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The PES Casual: Let's Talk "Hardcore Self-Loathing Non-Players" & The Way Forward


There is a reason The PES Casual finds it difficult to take the some of self-proclaimed “hardcore”, “real sim players” or whatever, seriously at times.

How often in PES/FIFA discussion do you come across folks talking about how they are a hardcore player? Fairly often, one would imagine.

How often in PES/FIFA discussion do you notice the very same folk posting something that starts “So I turned on Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 for the first time since early October 2017 and it is a disgrace, and…”? Fairly often, one would imagine.

How often in PES/FIFA discussion do you notice that it is those very same people who also post “They [the developers] never listen to us! I could do a better job at [insert development/public relations role here], and………waaaaaaaaah! They should hire us, lads!”? Good grief.

The PES Casual never knew he was an expert at Call of Duty. He never knew he was a game designer. Dude never knew he was a public relations expert. The PES Casual and millions of others must be, according to the logic of some of the non-playing hardcore, because this ageing casual don’t play Call of Duty any longer, nor has he ever studied video game design, and The PES Casual sure ain’t ever worked in public relations either. Too busy vandalising telephone boxes and getting drunk on cheap cider in underpasses, when not playing 10-9 online thrillers in the “kids” game, that is.

And there it is. Why should The PES Casual, any other player, or those tasked with producing the game or gathering feedback pay a great deal of attention to those who, by their own admission, have completely abandoned the game early doors? What wisdom could they possibly offer beyond talk of either an old, out-dated version of the game that they swear by or a football game they have dreamed up and are playing exclusively in their heads? The answer to those questions is surely not a lot. Not saying that we casuals or the creators of the game shouldn’t listen at all (we’ll come back to this), but that in the grand scheme of things what they should listen to from these particular hardcore non-players (there are actually some voices worth listening to within that group) probably isn’t going to amount to a great deal. Of course, if these folks don’t like what they have played and have just moved on this all wouldn’t be worth passing comment on, but they don’t. Instead what happens is that they take to talking down to those who do like the game and have stuck with it, launch venomous, utterly egregious attacks on those employed to make the game happen, at every level, and pretend to have expert knowledge on the product’s health. The Japanese and their appreciation and understanding of football (checks calendar to ensure I haven’t travelled back in time to 1930, or something), EVERYBODY’s knowledge of football, particularly that of those damned casuals. Most hilariously of all, they then wonder why nobody will listen to them above everybody else. Why all this? Because it is all they’ve got in the tank. You could almost call it self-loathing, as it truly boggles the mind why they would still hang around; not to offer up solutions, just attack and talk down to those who do play and enjoy the game that they openly admit to hating, with some Alex Jones level conspiracy theories thrown in. Daily. Effing daily, man. That’s unhealthy, surely.

But The PES Casual can hear it now:

“Oh, Filthy CASUAL! Don’t you know EVERYBODY is voting with their wallets, with those who made the grave error of installing having long thrown their PS4 Pro’s in the sea? The userbase has long since migrated to FIFA, except for the kids and the myClub crowd! KONAMI, and our beloved PES will be RUINED! We, the HARDCORE, will see to that via our MIGHTY wallets and scathing attacks upon the kids! It will soon be all over for them and those damned CASUALS! Oh, and I am sorry, but if anyone is going to take up a public facing role with a videogames publisher, then death threats and racism are just par for the course. Not that we are saying that is okay, but…”

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah, no. Just no.

While it is true that the consumers, the players, do ultimately have all the power, what is highly questionable are the claims that the series is dying, or that majority of PES players have long migrated over to FIFA. What? There have been no child-births since 1990 or something and the userbase across both games are populated by the same folks as back in the day? What is undeniable fact is that those who are so invested in making such assertions are a tiny minority of any userbase, be that for PES or FIFA, and exist in an echo-chamber. The PES Casual operated in that very same chamber for a loooong time and will need to now. Regarding overall health, people would do well to seriously reconsider what constitutes success and sorry, but speculative figures of disk copies sold, or a look at a Steam page isn’t going to give you all the information, not now; not in a digital age and also one on which there is a free-to-play version of the game. Also very much open to question is what type of player the wider userbase consists of. Going by some lurking of a variety of sources over a number of years, one could swear some of those within the PES communities are convinced that younger players (those pesky kids!) would pick PES over FIFA. C’mon! That’s not how kids work unless The PES Casual is recollecting his past inaccurately and what actually happened when at 12 years-old and he saw his mate with a pair of Nike Firestrike he actually said “No! I want a pair Adidas Kick, again, instead!” Nah, that isn’t what happened at all. Kids are way more open to suggestion, advertising, and let’s just say EA spend way more on marketing and advertising than Konami do, but that doesn’t mean FIFA is a kids game either. Suppose it best be said that this is not comparing PES to Adidas Kick. Actually, I am. Adidas Kick were awesome in retrospect.

