea and proceed to enjoy drinking it.
  • I play badly.
  • I develop a theory of authority in football games, and outline the reasons why I think PES2016 possesses only a small amount of it.

PES2016, frankly, looks terrible in this video, pretty much all frantic end-to-end arcade action. But it’s not helped by me being distracted by what I’m saying. And despite me saying there were no fouls, the stats screen shows there were some in the unseen first half.

Tuesday will see me giving the above treatment to some FIFA16. I’ll try to keep the sound quality crisp and even. I’ll also try to cover a few matches, and muse more about the game itself than what I’m watching on the telly. And hopefully I’ll play better.


  1. nG – To be honest I’m more likely to watch a video if you’ve done a commentary on it. Does that mean you haven’t watched Green Wing or Friday Night Dinner?

  2. Chris99 – I know regular readers listen to them, but they’re not at all popular with irregular visitors. The blog averages 200 hits per day. The spoken-commentary one I did for PES2014’s finale two weeks ago has been watched a total of 38 times. Before I started doing them I’d have predicted they’d be wildly popular, as few web users like reading much anymore and I do go on a bit. I’ll still do spoken-word vids as they’re easier to do when I haven’t got much time, but they don’t have a great deal of reach, surprisingly to me.

    And re. Green Wing and Friday Night Dinner, yes I’ve seen both and enjoyed them – but in what sense could they be deemed Blackadder V in all but name?

  3. They both contained Mark Heap, and you said you hadn’t seen him in anything since Spaced.

  4. Really? It just comes across as smug footlights stuff to me, gave up after one episode despite the highly watchable cast. Ben eltons decline was really confirmed once he did that musical. That episode for the millennium dome was weak too. I’m rethinking the voice though, where was Fred Harris the play school chap born? There’s at least a smidgeon of his tones.

    Tougher gig on pes last night, Liverpool were once again quite so so in the league game but still won 3-2 thanks to Suarez and his flicks, chips and general trickery. Newcastle spanked me 4-0 in a case of ‘how did that happen’? I think they only had four shots and around 35% of the ball.

    Does today now mean we have to go back to inches, shillings and bushels? Some of us who went to poor schools remember the maths textbooks still using them.

  5. Ah I see…. You didn’t say what aspect of my Upstart Crow spiel your comment was addressing — yes I remember him in those other two, but they’re part of the Bits and Bobs that I mention seeing him in since Spaced. In Green Wing almost any actor could have played that doctor, and in Friday Night Dinner he’s better but not in it enough. It’s only in Upstart Crow that he’s really Mark Heapish IMO.

  6. Uncle Turf —

    gave up after one episode

    How very unlike you!

    Admittedly there are more laughs if you have a passing interest in Shakespeare, which I somehow do despite my schooldays’ best efforts. I once read a few biographies of the man and if you want to get the full low-down on whether he did or did not write the stuff with his name on it, see The Shakespeare Claimants by HN Gibson. (Spoiler: he did write them.)

    Upstart Crow has a good running gag about Shakespeare writing everyone else’s plays. The people of Stratford all have modern-day Brummie accents (which sociolinguists tell us evolved as late as the early 1900s in its current form). Christopher Marlowe is a watered-down Lord Flasheart. A broad-brush historical setting with loads of knowing winks to the 21st century lens we’re looking through. The Baldrick role is split between Bottom and the girl Kate (a knowing callback, I think, to the Flasheart episode of Blackadder II). Shakespeare himself as played by David Mitchcell is basically his Peep Show character, admittedly, but I see lots of Blackadder 1, with occasional flashes of Blackadder 4 in there. The show is evocative of Blackadders 2 and 3 (my favourite Blackadders). And it’s funny — the man who (co-)wrote all that classic comedy all those years ago is still alive and well. Yes it’s the first decent thing he;s done since that time, but so what? And it’s got Mark Heap as Robert Greene. I’m delighted there’ll be a second series next year. Okay, the show is no Ted2, but then what is?

  7. I think I’m on safer ground with this than ico as far as readers of this blog are concerned. I await confirmation its rubbish….

  8. Admittedly Episode 1 only had me thinking ‘I suppose this is OK’ – so low are the standards for new UK sitcoms, which are rarely actually funny. It was Episode 2-3 before I went from ‘this is OK’ to ‘this is funny and clever in the way that Blackadder often was’.

  9. Well while the masses are deciding an update on my up and down season two. The AI continues to play rather gently but with a slightly nasty sting in the tail – the shots that never miss. So I’m playing Chelsea who at 87 ovr dwarf my 75, I’m doing well, lots of possession, then they break away and whack from the most acute of angles it’s a goal. See also some of the lesser teams. Yet then I get two penalties against west brom and I begin to feel all is back in balance. The league table after 14 games has the bizarre sight of Southampton, unbeaten and on top, with Man U in eleventh. The bottom three are the sorts expected but the stats of teams really seems to have been pushed to one side, last year was man city’s coronation, winning just about everything, but so far it’s pick any one from lots. I’m in 14th and am really suffering for not having options. Without Robert up front I doubt I’d score.

