This Is Cousin MacAdder

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.

Updated: 13th August 2019 — 11:57


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  1. Uncle Turf — I think the stage of any PES where it ‘breaks’ is heavily user-influenced too. It also does depend on the PES of course – e.g. PES5 never broke, not even close; the much-adored PES6 broke for me around Season 5, with back-to-back Trebles suddenly possible, but there are PES6 lovers out there happily playing for dozens of seasons, with House Rules, probably; PES2008 was broken in Season 4 or so when I discovered the wonder dribble and that I (a non-dribbler) could actually do it; PES2010 and PES2012 never really broke at all for me, I just ran out of steam with them; PES2013 broke in Season 5-ish with the shooting out of control – and so on.

    PES2017 only semi-broke for me. I could have gone on. None of the mechanics were undermining the gameplay. I just got tired of the endless procession of identikit AMF/SS types and it ran out of steam naturally.

  2. NG – See I am in agreement there. Last year’s FIFA while being better in many places feels too real in presentation terms sometimes. After a bad loss last season I was unable to even look at FIFA whereas PES never has this problem in master league. It is a more separate reality that you can escape to which is the point of gaming.

  3. prsgame – Both PES and FIFA mimic the television presentation of football, as much or more than they do the mechanics of a football match. That uncanny valley feeling you get with FIFA is due to how close it’s come to replicating the TV packaging of the game. It’s not just the graphics and logos and the like. There’s the high pitch-side vantage point, the commentators, the camera swinging back and forth… It should be remembered that we don’t actually play football games – we play a representation of the mode in which football is televised. A few Virtual Reality generations down the line, maybe we’ll actually play football, but for now we play a weird ghost of a TV production of football. And it’s better than football!

  4. NG – Great, I can’t wait for the PTSD from being virtually shouted at to close down the opposition centre backs or the ‘not bad feet for a heavy lad’ comments.
    I’d be all for FIFA’s training games though

  5. The BaP and BaL modes, with the camera set to follow the player around at pitch-level, are the closest to actual football we’ll come for 10 or 20 years, probably. Shame that neither mode is more than it is – BaP is probably the better of the two, thanks to FIFA letting the player skip action he’s not invovled in. God DAMN Konami for not getting rid of CPU-vs-CPU in BaL.

    But even here I think most players of the modes have the camera set to the TV-style one, i.e. up and high. Same for fixed cursor players etc.

    We’re TV Football Gamers.

  6. Just finished Detroit Become Human and what an experience it was. The best thing is that it isn’t over as there is so much replayabilty factor to see how the story can change in many ways.

  7. I’ve decided when I come to add the final few PS2 Pes’s to the library I will not go down the route of overpaying for an old disc on ebay/CEX, etc. If I want 2012/13/14 on that format it has to be as a result of digging through the bin in the world’s only remaining Blockbuster, or a shop specialising in figures of Orcs who happen to have a few games in a ‘retro’ section. They will of course be completely unknown to me as I used to junk anything that didn’t favour the latest graphics.

  8. Uncle Turf – you have made me aware that I don’t own physical copies of the PS2 games after PES2008, and that this is a situation that must be remedied. I’m totally comfortable with the idea of being an almost 50 year old man with cellophane-wrapped copies of old computer games. I was looking at my physical copy of ISS Pro 98 today and the jewel case is cracked and needs to be replaced. This could be the start of something.

    Darryl – I forgot to grab Detroit when it was a free PSN game last month, but what is there in it that’s a game? Is it all a narrative that you guide?

  9. When mini turf was a toddler and had all that baggage they seem to need at that age I junked loads of stuff. Now he’s older and bits of the house are being reclaimed I figure a couple of foot of game cases can be happily accommodated. For 50p a throw just simply looking at them is worth it.

    If you’re pursuing all the ps2 pes’s then at some point we may be destined to meet, Indiana jones style, arriving on opposite sides of a grubby second hand games aisle, me with my hat and whip, you with your horde of nazi soldiers. You will of course obtain it by superior firepower but I’ll later burgle it from you after a run in with a snake.

  10. NG – Yes it is mainly the narrative that you guide but with a bit of combat and LA Noir type of investigation and finding clues. I won’t give anything away but you control 3 main characters and if you manage to keep them all alive then they come together in a final scene that is one of the most memorable that I have seen in a game. You develop such an affection for the main characters that you really do feel it when their life is in jeopardy. There was one moment that had my heart thumping. For yourself it would be ideal as it wouldn’t take too much out of your schedule. Like a great film it has you still thinking about it after the credits have rolled.

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