I am distressed. Team VideoGamer.com flies out to Los Angeles for the behemoth that is the E3 trade show on Saturday June 12. That day, as anyone who's ever kicked a football knows, is the day England open their World Cup account against the USA. I'm not sure of the time zones, but I will probably miss the game.
I'm so distressed that I'm considering simulating the game in EA Sports FIFA 2010 World Cup, with mates round and beers and everything, because that's about as close to the real thing as I'm going to get. Sniff.
Let's be honest, FIFA's no substitute for the real thing, just like watching a game on telly's got nothing on watching from the stands. But the brains behind these different experiences do their utmost to make them as authentic as current technology allows. This is as true for EA Canada with World Cup as it is for the production team behind Sky's Super Sunday.
So, what does this mean for the game? Well, it means that it looks and sounds like the World Cup. As players walk onto the pitch, more confetti than you've ever seen in a video game fills the air. Fireworks shoot out of stadium rafters. Fans are dancing, because, you know, that's what fans do at the World Cup. The mind-numbing buzz of countless vuvuzela horns drowns out team sheet announcements. And, of course, you're bombarded with all the proper World Cup branding, including that annoying kiddy font and Zakumi, the mascot with attitude.
Is this, fellow football fans, what we should expect from the World Cup? Face painted fans boogying to some inane, endless beat; streamers and who knows what else cluttering our view of the action; and, of course, the vuvuzela horn drilling a hole in our brains? FIFA is, after all, an authentic simulation of the beautiful game, warts and all. Maybe missing the odd game or two isn't such a bad thing after all…
You do get the feeling, however, that EA's team at Vancouver has over-egged the festival of football feel ever so slightly. The game cuts to shots of the managers - the first time all of them have been represented in a video game - so often, that you quickly get sick of them and the way they hold their hands up to their faces. There's so much confetti that you start to worry that fans will suffocate. The fans themselves look ridiculous: they sport silly Mohawk haircuts and garish face paint. They also dance, like, proper dancing, not just jumping up and down doing that boing boing thing. Even England fans bust a move, which is ridiculous, because England fans do not dancefloor dance at football matches. Or wear extreme Mohawks. Or do anything other than stomp up and down and call the ref a trucking banker.
The vuvuzela horn, though, is about right.
Thankfully, you can turn the dancing fans, confetti, streamers, fireworks and vuvuzela horns off leaving you free to get on with the good stuff: playing virtual football. If only you could do the same to match broadcasts with your telly remote.