As for the thankfully rare – even some of the more hateful out there know better – “kind of” excusing the abhorrent lengths some go to in order to communicate their “disappointment”? You don’t really need The Pes Casual to speak to that, do you? Yeah, that was a low for the community. Do please note it is a tiny minority, and it isn’t just hardcore players who can be guilty of such behaviour either. Still, that was grim.

But hey, The PES Casual did say that some of these non-playing players are worth listening to, and he stands by that and will act upon that too. It isn’t bad to have folks looking from the outside in and then offering their take, quite the contrary; just don’t think it could qualify as expertise on the product in question as it stands currently; not regards something like myClub anyway, that much should go without saying. Gameplay? Well, if they are going to say they packed in playing the game months ago then I would challenge the level of their knowledge of the nuances to control, or if they really would be able to offer much in the way of comment regarding player individuality, to pick a couple of examples. If they claim to have attained some grand mastery based on those couple of weeks, then it really is difficult to take them seriously. Sorry. Lurking a forum not long (days) after the games release and self-proclaimed hardcore types claimed the catch-up bug was still present, or that there was no difference in player speed and acceleration; that every player played the exact same way; that they all executed the same. Time to be blunt: that is complete and utter bollocks. Yeah, Player ID will be getting covered at some stage, because it is one of the game’s strengths.

However, those voices, the voices of the disenfranchised still need to be heard, if they are still going to knock around the community, and it would be silly to ask or expect these non-players to force themselves to play the game if they don’t enjoy it. What they probably should do is get a bit more realistic, take accountability for managing their own expectations and…well, there is no real better way to put this, but they really should start showing some self-awareness and know their place within the wider player base, be that the actual one or a potential one. They might have been around in the early days (like myself and others) and helped make the game a success, but it is a football videogame that has always been produced and published by a corporation who are hardly short of a few bob. PES wasn’t some indie game or crowd-funded product that broke through to be a big player in the market. It was well-funded and sold pretty well in the market at the start of its life, back in the 90’s. We, the fans who were there from the start don’t own it, it’s Konami’s stuff, and as touched on earlier, the userbase changes and user expectations change along with the demographics. The very sport itself, society and technological progress play their part in driving these changes in expectations as well. For example, does it really need to be explained why a mode that is in many respects an interactive sticker book exists in the game now? Really? It is pretty funny how a lot of these hardcore players will speculate that the current player base are all kids, who don’t understand PES they like do as they go back with series. Right back to when they were…kids. The PES Casual go back with the series and started playing ISS as a teenager, well his final year as a teenager back in 1994. ISS Pro was released in 1997. The Casual was 21, about to turn 22. The dude with the amazing taste in music was arguably one of the games older players, even back then, and those who try talk down to fans of his age were likely the kids back then. He was never a kid playing the games in the series, but he is now apparently.

“So, CASUAL. You are saying the game, the product, everything about it is, therefore [sniggers] perfect?”

Oh, hell no. Not by a long shot, and what The PES Casual promises to do with the platform afforded to him is to try cover all the issues, bit by bit, along with musing about that which he does like about the game but could be further improved. Dude will even cover the critiques he doesn’t agree with entirely which others might raise in the discussion, but he has a few things already set aside there. It all needs looked at, be it the good or the bad. If everyone says they care, putting aside how they go about articulating that for a second, then that which works, that which needs to remain, requires praise along with that which simply doesn’t and demands addressing. No point in throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Now, The PES Casual ain’t daft. He knows he is being antagonistic in these opening contributions to the front page, deliberately so, with the very handle the kid using proving antagonistic. While it all may read as an attack on others, he is also laying attack upon himself. It is certainly an attack on what he used to be, when considering talk of this series. It is an attack on everybody really, or to be more specific an attempt to change the nature of the dialogue among current fans and hardcore non-players who still want to knock around forums and alike, which maybe is egotistical, but whatever. No harm in someone in taking a shot at it and if you do think that could prove harmful, then you really are a hardcore self-loathing player.

Some comments in response to The PES Casual’s introduction have been rather amusing due to it all being taken a little too seriously, with the accusation being he is making this all about himself or looking to portray himself, as one poster put it, as some “Mr. PES”. Top name that in fairness. If The PES Casual wanted to do that (make it all about him) he would’ve used his real name, or one of the other names more familiar to folks within the community, especially if he is trying to get some attention and achieve personal gain first and foremost. No, The PES Casual is who he will continue to be around here and perhaps elsewhere.

Before signing off, let’s touch on the WENB forums. Yeah, The PES Casual has taken a look and will look to be active whenever possible. He is going to look to engage with even the most dismissive and yes, even the most hateful in there and elsewhere – not with the primary aim of antagonising, but listening and encouraging healthy debate. If you want to make it all about your perceptions of The PES Casual, then fair enough. You likely won’t be hanging around, one way or another. Let’s just see how that goes, but rest assured The PES Casual will be entering with an open mind and hopes others will to and that over time the numbers will swell and the discussions and exchanges of views will be all-embracing and make it a good place to frequent for PES and other discussions.

Play nice, PLAY CASUAL, and remember: My lvl. 46 Simone Zaza conquers all!