PES 2013 – The Only Video Game For Footy Fans

PES 2013 by Konami launches on PS3, XBOX 360, Wii and PC this autumn and will give FIFA 12 a run for its money this year if the online rumblings are to be believed. The PES franchise has been around for 16 years and progressed through many iterations both in title and game play style, so what makes Pro Evolution Soccer so popular?

If you live in North America, the chances are that unless you are a die-hard ‘soccer’ fan, this event will simply pass you by, but if you live in the rest of the world, most specifically in Europe, then as every PES fan knows, the football season starts in August, but you only get to play out your own footy fantasies come October, when the latest and greatest version of PES hits the video game shop shelves.

It all started way back in video game time, actually 1996, when Goal Storm was released on the PlayStation. Since then, PES has moved through several naming conventions and the latest update will be called PES 2013. It will go head to head like it has for the past 16 years with Electronic Arts (EA) and their masterpiece – FIFA (12). There are really only these two games vying for gamers’ hard cash every year and if anything that makes the competition even more fierce.

You see the two games have battled it out year on year and this year PES stands a chance of getting back to the top of the pile. It has been languishing behind for the past 5 or 6 years, due in part to complacency, but also the resurgence and downright brilliance of FIFA.

The facts of the case are this your honour;

FIFA (which stands for Federation Internationale de Football Association) as the name might suggest, is an officially endorsed football game, this means that the game comes replete with all the real player names, team names, football kits, competition names and stadia. PES has never had these rights and has had to rely on an editing mode and the ingenuity of the gamers who buy the game to recreate all of the aforementioned details, liveries and stadia. This has fostered a powerful online community purely along editing interests, but when coupled with the obvious game play advantages of PES you begin to see why the popularity of the game is still so high.

So what are these game play advantages?

Well, the trade off in the licensing situation has always been overcome by the sheer beauty of playing PES – it is a game for footy fans. The actual game play has always more closely mirrored the real game, whereas FIFA has traditionally suffered in this area. Playing PES in the first few years was always pure fun, games were high scoring, but varied, FIFA always felt staged and the ball never seemed to behave like a real football, feeling much too floaty. By comparison, PES footballs have always had a weight to them and challenges between players have felt meaty.

An analogy between the two games is to think of FIFA as being a Premier League or Champions League setup, it looks polished and has endorsements coming out of its ears, but it isn’t really true football, it’s a pre-packaged version of the game designed to ensnare glory hunting footy fans, the ones who shout about how great their team is despite knowing nothing about their own teams history.

Pro Evo on the other hand is jumpers for goalposts, dirty knees and eating soggy cornish pasties on a cold, wet Tuesday night away to Barnsley! The analogy might be lost on many and that to some degree proves a point, football isn’t always shiny, multiple step-overs and pink Nike boots, it’s about the teams outside the Premier League who still have fans that turn up for every home and away game, despite not having seen their side win anything for years. That is real football and that is what Konami have tried to encapsulate, despite being based in Japan.

To a large degree they have succeeded, but the line has been blurred between the two games in recent years. FIFA has now moved very close to matching the whole ethos of PES, some say their game play is actually better, I still disagree with that statement, but certainly with the online patches available now to PES gamers, they can sidestep the licensing issue and create photo-realistic players, teams and kits – which means the two games are very much on a collision course to meet in the middle.

Konami have cheered up their fans in previous years by securing licence rights to the England National team, two Premier League teams and various other leagues and players around Europe and the world. This has undoubtedly helped, but give me a fake named Man Red (Manchester united) and quality game play any day over the FIFA version of football. At the end of the day I buy football computer games because I like to play games that recreate the beautiful game, FIFA now does it well, but PES does it better and I’m just hoping that the next instalment of PES 2013 will again give me that option to take the mighty Derby County to European Glory!

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Barnsley FC – Neil Redfearn, A Midfield General

Arguably Barnsley's most influential and talented footballer, Neil Redfearn was instrumental in helping the Tykes achieve promotion to the English Premier League in 1997.

Redfearn's career stretched from 1982 to 2008, he played 851 games and scored 176 goals. He started is long career at Bolton Wanderers but it was a move from Oldham Athletic to Barnsley in 1991 that catapulted him to new heights. Redfearn had a great match day engine and having all the required activities of a good quality midfielder he was given the club captaincy as well as becoming the regular penalty taker for the club. In an era where drinking was not discouraged and an athletes diet was not as strict as it is today, Redfearn rarely missed a game through injury or illness.

Sat in the second tier of English football, manager Danny Wilson began to assemble a Barnsley team that was able to challenge for a place in English football's holy grail, the Premier League. Clint Marcelle, Andy Liddell, Paul Wilkinson, Matty Appelby and John Hendrie all came into Wilson's side in the search for promotion.

In the 1996/97 season Redfearn as ever lead by example. His superb attitude on and off the field was accredited by everyone associated with the club. Barnsley got off to a terrific start to the season winning their first five games. The Tykes would only win one of their next eight drawing five and losing two. The Midfield-General was setting his standards high on the pitch, talking with his feet he had already scored eight league goals going into the middle of November.

A double winning season over rivals Sheffield United and a 2-0 home win against Manchester City helped Wilson's men secure second place and automatic promotion to the Premier League. It was Redfearn's and Barnsley's finest hour. The club captain missed just one game all season and scored 17 goals, he was a club hero.

