By Hadi M. Nor
Pix Credit: KuihLapisKu

Whenever my friends and I get together and they start talking about topics I am clueless about, I just keep quiet and play with my phone (usually I'd be in the midst of refreshing my Twitter timeline for about a few dozen times). But when they start talking about football players, I would suddenly jump into the conversation and throw in my two-cents as if I’m Shebby Singh. While I sound like a fanatic, in actual fact, I don’t watch football as often as my friends do.

Only during major clashes between big teams and cup finals are the times I will watch the beautiful game on TV. If I missed an important match, I try to keep a lookout for the highlights. But my source of information does not come from whatever I watch. Instead, my football knowledge is extensive because I am an avid fan of football games. My current poison is: FIFA 12 for the PlayStation 3.

Pix Credit:
If you play enough football videogames, you'll be where they are now!

Here's the trailer for all to view!
Video credit: Gamescon 2011

In FIFA 12, my favourite playing option is the Manager Mode, where you can take the role of the manager of any desired team (I choose Chelsea because, as sad as it sounds … I love their jersey design). In your role as a manager, you have many expectations to meet. This includes the direction that the Board of Directors have set for the season, winning trophies, and finishing in the top five of the league. You can also transfer players, buy and sell them, and take care of their contracts, morale and fatigue.

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I sometimes have the desire to wear a suit to play this game!
FIFA 12 is an incredibly realistic and detailed game when it comes to players’ skills. Once, my friends were arguing about whether Nani, a mid-fielder for Manchester United (MU), is a left-footer or a right. Based on what I know from the game, and as depicted in it, I told them that both of his legs are equally powerful when it comes to his football kicking prowess. My friends then loaded a Youtube video of Nani’s goals and found out that I was right. I’m not a MU fan but I know of Nani’s abilities because I transferred him into my Chelsea team (Again, everyone looks good in a Chelsea jersey!)

The game will describe a player’s specialties in their bios. For example, Robin Van Persie (the captain of Arsenal) has excellent accuracy and so has scored goals, both from long-range and short-range. I shared this fact with my friends recently when we were discussing about Arsenal. Again, they disagreed with me. Since Robin Van Persie became one of the top goal scorers in the English Premier League, my friends have started to take my football comments seriously.

For any football match, the positioning of players affects their performance. For example, Puyol of Barcelona is well known as a defender and so does not play well as a striker. FIFA 12 will basically show the players’ capabilities through a measuring ratio that uses a scale of 0 to 100. This value changes depending on where the player is positioned. So it is critical for you to place a player in his preferred position if you want him to be on form.

Some of my friends who are MU fans were sceptical when Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of MU, placed Wayne Rooney in midfield role instead of his usual striker position. Based on what I know from the FIFA 12, I told them he would perform just fine because of his versatility as a player. In that game, he played very well as a midfielder. After seeing Rooney deliver the same results for the next few matches, my friends teased me as they sarcastically noted that I share the same vision as Sir Alex Ferguson.

All jokes aside, if it were not for FIFA 12, I would be a total n00b(a newbie or freshie to the un-informed) with football and my friends may shun me for not having such an interest in the beautiful game.

So hats off to the creators of FIFA 12 for making me a football whiz-kid!
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"I'm learning about the life and death of Mahatma Gandhi