FIFA: Fast-Paced, Implications for this Reality

FIFA 12 – XBOX 360 –

Despite having taken me almost two hours to learn and understand the various controls utilized by the FIFA video game, I was proud of myself for this being the first week I explored games beyond the ‘simple’ realm.  The first week I wrote about the business world of gaming and my limited knowledge, the second board games, and last week (third), some of the most basic games and their genres on sites like

This week, it is more than time to step it up.  So, I will be candid and say that humbling as it may sound, my very first ACTUAL video game on a semi-modern game system, in this case XBOX 360, was the soccer-fueled FIFA 12. 

The interesting thing about this game and sports games in general is their ability to be casual, while at the same time combining many of the other genres which we have spoken about, discussed, and perused on this blog.

The fast paced nature of creating alternate and virtual realities is reflected in shooting and strategy games, in racing and fast-paced medieval-themed games, and it is certainly omnipresent in such games as some of the modern day sporting games of our generation. 

FIFA 12 features 29 licensed leagues from 22 countries. Twenty two different countries.  That is an astounding accomplishment, given that the last time I played a sports game, it was the black and white Gameboy’s NBA game which boasted in guerilla marketing campaigns that it contained a whole eight NBA teams.  (I also typed half of my papers in high school on a Smith/Corona typewriter – I never claimed to be normal.)

That being the case, and given that I’m not a sports fan and know hardly anything about soccer, I was enthralled by the video game.  A number of different national covers are used. Most of them depict either Manchester United front-man and England striker Wayne Rooney, along with Los Angeles Galaxy stars.  This usage of real-life people, including announcers and commentators lends a practicality that other games, including non-sports games could benefit from.

What do you think would be the result if a virtual reality game with specific and direct intent at provoking a social or political issue included narration or some form of audio track from a political or other prominent national figure?

Would a game carry more weight if it included heavy computer-generated animations, along with computer-generated score, and a generic or once again computer-generated voice; or would President Barack Obama or Secretary of State Clinton’s voice, along with less-pixelated images lend themselves to a more believable, and ultimately more successful video game?

In tying this sports game back into the loop, and into the larger narrative of these virtual reality games, particularly those with social or political intent, the fast-paced nature of a sports game which includes some of the biggest names, voices, and CHARACTERS in the industry serves itself to make the game even more fast-paced.  The game is successful not because, as critics have noted, ‘people like the sport, they like to watch, so they like this game,’ but because it lends itself to adding a dimension towards an already-familiar concept – an interesting ‘mechanisms’ in gaming.

I’m just proud I put down the black and white Gameboy, and actually tried.


  1. Palesa said:

    Being a part of the british culture I can tell you first hand that games like fifa are very popular across the pond and especially so because of the ongoing commentating throughout the game. Fifa has been very successful in depicting what a typical football game is actually like, and for the football crazy (or should I say soccer crazy) this is a dream come true. The opportunity for them to manage any team that they want and do all the substituting and strategizing that they always crave to do when watching a real match is fulfilled in this type of game. The realism is accentuated by the ongoing commentators and they make snide or complimentary remarks to the various ways the players manage the teams. It would be very interesting to see another game with some sort of narration say from The President to simply a manager at work. I haven’t played another game that makes use of the narrative the way FIFA does.

  2. amiesi said:

    I myself have never been a huge sports game fan, but some of my roommates look like they have gotten into it. On the scale of games from casual to hard-core, I believe that sports games fit right in the middle. The sports game genre has a huge draw to it that games like my beloved Dwarf Fortress never will because these games are designed to target an enormous demographic– anyone who likes sports or anyone who has friends (these demographics do not even have to overlap). And this corporate tailoring is not a bad thing, rather, these sports allow people to gather together inside their close communities with modern recreation. Why hang out and stare at the dry wall when you hang out and play video games? Video games like FIFA also have the unique capacity of not being overly “nerdy” while providing visual stimulation. While it is not my opinion that it is possible to be too nerdy, there do exist people for whom my 36 hour Counter-Strike binges may be over the top. FIFA inherently caters to a demographic beyond so called “nerds” while at the same time providing an arena of multiplayer competition that “nerds” once held a monopoly on. Games like FIFA take everything that is attractive about competition and friendship, and combines it with a palatable packaging for the common man.

  3. crhyde said:

    Despite soccer being far less popular in the US compared to sports like professional football and basketball FIFA has an enormous appeal across the board. When I got to college I had only played FIFA once or twice; now it is easily the game I play most often while I’m here. It seems as though everybody plays, you could enter any dorm or frat house on campus and find a multitude of people who’d be interested in playing FIFA. Though the NFL and NBA have a larger following in america this distribution of interest doesn’t carry over to the video games. Not to say lots of people don’t play madden games, it just seems like FIFA is far more universal. Another great part of FIFA is that each of the newer versions becomes more and more enticing. You will always find people who say they prefer an earlier game in a series such as maybe halo 2 over halo 3. However, it is uncommon you will find people complaining about the changes made to the FIFA franchise. It seems as though they make each game more realistic and enjoyable each time.

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