Your happiest Pro Evo memories

Chris Davies

Chief PESsimist
Staff
14 May 2003
Tranmere Rovers
I've just posted this over on Eurogamer as part of their current competition (where it's been downvoted out of existence, presumably because it's too mushy to stomach), but thought it'd make sense for me to post it here too - especially if it encourages anyone else to tell their story of their first Pro Evo experience.


For those without Twitter:
I've been a big football fan since I was a kid. In my teens I managed to save enough money for a PS1, then a PS2. I used to buy ISS (International Superstar Soccer) each year, which eventually became PES (Pro Evolution Soccer), said to be the most realistic soccer game you could buy - but best played with friends.

None of my friends at the time were into football - in-fact, the only other person I knew who was, was my dad. My relationship with my dad was tough, growing up. There were days when he'd work for 12 hours, and when he came home from work, he was so shattered that it wasn't long before he had to go to bed.

He was overworked, and understandably grumpy - but looking back, as a kid, I genuinely never once saw him happy. My memories of him from being younger are of him getting home from work exhausted, sitting behind a newspaper and watching football on TV, with me trying to join in, but not having a lot to say.

So when I bought the PlayStations, I tried to convince him (in his mid-50s) to play these footie games with me - and my mum did the same, in a desperate attempt to help us form a bond.

At first he relented, saying "games are for kids". But after I somehow convinced him to play a few games of Pro Evo, eventually he'd start playing a few matches with me before bed, and I could see he was starting to enjoy it, even though he'd insist he was only playing for my benefit.

I loved the game. Every year, when the next title was due, I'd phone every game shop in the local area, and travel to computer fairs that were miles away from where I lived, trying to get hold of the latest version first. I was obsessed - and every year, my dad would play the game with me, and he'd say the exact same thing - "I don't like this as much as the last one".

When I asked him why, he'd never answer. But I knew why - he was getting older, his reaction times were getting slower, and I was getting better at the game. I started to let him win, but he always knew when I was, and would tell me not to be a "soft lad".

Eventually, he just stopped wanting to play the game.
The one real connection I had to him had gone.

Fast forward a few years. When I discovered (i.e. when we could afford) the internet, I read that the Japanese version of PES was called WE (Winning Eleven). This was the most exciting thing I'd ever read, for two reasons...

One, Winning Eleven was available months before Pro Evo. Two, sometimes there would be "enhanced" versions released after the original (in the same year), with even better gameplay.

It was now my life's mission to find, import and play this mythical football game.

I didn't buy PES that year - I was saving up my money. The next available Winning Eleven was WE6. I pre-ordered the game. It arrived. I was beyond excited - but I had to go to school, do chores and all that. When I did get around to playing it, I realised that the majority of the game was - of course - in Japanese...

Well, it took me until the early hours of the morning, sat in my bedroom, to figure out what the buttons did (thank you, internet translation guides), but I managed it. I crept downstairs to put the PS2 into the big family TV. The game started. The intro video played, this time on the big screen, set to "We Will Rock You".


It sent shivers down my spine, and still does. The photos working backwards from the full stadium, the smoking flares, to the kids playing football in the street, the grass at the park. The choreography of it from start to finish. (My favourite intro of all-time.)

But it was the early hours, around 3am, and I knew I couldn't really play it. I needed to go to bed. Except, I heard some creaking around upstairs, and it was my dad. Who I realised was coming downstairs.

My instant thought was, "I've woken him up, he's got work in a couple of hours, he's going to kill me".

He opened the living room door, saw me sat next to the big TV and said "you got it working then?"

"Yeah, want a few games before you have to go to work?"

"Errr... Alright, I can't sleep. But then I'm going back to bed."

He sat in his "man of the house" chair by the TV, I passed him the controller, and set up a match. He was more animated that morning than I'd known him be when playing a game - he was literally kicking out with his leg every time he pressed a button for his player to shoot.

