New to this series? Catch up with parts uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco
, and seis!
By: Luis Flores, Assistant Graphic Designer @ Aspyr Media
Other than Halo, I played every Xbox game worth playing. By that time, most of my friends had either an Xbox or a PS2, and we would go to a friend’s house every time he got a new game. Overall, we played the same games that were available in the U.S., including all the popular ones like Project Gotham, Star Wars: KOTOR, and the GTAs, with the exception of soccer games.
Outside of America, soccer games are as popular as any major title like Halo. In Mexico, futbol is a big part of our national identity, so the release of a new soccer game is always an awaited event. Big lines would form in the video game sections of major retail stores, where kids from different schools would meet to play soccer matches. It was like real life inter-school competitive matches, but without the occasional fistfight.
Even non-gamers managed to get sucked in by the craze. For example, I had a friend who didn’t consider himself a gamer, but who was a passionate “futbolero.” He didn’t like video games, he thought they were for losers, and he always criticized us when we were playing multiplayer in Halo. For some reason, he did end up playing the FIFA games a lot. It’s as if the futbol aspect cleansed the “loser” aspect of video games, making it permissible for him to play the FIFA games with us.
Now that I remember, we used to play the FIFA games a lot, especially during the 2002 World Cup. That year it happened in Japan and Korea, so the games were broadcast very early in the morning, like between 6 and 9 A.M..
We used to get together the previous night to make carne asada, and we normally spent the rest of the night playing FIFA. We mostly did tournaments, so there was a very strong feeling of competition, and sometimes there was even money involved. Ironically, when the morning came, we were too tired to actually watch the Mexico games. It was all right because through video games we’ve already gotten our fair share of futbol.
The thing with soccer games in Latin America is that they can break friendships apart. In every match, you play for your honor, and if you lose, you get the deserved humiliation. Not only do you lose your reputation as a gamer, but also as a “futbolero,” so it’s double the pain.
In most groups of friends, being the worst FIFA player is always a reason of shame, while the winner enjoys the respect and admiration of the rest of the group. He gets the biggest meat piece in carnes asadas, and the Mexican senoritas fall more for his charms, much like an alpha male Wildebeest in the African Serengeti. This, of course, makes the game more fun, but at the same time more stressful.
For instance, I have a friend that has stopped playing FIFA, because he got so tense while playing that he was unable to sleep at night. He was the best FIFA player in our group, but he was so afraid of losing this coveted status position that he opted to leave the competition with his status unchallenged. I guess fewer Americans know that feeling.
After the Xbox and many fictitious World Cups won, I purposely decided to not buy a console, especially because I was soon going to start college and I wanted no distractions. Although I enjoy video games a lot, they suck most of my time, and I didn’t want my grades to drop for playing time consuming games like Oblivion.
I did keep on playing some games at my friends’ places, mostly to keep myself updated on anything that came out, like Red Dead Redemption or the new Call of Duty. Overall, I think I’ve managed to not lose contact with the gaming world, but sometimes I do feel a little alienated when people talk about great games I haven’t played, like BioShock, or the latest Metal Gear.
I recently started to reconnect more with gaming through my line of work. I’ve started to use Macs in college, and I haven’t gone back to PCs since. I currently own a Mac, so it’s good to know there are companies like Aspyr that makes games for people like us.
One thing that I’ve become aware of is that outside of the U.S. most people still use PCs. That’s the case in Mexico, where mostly design and media students only use Macs. People still see Macs as specialty computers for design, so they see no real reason to acquire one for leisure or work. But things are changing; I do see a growing Mac gaming market in Mexico as in Latin America as people are starting to use more Apple products. IPods are fairly commonplace nowadays and people are starting to use more iPhones and iPads, so they’re slowly being converted.
So this is the end of this story. It was fun to revisit my gaming past and I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave any comment or question. I do recommend playing some of the games I mentioned, many which luckily can be found at GameAgent.com
, like Monkey Island
or the latest Civ