  10. Uncle Turf – sounds very familiar from my PES2014 seasons. I often mused that you have to get your team above a threshold of OVR before the game will allow/disallow certain things. We’re always trying to read the runes of PES scripting, I suppose.

    And wonky-looking league tables are in PES2016 as well, I find. I’m still messing about with it in Season 9 or 10 of my old ML career. I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the Premier League season and the current leaders are… Sunderland.

    I’ll be playing FIFA16 over the next few days, and then seeing how I feel.

  11. As I watched that video my wife gave me a really disconcerted look. As for Blackadder I was never a fan but absolutely loved Blackadder 4.

  12. 4 passed me by due to being a post grad student with a broken telly at the time. 1 was an anomaly compared to the others, and without the change to the writing team and the fact that it was a vehicle for Rowan Atkinson I doubt there would have been a 2.

  13. Darryl — day off today and I was just fooling around with PES3 on the PC. I’ve had a thought about how a version of your idea — the one about commenters picking the football game(s) I play — could work.

    Commenters could pick a football game (any football game), which I would then give the video-with-voiceover treatment to!

    The only selection criterion being: it must be a game I can record while playing it.

    Obviously any PS4 game is viable, but also, thanks to the PC and emulation, most PS1/PS2/PS3 football games. (Maybe even Mega Drive and Spectrum games, etc., thanks to the wonders of emulation? I’d have to check how they worked with recording software before committing to them.)

    Of course I’d be playing one or two matches, max, instead of playing a full career, and I’d discuss it in a post or two afterwards. I’m really enjoying NOT playing a full-on career mode at the moment and think I’ll go on ‘werding’ for a while yet.

    I’ll formally open the nominations in Tuesday’s post, but feel free to nominate here and now. Yes, Uncle Turf’s throwaway suggestion of This Is Football would be OK as long as it works with my emulation app and the screen recorder captures it!

    I think this’ll work and be something different for the blog for the next month or so.

  14. Chris99 — you’ve probably seen the same Blackadder documentary I have, where Michael Grade, the BBC programme commissioner at the time, described his great doubts about giving the go-ahead to Blackadder 2. And he was right — Blackadder 1 is poor and still pretty painful to watch, a typical UK sitcom in many ways where you’re meant to appreciate the general undercurrent of comedic intent, rather than enjoy actual jokes.

  15. Kevin Thom’s Football Manager, the old Spectrum game, can be played in a browser…

  16. NG – it will provide a bit of fun in the last couple of months prior to the new season. I will make a start an in my opinion the best Fifa and one of the best games ever produced Fifa World Cup 10.

  17. Chris99 – nomination accepted and added. Browser with screen recording software all OK.

    Darryl – FIFA10 WC is available on the PC so nomination likewise accepted and added.

    I’ve got to rule out any other footy management games though, and also any ‘playful’ suggestions. I just don’t fancy doing this with FM. All other football game games are probably the best and most convenient.It’s got to be pretty straightforward for me to get hold of and play on PS4 or PC. So anything more obscure than TIF or FIFA97 or thereabouts and I’ll be inclined to decline the nomination. Sorry…

  18. Older FIFAs tended to be graphically poor on the PC. That was why I was always a PES PC person.

  19. Fifa 98: Road to the World Cup. Boom!!

  20. Lloyd – nomination accepted and added to the list – which now stands at:

    Football Manager (original)
    2010 FIFA World Cup
    FIFA98: RTWC

    One vote per commenter. No proxy votes. Nominations may be declined at my discretion on any grounds. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

  21. This is football – any version, if it works. If it doesn’t then what about the one that didn’t make the transition to newer consoles – actua soccer.

  22. I did enjoy your video not-Greg, although it occurred to me that I would be enjoying it even more if I was listening to your chat over something rather more inspiring than PES2016! Perhaps some classic PES3, although my nomination for your great idea would be the Japanese Winning Eleven GBA, which must surely be available on some emulator. One of my favourite games ever

    Absolutely pissed off by the referendum, and now hoping for Scottish independence so we separate ourselves from this twattery. I do agree though Darryl, there was something highly suspicious about that Labour MP’s death, and that was not the first time this sort of thing has happened in Europe

  23. Uncle Turf – nomination accepted and added (pending the 2003 PS2 version of TiF (which I had and played at the time, and quite liked) being available somewhere, and the emulator working with it, and the screen recorder recording the emulator without slowing everything to a crawl).

    abbeyhill – nomination accepted and added. I thought you’d go for PES3 for sure. I was playing it this afternoon and fiddling with Windows 10’s native screen recording feature. You’d be happy to see how well PES3 has aged. The GBA emulators are the best there are – seamless in every way, on PC, Mac, and phone. That one shouldn’t be a problem.