The Premier League was not a success for the Tykes, relegation lead to the departure of Wilson to rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Redfearn left for £ 1 million to Chartlton Athletic. Redfearn scored a brace in a controversialial 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool. He showed that he had the ability to play in the top tier of English football.

In what was a colorful career, Redfearn was a superb servant to the game. He knew where the back of the net was. There are plenty of managers up and down the country that would love to have a player of Redfearn's ability, commitment and professionalism along their ranks today.

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Lionel Messi – The Greatest Footballer Ever?

The footballing world watched on in utter amazement and delight yesterday as Messi’s Barcelona put 7 goals past a hapless Bayer Leverkusen side in a UEFA Champions League game at the Nou Camp. For the first time ever, we saw one person score 5 goals in a Champions league game and it so happened to be no other person than Lionel Messi.

Yes, the number of goals may be a new record which I think he can better in the years ahead, but it’s more the manner and the sheer class with which he scored the goals that made many a football enthusiast admire this rare talent that has emerged in this generation.

Of course, we all knew about his ability already but his display yesterday has put him in another League. The way in which he made the difficult act of scoring spectacular goals look so easy was just a joy to watch. One was a left foot lob, another a delightful right foot lob, then a careful control from an acute angel, a laser-guided placement with his left foot and then a drive through a number of opposing players. His unique sense of picking the right moments in games to do what he does best is simply quite extraordinary.

He has often been compared with the Legendary Pele and his fellow country man Diego Maradona as to who is the greatest player ever but I will dare to say that even these legends will secretly admit that it’s just a matter of time before this boy from the backside of Rosario, Argentina supersedes their achievements if he hasn’t already done so. Considering the fact that Messi is only 24 years of age and has at least 10 years of top flight football in him, the prospect of what he could achieve can be incredible.

It’s almost inconceivable that the world would never have seen what happened yesterday had it not been for the Barcelona scouts who intervened to save his career when he was being given up on. River Plate, one of the biggest clubs in the Argentine First Division who wanted to sign him from Newell Old Boys Club in Rosario, soon discovered that his inability to endure playing for 90 minutes was due to the absence of a growth hormone that hindered his normal physical development as a person. He looked so tiny for his age at the time that, they were not sure if he could develop physically to meet the demands of the modern game even though his talent was never in dispute. The money needed to put him on a special dieting programme was just too much they couldn’t afford it. They gave up on him but thankfully, he was spotted and taken to Barcelona’s La Masia’s training academy and the rest, they say, is history.

Talking about humble beginnings, his first contract was signed on a white handkerchief because his Dad was so frustrated with the directors of Barcelona at the time due to their indecision about his son’s future that, he gave Charles Rexach, the Director of football at the time a brief window of opportunity to make up his mind. Either they give him an answer there and then or forget about Messi forever once they fly back to Argentina. His exploits today has proven that it doesn’t matter where you begin in life but rather, it’s about you believing in your unique abilities and giftings given to you by God regardless of your size, age, race or gender.

As great as the current Barcelona team is at the moment, it is my firm conviction that if you pluck Messi out of this team, they would not have achieved as much as they have. He brings a certain quality to the team which puts them way above any other team at the moment. When games are tight, he is the only one that can come up with some special instinctive play capable of breaking down opposing teams whereby creating opportunities to score goals.

The flip side of the above argument is that, even the greatest players will find it very difficult to perform at their optimum when they are either surrounded by mediocre players or the team they find themselves in doesn’t play to their strengths. This may well be the reason why he is yet to hit the same dizzy heights with the Argentine National Team as he’s done time and time again with his Club side.

With all that he’s achieve so far, hearing him speak just makes you believe why he may go on to accomplish much more. He seems to exude this important virtue of humility which is vital not only to help get you to the top of your game but more importantly, to stay there. There isn’t any air of «superstardom» about him. His lifestyle is just simple, both on and off the pitch. I’m yet to hear any news about Messi involved in any «off the pitch» incidents that you so often associate with English Premiership players. He just seems to enjoy playing in huge stadia as much as he did when he played on the streets of Rosario.

So is he the greatest player ever? The legendary Pele seems to think he is the best by far in the world at the moment. Most football Managers, fellow professionals and the football community at large seem to think he is the best ever even though he’s yet to lead Argentina to Word Cup glory. I would not dispute that either. I think we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He is simply sublime.

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Short Biography of Famous Soccer Player – Oliver Kahn

His full name is Oliver Rolf Kahn. He was born June 15, 1969 in Karlsruhe, Germany. He was a German soccer player and played the position of the goalkeeper for Bayern Munich. From 1988 until 1994, Kahn played for Karlsruher. He has played 86 games for the Germany national team. His nicknames are «King Kahn» or «the titan».

Kahn begun his career at Karlsruher SC and in 1994 was transferred to Bayern Munich, his last professional club. He’s a modern goalkeeper, that manages his defenders splendidly and he also has the power of character to make himself heard and esteemed by his teammates, which is a surprising achievement considering he’s playing together with world class superstars at Bayern Munich and the German national team.

He is one of the most triumphant and famous soccer players of German in latest history, having won eight German championships, six German cups, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, both in 2001.

His personal contributions have received him four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards, three IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper of the Year awards. He is regarded to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of the all time and is the only goalkeeper in the history of football to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (in World Cup 2002).

At 38 years of age, the majority players, even goalkeepers, make a decision to hang up their soccer boots, but not Oliver Kahn. For all we know, we might as well observe Oliver Kahn play for Germany in yet another World Cup in 2010.

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