I kid you not, as of this morning FIFA 16 is now available for download on the Origin website in three editions. Gamers and soccer enthusiasts everywhere rejoice! If you did not know yet (for example if you have been living under a rock… A bed-rock; because you’re primitive) FIFA is a sport simulation video game based on FIFA Soccer which is the world governing body of soccer. If you are reading this and thinking “oh, she means FIFA Football,” I apologise. I am South African and though we have adopted most of Britain’s English rules there are some things South Africans have decided we were better off without.
Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but I watch a lot of British television and I’ve made a few observations. There is some confusion that arises when you call two sports by the same name like you have done with American football and soccer. Why would you choose to create such confusion when there is a choice of another, unambiguous word? The only thing that makes less sense to me than that is the introduction of the imperial system of measurement. Unfortunately (for me, that is) other countries like USA and Canada are guilty of the same madness and so my engineering degree was taught in three different measurement systems: Imperial, US metric and International Metric (the last being the most widespread, probably because it’s the only one that makes any sense). A degree that is accredited in several developed countries did sound really great in theory but maybe, just maybe, I could’ve had a social life in my first year if the Imperial and US metric system didn’t exist. Maybe I would have started this blog years ago?
Anyway, back to FIFA; It’s first version was released in the year 1993 and each year EA Sports produces a new version updated with player statistics, strengths, injuries, football club managers and other real data. The funniest of these updates had to have been last year when Luis Suarez was suspended from FIFA Soccer for biting other players. This inspired a plethora of mean but hilarious internet memes and even indie games like “The Luis Suarez Biting Game”.
Suarez was to be excluded from the FIFA game until October 2015 (I wait patiently to see what happens). EA has also aspired to make the FIFA game better each year by adding personalised goal celebrations and other cool stuff to the game play. I take my hat off to them for their graphics because I spent all week editing 3D meshes on Blender and I can imagine it must take a certain level of dedication to reproduce a multitude of weird soccer player hairstyles (they can get so crazy sometimes) in high detail 3D. Though the game itself is generally prone to glitches (like most EA games-and I play many of them) it still ranks way up there when it comes to sales because it is, I admit, a great game based on a great sport.
I know I sound like a total tom-boy right now but to be completely honest I got into FIFA the same way most women do… being challenged by a male friend, boyfriend or family member. I’ve always been into strategy games and didn’t enjoy soccer much in real life but when I saw how realistic EA Sports had made it, I joined a round of an at-home boys versus girls FIFA championship and the girls’ team actually dominated!
Which brings me to the highlight of FIFA 16 and why I felt inspired to write this blog post. FIFA 16 is the first of its series to include SOME women’s national teams. As excited as I am to see this change, I don’t think it is something for EA or FIFA to be truly proud of. It is but a flake off of the huge ice-berg of gender inequality that still stands between where we are now as a society and where we need to be. The common response I’ve gotten to this “unpopular opinion” is that women’s soccer just isn’t as interesting as men’s soccer. But how do you know if you have not been exposed to it? The reality of the matter is that female soccer and female sport in general receives far less exposure, funding and support from governments, institutions and societies in many countries. Most of my male friends admit to never watching female soccer and can’t even name a few female players. It is no surprise then that their opinions of female soccer are similar to my opinions on FIFA and soccer before I really got into it. It took FIFA twenty-two whole years to rise above society and realise that women’s soccer deserves some recognition.
Another highlight is that the players for the covers (there are different country versions and therefore different selections) were chosen by popular vote. I have played the demo which is also available for download on the Origin website and I am super amped for this new release! What are your views or opinions on FIFA 16?