    Current List:

    Football Manager (original)
    2010 FIFA World Cup
    FIFA98: RTWC
    This Is Football
    Winning Eleven GBA

  24. Well I rolled around to January in a content 14th place, with the league table now looking more like what we come to expect – man city on top. I’d accumulated just over 3m so free agents were the only option. Oh dear, the best in my youth team was 69 and all of them were made up names. In four seasons of superstar I didn’t get anything useful through youth team and it looks the same here, maybe it gets better the deeper you go? The list wasn’t much better either – so many zeroes that I had to try and do the ‘bid knowing you won’t but they will then jump to 65% likely’. I didn’t get any. Two rounds over and then the desperate breakthrough – a young Ryan giggs at 2m salary, a young Toni – never my kind of pes striker but needs must, I failed going for everyone else, and a workmanlike Dmf hubschmann. No centre halfs, no backup goalie – good job no one ever gets injured, and no wide men. I also sold gellacza, he was doing well for me but I need the money to try and add more players in the summer, I have five defaults out of contract.

    Twenty five years ago I studied politics so I know I will have been more familiar with personalities, etc but it seems to me like we have ended up with the most faceless, non-entities we’ve ever had. I’d be hard pushed to name more than about three people in the cabinet and Jeremy corbyn, he comes across as a washed up college lecturer. You used to know names and what they stood for. All the competent people must be going into some other vocation. It’s pathetic who represents us now. At least there a few smug twats whose careers are over now, but it wasn’t my choice either.

  25. Roberto Baggio has reached 103ovr. BOOM!!!!

  26. actually may I switch my vote back to PES3? Would be genuinely interested to see what it looks like these days on PC. Could even be, if I upgrade my laptop, my next game after PES2014!

  27. Uncle Turf – I’m not as fond of big strapping men as you are, so this might just be me not using them right, but PES2014 didn’t seem like a big-man PES to me. Assuming you class Toni as a big man of course. Ryan Giggs, now, should be the kind of player PES2014 was made for.

    abbeyhill – no problem, PES3 it is, and I had located a copy of Winning Eleven on the GBA and was just putting it through its paces – bit of a Sensible Soccer vibe here, i.e. only those who were there originally could still love this now:

    I’ve said it before and will say it again, but the way gaming ages so dramatically and so quickly is part of what keeps it non-mainstream in media terms. A book or film or song produced in 2002 would still feel fresh today. This is creaking around the egdes. PES3, a 2003 game, feels surprisingly fresh. You’ll enjoy seeing how great it looks and moves on the PC, and I doubt you’d need more than a low-to-medium spec modern-day laptop to play it on.

    I wanted Remain to win for the good reason that I’m firmly in the Quiet Life Please party.

  28. SHIIBATA, GOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!! That’s how you hit a shot on WE GBA, nice footwork to evade the clumsy tackle and then he slams it in from 25 yards. Memories flooding back

  29. Well, if you have an Android phone (or even these days an iPhone) you can be playing it in minutes. Even a modest PC or Mac will run the emulator that runs the game ROMs. The Winning Eleven game ROM is 8MB! Ah they really knew how to code back in the old days…

  30. Ah, the classic shots that had a strange moon gravity-like trajectory, staying two feet off the ground for an eternity before bouncing in. You’re not wrong about games ageing badly, that copy of Civ I got on PS1 is almost unviewable at times, such are the large splats of pixels on an HD tv.

    I was intrigued to know what “Boycott advance” is though, thought it might be some secret project but just googled it and been disappointed. I should have known, Boycott never made an advancing move in his whole career.

    Yes, I class Toni as a higher class of big slow man. I generally don’t buy PES strikers who are as slow as him (2012’s Ribeiro excepted) but he cost me nothing and will be sold for profit if possible. Giggs got 2 on debut and is everything you imagine.

  31. Uncle Turf – Civ II on PS1 gave me one of those gaming experiences I still remember as if it was yesterday. It must have been around the year 2000. I loaded the disc at about 10.30 one night and stayed up until 1pm the next day playing it. Civ II still looks good on PC, if you’re nostalgic enough.

  32. Yes, it was unbelievably moreish, like my first experience of the snes when four of us turned street fighter on at 5.30pm intending a quick game pre-pub and only realised it was too late for going out at half eleven. The disc does its job but I think the advance to Civ 3 shows, particularly in the attitude of rivals. They simply hate you no matter what on the ps1. I’m torn about the PC at the moment. I’ve never played games on my work one as I need it to be clutter free but I’ve just stripped down my old one so the small fella can use it – now his school has iPads the kids have developed a weird reverse technology-age inability to use mice. The golden generation of mice users is probably us to twenty something, below that and they simply stick a finger out. I’ve kept steam with FM 2014 and crusader kings 2 but I never feel as relaxed playing a night time session on a PC.

