Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Reconciling with Soccer

Lately, I've been catching up with some stuffs that had to be finished ASAP. Again, the word "stuffs" is used because it contains two different things: my college assignment (so I can write my final paper project ASAP) and my Turbo Sliders track for use with SCARTS. Skinning projects are also in the works, but as a side job, and meanwhile I am getting my hands dirty at making money off of online projects (well, I have to earn some cash now, although the "Work Bitch" ethos is not in use yet).

Interesting enough, I have reconciled with one particular sport as of late due to a combination of reasons: soccer (or football), now that AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 is already on a roll and I recently got my hands on Pro Evolution Soccer 6, one of my sixth grade games I played. I felt like maybe I should reconcile with soccer, but that doesn't mean I had to stay up late to watch Manchester United and whatnot playing. More like as a fan and a true believer of the Indonesian national team. Who doesn't like seeing an Indonesian represent in the world stage?

As an Indonesian myself, who doesn't like seeing an Indonesian represent in the world stage? (Image: PSSI Official Site)
To be fairly honest, I was a soccer fan when I was in sixth grade, although not a fan of European-based competitions yet more of a national team supporter kind, even I reacted like crazy when Indonesia won AFF U19 Cup in 2013 against Vietnam after a decisive penalty kick showdown. After those numerous bitter endings to Indonesia in the international stages, this was something that Indonesia deserved, although the over-enthusiastic commentator in Indonesia might not a cup of tea for everyone.

However, at that same time, I also despise and hate how crazy our supporters are, even to the point where, if I can recall correctly, a soccer pundit states that our supporters are a reminiscent to the English soccer hooligans circa 1970-1980s, especially when it comes to club competitions here. I also learned this the hard way when I, with my friends, watched a match live in Stadion Gelora Bung Karno where they faced Malaysia, between 2011-2012 if I could recall. The gate we were in haven't opened yet and people were impatient that we had to push and shove our way until I was literally exhausted and almost ran out of breath, and didn't realize that, as soon as I managed to get in, the sharp edge of a fence scratched my left foot with excessive bleeding and I was just writhing at such a pain (luckily, the medic team was stood by inside). The only thing I brought home are my pain, my (almost) bad luck of not able to watch the game, some "colorful" chants to Malaysia (take note that they don't take this rivalry lightly for a variety of reasons), broken eyeglasses, the fact that I lost my N95 which was stuffed with some precious files and whatnot, stitches after leaving GBK past midnight, sleep deprivation, and three days of school absence. One of those darkest days of mine.

But as much as I hate that very moment, there's nothing more dark and hateful than this: internal politics. For numerous times, politics were at play, and there was also a dualism in 2013 (but it was way earlier before they won the AFF U19, and there was a dualism in league existence in 2012 too) although the problem was solved, but the climax was the fact that it was given a FIFA probation due to government meddling on May 2015, and was later lifted during the 66th FIFA Congress. The combination of these two things were one of the main reasons for my broken relationship to soccer.

Pro Evolution Soccer 6, one of the most recent PES entries I have played at the moment in my PS2 days before saying goodbye to soccer games until I reunited with its PC version. How can anyone forget how great its Master League system was? (Image:
Fast forward to a past Friday where I managed to get Pro Evolution Soccer 6, all with the intention of uncovering the preset teams on the Master League mode just for the reference on things I would make, which unfortunately I have no knowledge of figuring out which index within an AFS file all those Master League-exclusive team emblems is stored. I had to learn some modding know-how in order to do that, but apart from that, I remember I used to play this game on PS2, utilizing my own club edits, joining the Master League fray, and play a bunch of modded versions of this game.

What stood out for this game until now however is how Master League system works. Not pertaining to how a club can get promoted or relegated to the next/previous division, but how the negotiation system works, how the unique individual player growth system plays, and others that I can't mention one by one. It's as if this feature would be a perfect scheme for a career-based game of any game genre you can think of, where players can experience different growth each gameplay and a particular player can say either yes or no to your player contract. I'm pretty sure that succeeding entries for PES have a better system, but this very system is my stepping stone for a dynamic career approach where everyone develops.

Also unique to its original Japanese counterpart I also played once, Winning Eleven 10 (featuring a theme from Ukatrats FC, a collaboration of many Japanese musicians), is the mode where you play as a Japanese national team, progressing your way from the Asian qualifiers, to Kirin Challenge, to playoffs, and World Cup. Never got to play that far, but as a sixth grade gamer I found the progression tree in that mode interesting, especially knowing that there are unplayable national teams stirring up the contention, Indonesia was there too IIRC. Also worth noting that the game also allows players to listen to the BGMs from the past Winning Eleven games, by spending a specific WEN (an in-game currency to buy things off of WE Shop, called PES Points in the PES counterpart) to unlock the option.

The trigger of why I started to dig on PES/WE was first initiated by this PES 5 menu music composed by Nekomata Master (Naoyuki Sato), then the menu music of Winning Eleven 2000 (the U23 edition) which stuck on my mind forever even when I rediscovered it again, and the list goes on until the thought of getting PES 6 started to materialize. The second any of PES/WE soundtrack starts playing, thoughts about Master League also come into play. Currently, I am in search of working game controllers in order to play this game fully, as I haven't got used in using keyboard controls as opposed to the same behavior in racing games, but maybe I could see keyboard controls as a temporary solution. As an update, I did find the controller I'm looking for, but one button doesn't work, so I guess the controller I have will be the temporary solution instead until I can afford the one that's new / at least working.

By now fragments of myself as a soccer fan started to recollect by itself. Everything came full circle, and it seems that I could safely still believe in Indonesia, after all the politics we've been through. I always prefer being in the saner spectrum of the fandom for this, especially after looking back at my bitter past numerous times. The stitch was long gone, but the remnant is still there.

But apparently, one thing doesn't change: our national team's defense are still full of loopholes, at least for two previous matches, didn't watch the third one though. On a positive note, however, we just made it to the Semifinals! It's just that Vietnam won't be an easy opponent...


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