We laughed in astonishment as we played. Just the memory of it is still bizarre to me, and I still can't think about it without getting emotional. This man who was (and is) pretty "closed" by nature, who I never really saw happy, or laughing... Here he was, like a kid in a playground.

We played until he had to leave for work. Match after match, trying new things, scoring goals in new ways. (The gameplay was more "free" than ever, and quicker to respond to your inputs - meaning you had a little more time to think about your actions - and suddenly, because of that, he could play.)

When he stood up to get ready to go to work, he said something - and I'm guessing, written down, to anyone with enough time to read all of this (sorry), that it'll look like the most meaningless, throwaway comment. But it truly wasn't; he just didn't say things like this.

He said: "This is brilliant, isn't it."

Seeing my dad transform like that is something that will always be one of the happiest memories of my life.

To this day, we play football games together (currently we've got a career mode with Everton on the go). He even plays online, despite being in his 70s now and not exactly eSports-material - but it's all because of that one moment, in the wee hours, when he decided to give gaming one more go.

What are your favourite PES memories?
 

geeeeee

International
2 May 2010
London
Tottenham
Really good read Chris. I would be lying if i said there wasnt a tear in my eye while reading. It is really good that you are both able to play together despite your dad getting older.

I suppose it reminds me a little of me and my brother still playing PES together. He is about 10 years older than me and we have always played games together right from Space Invaders on the Atari 2600, to Football Director, Microsoft Soccer, Matchday II on the Commodore 64, ISS on the PS1, and PES on the PS2.

He got ISS first and one day he came round and said “let’s have a go on this new game I bought”. We loved it and from that moment we have progressed from ISS all the way through to PES2008 PS2 version. Being honest those early days were a bit of a blur to me because I had things going on in my life with growing up etc...

Me and my brother have always had our own competitions and wrote everything down, goalscorers and stuff. I think the best times we had was on PES5 when we both had our own Master League on the go and you could use your team in Cup Games via the memory card. We never really got on with the newer games on PS2 because we always felt it was 1 step forward and 2 steps back from Konami (surprise surprise). I tried getting him into the PS3 versions so we can play online but it never really happened. He couldnt get on with the newer formation screen and has just found the gameplay not as good.

During this time i got into editing PES5 which kept it alive for about 10 years but now I have moved on to PES2008 PS2 version and thankfully he really enjoys it too. We have amazing games together in big cup competitions that we make up using all the teams in the game. One competition we had (actually on PES5) out of about 200 games played i beat him head to head by one or two games. The comp we are playing now on PES2008 i am one in front.

I really wish there was a way to play PS2 games online still. I would be willing to pay if it is still possible.

Anyway that is my story, not as well written and emotional as Chris’ but that is some of it.
 

Hawke

♫ Celery , Celery ♫
Staff
19 January 2005
UK
Chelsea
Nice read Chris, nothing wrong with a bit of emotion mate..as for me my happiest memories are when I first joined evo-web, I joined the site to learn how to mod the game (PES4 I think it was). I was blown away by the fact I could edit the game... burn a new copy & play it on my PS1, I can remember having to boot the original disk with the lid open & a pen refill stuck in the little lid hole to make the PS1 think the lid was was closed & then at the PlayStation logo having to change disks sharpish or it wouldn't boot. I remember trying to make faces & they all turned out green like the Hulk & then working out it was the colour palette & my mate Niall coming rushing over to play the game with new faces & kits..we were like kids at Christmas playing for hours & my then girlfriend who's now my wife making us brews & laughing at us...funny thing is she's still making me brews now ..& laughing at me getting excited about working out how to mod some aspect of PES2019. I remember buying my first decent PC just so I could use Juce's kitserver ..I'm using his Sider now so I guess I've gone full circle..just gotten older/balder & blinder. Going back to your post & your old man kicking the imaginary ball..I still do that now :) the top of my desk actually lifts off because I've banged it that many times with my knee ! ..Well it's fourteen years later & I'm still loving playing & modding PES , I'll probably still be here in another fourteen years modding some football game or another..it's what I do...Love it !!
 