  33. World Cup Striker (snes) The editing part only though

    I lost so many hours To civ on the PS1, that and MOH and MOH underground.
    My first ever PES game was PES 2 on the PS1 prior to that it was ISS on the SNES and N64(BEST GAMEPAD EVER) PES 3 is immortalised as a photo being held by a long haired self in Whitby where it was purchased 2 hours prior.

    Lloyd – Shyguy toy on my monitor BOOM!

  34. Werd – “Shyguy toy”? Have you been to Anne Summers again?

  35. werd — nomination DECLINED. Like I said above, nothing before 1998, sorry…

    I probably should have declined the first novelty suggestion — Chris99’s original Football Manager — and said ‘nothing from before 2001’. This is why I pooh-poohed Darryl’s original suggestion that I open out my next permanent footy game to a vote. I’d probably have ended up playing Casden Soccer if I’d done that. I thought you’d all want to see me playign and musing on the likes of PES2010 and FIFA07 or whatever — instead, it’s almost like a microcosm of recent world events… Don’t ever open things out to a public vote. Lesson learned.

    Get your next nomination in at some point over the next few days. Nothing before 1998, remember.

  36. Toure is fast turning into my Long Shot king, got another for the next video.

  37. Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear!

  38. Chris99 – I know, my thoughts exactly. People do keep referring to Shaqiri’s goal against Poland as a bicycle kick, when it was plainly and indisputably a scissors kick. I’ve seen several references to it today.

    What can we do? It seems as if this is one we’ll just have to let go. The world has decided to think that scissors kicks are bicycle kicks, and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s a bit like when people try to tell you that evolution is ‘only a theory’, so you try to tell them that a theory in science isn’t what they think it is, but they won’t have that either. It’s definitely not easy being us, but we keep on going.

  39. That cheered me up this morning NG. Thanks.

  40. I take it the “we” refers more to the bicycle kick and evolutionary part of that comment, as regular readers will remember that I’m Welsh. Talking of people not understanding the theory part of “The Theory of Evolution” are you aware of

    I can imagine the England half time talk last night, and at the end when it got to the “any questions” bit, one of them will have asked “we still get paid right?”.

  41. Hehe, I love things like that (spaghetti monster) it makes me feel like we have humour as well as clever stuff in our corner. Did anyone read the interview with Brian Cox where he said he’d have no problem with the bible as long as it was prefaced with ‘of course we could be wrong about all this’? That’s the right attitude rather than Dawkins’ increasingly militant tweets.

    (by ‘we’ I mean bicycle kick enthusiasts of course).

    Last night I managed to miss the supposed great start as I was on my way back from Taekwondo so only had the ineptitude to watch. I really am reluctant for my son to have anything to do with football – his judo is a very supportive, well organised, independent development place – compared with the ‘role models’, money, bile and viciousness of modern football. I went to see some kids stuff with him on Saturday and 6 year old lads are being harrangued by dozens of parents. Our local club is a really good one with the right intentions but some people’s behaviour is just awful. Much as I loved footy as a youngster I’d be much happier if he turned out to want to do more martial arts, athletics, etc.

  42. A professional football match delivers very little payoff compared to the expectations we have of it. At half-time in the match last night I was all eager for what should have been a great, barnstorming second half, the game of the tournament potentially. Instead it was pretty much a load of nothing.

    Take the average free kick in shooting range. Massive build-up, everyone gets very excited, a minute or two has to pass for everything to get settled before the ref blows his whistle, and then… nothing, most of the time. I don’t know what the % of free kicks that leads to goals is but if it’s more than about 3% I’d be surprised. And then there’s corners – again everyone gets very excited, but how many lead to anything worth watching? Then there was the moment, replayed in loving slow motion, when Chris Smalling pulled at an Icelander’s shirt for several seconds, and nothing was done. It should be automatically a foul if you put your hands on your opponent for any length of time anywhere on the pitch. It’s already in the rules. It’s not allowed. Except – it is allowed!

    The idea of football is still great, and one day I’d love to see it actually happen, somewhere, but I really dislike the actual game as it is played out there in the alleged real world. It’s just not a great game anymore. 2014 was the beginning of the end for me. It’s been over-professionalised to the point where the goodness is pulled through such a fine-meshed tea-strainer that it’s barely worth bothering with. The various meta-stories of football – Jamie Vardy’s fairytale; Plucky Little Wales; Mourinho at Man Utd, how will he do? etc. – are a lot more interesting than the actual matches themselves.

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