I never became part of the xbox/playstation generation of console gamers. The most advanced console we had in our house was the Sega Megadrive (called the Sega Genesis in North America). The two games we had for it were the original Sonic the Hedgehog (a game where you held down the right button and pressed another button occasionally to jump over stuff until the game ended) and a football game by the name of Fifa International Soccer. Sonic was obviously the better game, but the football game held a much greater hold over my sister and me for the very important point that it was two player. But oh boy was this game ever broken.
Let me explain the controls in this game.
Caused the player you were controlling to perform some sort of mock slow motion run where he waved his legs around energetically but moved at strolling pace.
- When in control of the ball: Was probably meant to be the ‘cross’ button, but was in practice the ‘give the other player a throw in’ button. Caused the player you were controlling to turn to one side and kick the ball out of play.
- When the ball is in the air: Causes the player to head the ball directly above his head. Pressing it again makes him head the ball above his head again. Repeated pushing of this button will cause him to play sea-lion with the ball until the opposing player gets bored watching and presses C to push you away.
- When the opponent has the ball: Was probably meant to be the ‘slide tackle’ button. In practice was the ‘lie down on the floor’ button, regardless of whether you were close to the opposing player or not. Even if you are close to them, your player would will simply lie down on the floor in front of them and will only disposes the opposing player if they shuffle into you instead of doing the normal thing and pressing C to kick the ball over your head.
- When in control of the ball: Was probably meant to be the ‘pass’ button, but was in practice the ‘kick the ball 2 metres in front of you and then run towards it’ button. Caused you to instantly lose possession of the ball as your opponent pressed C and kicked the ball away from you.
- When the ball is in the air: Caused the player to stand on the spot and pick his nose, ignoring the ball altogether.
- When the opponent has the ball: The ‘change player’ button. Caused both the player you were controlling and the one you are now controlling to stop in their tracks and watch as your opponent kicks the ball away from you.
- When in control of the ball: Kicks the ball as hard as they can towards the opponents goal. If they are facing backwards, they’ll flick the ball over their head and then kick it towards the opponents goal.
- When the ball is in the air: Do a crazy scissor kick or bicycle kick towards the opponents goal.
- When the opponent has the ball: Charge towards the opposing player as fast as they could and punch them in the face
Basically, the only button you ever had to press was C. Occasionally you might press an arrow button while pressing C to kick the ball in a slightly different direction, often when you’re shooting on goal so you wouldn’t be kicking it straight into the keepers hands (that is, unless you were facing Qatar. In which case, you could kick the ball from the halfway line and it would still roll under his body. Seriously, because of that game, I have never been able to associate the entire nation of Qatar with anything other than really awful goalkeepers). But yeah, me and my sister still played the game, primarily to laugh at. From the mysterious C button, that occasionally caused players to stop running towards the ball and instantly punch another player in the face, or how you could then run away from the referee as he tried to send you off for that, it was a game so inherently buggy and terribad that it was from its awfulness that we derived entertainment.
Eventually though we did get another console. Several years after the xbox 360 came out, my dad went out and bought the original xbox at a knock down price, and promptly got incredibly bored when he realised the generic WWII shooter he got didn’t allow him to do anything except follow the very direct path it told him to. I hadn’t really played it that much myself, but after realising how easy it was to get incredibly cheap old xbox games, I decided to go down to a local second hand game store and pick up a few myself. One of these was Dead or Alive, a game series I was incredibly shocked to discover wasn’t just a beach volleyball game, as the hype surrounding it had led me to believe, but in fact a fighting game series too. So I put it on and played a few rounds of it with my sister. After some trial and error, this is what we realised the various buttons did.
Yellow Button: Punch
Red Button: Kick
Blue Button: Brush the opponent lightly across the face
Green Button: A variation of brushing the opponent lightly across the face
Black Button: Incredibly complex special move that invariably got interrupted before it hit by being punched or kicked by the opponent
White Button: Yet another variation of brushing the opponent lightly across the face
Right Trigger: Incredibly complex kick that invariably got interrupted before it hit by being punched or kicked by the opponent
Left Trigger: Absolutely nothing
Arrow Pad: Caused the character to shuffle about and occasionally jump 1cm into the air
Two Analog Sticks: Absolutely nothing
Eventually we realised the most effective method of fighting each other was to rapidly press the red and blue buttons while holding down the arrow pad in various directions to see what crazy combo moves our characters on screen would pull off. For some reason, none of the other buttons seemed to have combo moves with them. One of the buttons was called ‘hold’ in the instruction manual, but neither of us could figure out how to work it as all it seemed to do was wave a hand in the general direction of the opponent as they kicked them in the face. Every single combo involved the kick and punch buttons, to the point that it made no sense to try the more complicated kick and punch keys because they were too weak compared to the crazy moves the characters pulled off if you stuck to kick and punch.
We had gone from Fifa International Soccer, where you would press one button repeatedly while holding down the arrow key in various directions, to Dead or Alive where you pressed two buttons repeatedly while holding down the arrow key in various directions. Gaming sure had come a long way since those dark days.