Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1124, 29 November - 5 December 2012
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1124, 29 November - 5 December 2012

Ahram Weekly

Soccer on the screen

Relive football matches in the virtual world. Ahmed Hamdi looks at the two choices in the gaming world

Al-Ahram Weekly

When it comes to soccer video games it’s always a choice between just two: FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). The first, which is part of the Electronic Arts (EA) sports family, is thought to be more about tactics and coaching. The second, produced by the Japanese company Konami, has the reputation for being more about game-play skills.
Every year, a new edition of each comes out featuring something new. That addition could be an enhancement in graphics or new game-play options. One other thing that could witness a change is the commentators and leagues. As part of their attempt to market their product more in the Arab world, EA Sports has decided to feature a new league in its famous soccer game, the Saudi league. It’s not just that for the Arabs -- FIFA 13 also features Arabic commentary via the voice of Issam Al-Shawali accompanied by analysis by Abdullah Al-Harbi. The two are the well-known commentators for the Al Jazeera Sports channels.
An Arabic league and two famous Arab commentators were not the end of the deal for EA sports. Egypt, as well, got the attention of the American company being the only Arab national team present in the new soccer game. Featured before in some previous editions of the FIFA series, the national team roster of this year’s edition is arguably the most accurate ever.
With a mixture of old and young players, the Egyptian national team has truly captured the attention of young Egyptians. “That made me more anxious to play that game,” said the 14-year-old Amr Salem. “Having the young and talented Mohamed Salah with the great Mohamed Abou Treika in the same team simply cut it for me, I had to play this game,” Salem added. Two things though which annoy Salem when he plays: the first is the national team kit which is not the real one. The second is the absence of Ahmed Al-Shenawi, the famous future “best goalkeeper” as analysts have predicted.
On the other hand, Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 features the Egyptian team among 12 other Arab national teams. This variety in the number of Arab teams would give the Japanese game popularity in the Arabic speaking region. The Egyptian team roster was not less than FIFA 13, having a mixture of young and old players of the real team today. One difference though is the number of players available on the team, which is less in the PES.
“Having players like Ahmed Al-Shenawi and Ahmed Temsah in the national team roster gives the game a real dimension,” said Ahmed Mahmoud, 21. “It has always been our problem having irrelevant players on the roster every year due to the lack of knowledge of our team by the producers,” he added. Despite his happiness for the improvement, Mahmoud still thinks that the problem hasn’t been solved completely. “PES 13 has Ahmed Al-Sayed on the roster, a player who hasn’t represented Egypt in years.”
These are not the only factors that affect how popular these games are in Egypt and the rest of the Arab world. In the game-play part, there are always comparisons being made between two main features, which supposedly mean the same thing in both games. The first is the Career mode in FIFA 13 and Master League in the PES. “This is where it really makes a difference,” said the 23-year-old Hisham Nagi. In Nagi’s opinion, FIFA 13 is now miles ahead of the PES when it comes to that feature. The Career or Master League mode basically means taking on a team to play with in the league of your choice. With both having that same feature, FIFA allows its players to get more of the action this year and has the ability to manage national teams as well, besides your local team.
“One problem while playing the PES Master League is that you can’t change the team and you don’t get offered contracts from other teams like the FIFA,” Nagi told Al-Ahram Weekly. In the PES Master League, players select a team but must stick to it until the end of the Master League. If they want to change teams they will have to start a new one. In the FIFA series, though, as a manager, a player would get offers from bigger or smaller teams than his based on his performance. If you start, for example, playing with Real Madrid and you finish in first position in La Liga, you might get an offer to manage Manchester United. But if you finish the league in third position, for example, you might get an offer from Tottenham Hotspur.
In game-play, the PES will no doubt impress when it comes to player control and feints as Mohamed Salah, a Playstation café manager, told the Weekly. “The PES is more enjoyable to play as it offers you so many feints and personal skills for the players,” Salah said. “FIFA is very good, too, but it is more about tactics and formation.”
Confused about which game is more popular among young Egyptians, we asked Salah for the answer based on his experience in the field. “I would say in individual play, youth go for FIFA but when friends are playing together they always go for the PES.”

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