FIFA: a female’s perspective

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FIFA
FIFA 14. Image: Electronic Arts.

I don’t know a lot about video games. The extent of my experience is watching a few and playing some Mario Kart. In some cases I’ll admit that I can understand the thrill of playing, whether it’s racing, or shooting, or flying a plane; in other words, where one is able to simulate an activity that otherwise might be impossible.

Despite my lack of familiarity though, I thought I at least understood the appeal of video games before coming to university in the UK. It was then I was introduced to FIFA. A game that back home only sat on the shelf and collected dust, here is a prominent pass time for many male friends I’ve made. Actually pass time is putting it lightly. It’s more of an obsession. And one that I cannot understand. I may sound like an ignorant and stereotypical girl, ragging on one of guys’ favorite activities, but trust me, I have given FIFA a fair chance.

I have watched the game for hours (more than I can bear to remember), seen the primal behavior its players descend into after a major victory or loss. I’ve seen the animalistic attacking of one another, the screeches of profanity and discontent that the game inevitably descends into. To be fair though, the few times I played this game (see, I have at least tried it), I also become infuriated. Less so at the performance of my eleven mini footballers, and more so at the number of buttons and how difficult it is to press the right one at each moment. How do you make them run? Why aren’t they always running?! Last time I played, the highest performing player on my team was the goalkeeper, who, according to my opponent, I don’t actually have control over…

I’m sure if I spent the number of hours that some ‘dedicated’ players do, I would eventually manage to figure it out; however this gives rise to another question: why bother? Why play a game on a TV when you could go outside and play the exact same thing, but instead using actual skills, not just the ability to press buttons? As hard it may be for many males to understand, there must be some part of my brain that just doesn’t connect this game with thrill and excitement.

With the ‘all new’ FIFA 14 having recently been released, there seems to be little sign of this troubling phenomenon abating, as even though many already own one or more versions, the game is still flying off the shelves. For now, it seems I’ll have to once again prepare to lose some of my friends to the baffling world that FIFA manages to create.

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