War stories: That time I finally won a game of FIFA

2023-07-19 by Callum Andrews

We all got our war stories

As individuals we all got our stories to tell concerning different parts of our lives and as gamers, we definitely have some regarding the games we play. In this (hopefully it becomes a series) article I'll tell you about how I managed to beat my friend in one of the biggest games franchises in the world.

It's no surprise that the most popular sport in the world is football (or as they call it in the U.S. soccer). As someone that has a dad that comes from the British Isles where this sport is almost a religion, it's then no surprise that my dads' interest in the sport was passed on to me. Which in many cases is how these things go. Even playing it as a youngster me and my dad quickly realized that no matter how much HE loved the sport I would never become proficient at it.

It was a hard pill for him to swallow but we still enjoyed watching it on the TV together on the weekends. I even had friends that were obsessed with the sport and unlike me could actually play fairly well.

The struggle was real

One friend in particular was almost obsessed with the sport to the point that he almost watched every game that was played no matter the league. However, one other thing me and this friend had in common was video games and he used to get the annual EA FIFA releases. Which we would play at his house during some of our longer school breaks.

As an opposite to my proficiency at Street Fighter 2, which I mention here I was as bad at FIFA as I was in real-life football. Every time I would go over to my friend and we'd play FIFA. It would end with me losing. Occasionally we would play International Superstar Soccer (which later got rebranded to Pro Evolution Soccer). Which was Konamis's competitor game to FIFA. Which most people at the time (me included) found way superior to EA's game. One major advantage FIFA had over ISS was that all players in FIFA had their real names. As opposed to ISS where the names were made up. This on the other hand brought on some really hilarious moments once the commentators were announcing these made-up names.

Anyway, no matter which game we'd play the result would always be the same. I would lose and in some cases embarrassingly so. I'm almost ashamed to admit it but at one point I lost a game 10-0 as Brazil which at that time was considered to be the best football national team in the world. What made it even worse was that my friend played as some nation that had some of the worst stats in the game.


Eventually though my time came and once it did it was glorious. My friend had one big advantage over me, which was that he was the only one of us that owned these games. And he played them extensively which made him good. This was just the case with me and Street Fighter 2. But another reason he kept winning for so long as he did and it was entirely my own fault. Was the reason that I never actually tried to get better or try to learn. Eventually though something clicked.

When we would play I would start observing more what my friend did and how he played. I even tried to learn from the football matches that I watched with my dad. Once I figured what I was doing wrong all this time the matches stopped being so one-sided as before. The biggest mistake I would make before coming to my realization was that as soon as I'd get the ball I'd take a player and beeline it to the opponent's goal making a pass here and there. This just enabled my friend to put one of his players in front of mine which ended in me running into his player and he'd get the ball and eventually score.

Once I did come to this realization though, I did something different. I stopped sprinting with the ball, instead I started passing it around. I stopped trying to get through the box and straight ahead at goal instead I would run on the sides and try to cross it in. I would even at certain points start passing the ball back so that I could open up the field more and make another goal attempt. All these things are done in real football matches. When I started making moves like these the matches started becoming more uncertain.

Winning over my friend for the first time was one of my all-time best gaming moments and one that I will forever remember. Once I started beating him on a more frequent basis his interest in playing me started to dwindle though. But that's how things go I guess. Mind you I still never bought any of the games. I just improved by observing and introspection of what I was actually doing.

So if you've got a friend that's beating you at a particular game, try to think about what you are doing, what your friend is doing and figure out how you can use it against them. Because winning over your friends in video games is one of the best feelings out there.