Ameppe

International
23 December 2007
SSC Napoli
My best memories are all related to the first few Winning Elevens, having to download fernando patch to even understand the menus, registering here on evo web because of that. The first impressions coming from people playing WE9 that were surprisingly negative the first few days but then later people playing more understood that game was something truly special.

It's pratically the reverse of what happens today with Pes. Now it's all hype and joy because of the new Pes and then all doom and gloom when we realize how limited the games are and there is no longevity both to modes and gameplay too that feels limited compared to what these consoles could achieve.

A special Pes memory is all about Pes 3. I didn't have Ps2 yet and still downloaded Pes 1 for Ps1, played with it for two years. When i finally bought Ps2 and Pes 3 i was blown away by how realistic it was, how fluid the animations were. I remember watching Champions League matches after playing Pes 3 and i could swear every action i saw in real games i could replicate ingame with Pes 3. It was truly fantastic for me.

The most recent good memory about Pes was when they announced Online Master League coming to Pes 2011. Master League was always my favourite mode and imagining it going online made me all excited for Pes 2011. I began imagining how awesome it could have been, then the reality hit hard. It was good as a mode, much better than Myclub is now, but still too frustrating to play because of lag, something they still haven't solved in recent Pes.

P.s. Hey Fernando, if you are still here on evo web, thanks for all the times you helped me enjoy the best football games with your quick translations.
 
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hitmanuk

International
23 October 2002
uk
One of the Early PES games think it was one or 2 on the PS1 - i needed a draw to get promoted, i was one nil down then in the last couple of minutes the ball dropped to Ximenes (old ML league default player) who is a bag of shit , about 16 yards out of the net and he smashed it into the top corner :) ...good times
 

gomito#10

World Cup Winner
9 May 2003
DC, USA
I've just posted this over on Eurogamer as part of their current competition (where it's been downvoted out of existence, presumably because it's too mushy to stomach), but thought it'd make sense for me to post it here too - especially if it encourages anyone else to tell their story of their first Pro Evo experience.


For those without Twitter:
I've been a big football fan since I was a kid. In my teens I managed to save enough money for a PS1, then a PS2. I used to buy ISS (International Superstar Soccer) each year, which eventually became PES (Pro Evolution Soccer), said to be the most realistic soccer game you could buy - but best played with friends.

None of my friends at the time were into football - in-fact, the only other person I knew who was, was my dad. My relationship with my dad was tough, growing up. There were days when he'd work for 12 hours, and when he came home from work, he was so shattered that it wasn't long before he had to go to bed.

He was overworked, and understandably grumpy - but looking back, as a kid, I genuinely never once saw him happy. My memories of him from being younger are of him getting home from work exhausted, sitting behind a newspaper and watching football on TV, with me trying to join in, but not having a lot to say.

So when I bought the PlayStations, I tried to convince him (in his mid-50s) to play these footie games with me - and my mum did the same, in a desperate attempt to help us form a bond.

At first he relented, saying "games are for kids". But after I somehow convinced him to play a few games of Pro Evo, eventually he'd start playing a few matches with me before bed, and I could see he was starting to enjoy it, even though he'd insist he was only playing for my benefit.

I loved the game. Every year, when the next title was due, I'd phone every game shop in the local area, and travel to computer fairs that were miles away from where I lived, trying to get hold of the latest version first. I was obsessed - and every year, my dad would play the game with me, and he'd say the exact same thing - "I don't like this as much as the last one".

When I asked him why, he'd never answer. But I knew why - he was getting older, his reaction times were getting slower, and I was getting better at the game. I started to let him win, but he always knew when I was, and would tell me not to be a "soft lad".

Eventually, he just stopped wanting to play the game.
The one real connection I had to him had gone.

Fast forward a few years. When I discovered (i.e. when we could afford) the internet, I read that the Japanese version of PES was called WE (Winning Eleven). This was the most exciting thing I'd ever read, for two reasons...

One, Winning Eleven was available months before Pro Evo. Two, sometimes there would be "enhanced" versions released after the original (in the same year), with even better gameplay.

It was now my life's mission to find, import and play this mythical football game.

I didn't buy PES that year - I was saving up my money. The next available Winning Eleven was WE6. I pre-ordered the game. It arrived. I was beyond excited - but I had to go to school, do chores and all that. When I did get around to playing it, I realised that the majority of the game was - of course - in Japanese...

Well, it took me until the early hours of the morning, sat in my bedroom, to figure out what the buttons did (thank you, internet translation guides), but I managed it. I crept downstairs to put the PS2 into the big family TV. The game started. The intro video played, this time on the big screen, set to "We Will Rock You".


It sent shivers down my spine, and still does. The photos working backwards from the full stadium, the smoking flares, to the kids playing football in the street, the grass at the park. The choreography of it from start to finish. (My favourite intro of all-time.)

But it was the early hours, around 3am, and I knew I couldn't really play it. I needed to go to bed. Except, I heard some creaking around upstairs, and it was my dad. Who I realised was coming downstairs.

My instant thought was, "I've woken him up, he's got work in a couple of hours, he's going to kill me".

He opened the living room door, saw me sat next to the big TV and said "you got it working then?"

"Yeah, want a few games before you have to go to work?"

"Errr... Alright, I can't sleep. But then I'm going back to bed."

He sat in his "man of the house" chair by the TV, I passed him the controller, and set up a match. He was more animated that morning than I'd known him be when playing a game - he was literally kicking out with his leg every time he pressed a button for his player to shoot.

We laughed in astonishment as we played. Just the memory of it is still bizarre to me, and I still can't think about it without getting emotional. This man who was (and is) pretty "closed" by nature, who I never really saw happy, or laughing... Here he was, like a kid in a playground.

We played until he had to leave for work. Match after match, trying new things, scoring goals in new ways. (The gameplay was more "free" than ever, and quicker to respond to your inputs - meaning you had a little more time to think about your actions - and suddenly, because of that, he could play.)

When he stood up to get ready to go to work, he said something - and I'm guessing, written down, to anyone with enough time to read all of this (sorry), that it'll look like the most meaningless, throwaway comment. But it truly wasn't; he just didn't say things like this.

He said: "This is brilliant, isn't it."

Seeing my dad transform like that is something that will always be one of the happiest memories of my life.

To this day, we play football games together (currently we've got a career mode with Everton on the go). He even plays online, despite being in his 70s now and not exactly eSports-material - but it's all because of that one moment, in the wee hours, when he decided to give gaming one more go.

What are your favourite PES memories?
lovely post chris. I remeber playing your dad in our online evo leagues. It was fun and he was a proper gentlemen. Now i so enjoy playing unfortutnatley fifa with my boys each saturday morning, we have a season going with united and its a blast. My five year old is better then my 8 year old! LOL. so much fun
 

geeeeee

International
2 May 2010
London
Tottenham
I just found this quote from me from 2013, in fact i mentioned this player Bsorak a few times over the last few years on evoweb.

“When i used to play ML i didn't know about evo web otherwise i would have been posting all the time.

My favourite player during my ML in PES 5 was a striker called Bsorak. I think he was Slovakian and he was really really good. He was with us throughout the rest of his career as club captain. Holding the ball up well, his finishing was superb. Scoring those volley's when you let the ball drop over your shoulder and smashing it on the run. When his career was coming to an end he would make appearances as a sub but scoring vital goals in the last 10 mins or so.

Also there was a Colombian goalkeeper, but can't remember his name. He used to take direct free kicks. He was great at it but if the ball hit the wall there would be a mad scramble to get back in goal before the other team counter attacks and scores.

Memories.... :)

During that ML i bought PES6 but I never played it because I was enjoying my ML so much. I ended up giving PES6 away to my best mate’s son.

I long for those ML stories again and I think that is why I am so dissapoonted with the newer games because those stories have never materialised again for me.
 
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