Alejo is the Best Soccer Player Out There

Enough with E3 for a while!

Brazil is not the most patriotic country I know. In fact, Brazilians are almost anti-patriotic. When they watch the people of the USA screaming U – S – A! U – S – A!, they shake their heads and sigh really?. In a roundtable, they will be the first to dish at their own land – but do not make the mistake of criticizing Brazil if you are a foreign, because then the Brazilians will defend it. It’s like that friend you have that is an idiot, but he is your idiot and only you can make fun of him. However, when World Cup starts, everything changes. Suddenly, there are so many flags everywhere and everything is decorated with green and yellow. It’s ridiculous.

I myself hate soccer. It’s a boring sport: every game that takes at least 90 minutes to end in 0 x 0 is a waste of time in my book. Everybody else loves it, though. When I’m asked what my soccer team is and I say I don’t have any, they give me that weird look wondering is he gay?. At my last World Cup in Brazil, I remember that I actually begged my boss to continue to work instead of watching the game at the presentation room. Work is less boring than soccer – and I worked at telephone company! As I write this, the streets are empty. All the stores are closed. Everyone will be watching the game. There are periods of complete silence followed by periods of noise and mayhem that reach crescendo… and then utter silence again.

Same goes for gaming. If there is a videogame championship in here, you can bet that the game won’t be anything like a FPS, a Guitar Hero or a Street Fighter. It will be a soccer game – so yeah, in the few championships there are, a gamer like me is alienated. Most casual gamers in here absolutely love soccer games. Myself, I never truly got the concept of playing a game about a game you can actually play outside. This is like playing scrabble on an iPad and four iPhones/iPod or Darth Vader collecting water at the beach: it simply does not compute.

For those who care (not you, Brazilians), there is an on-going feud between EA and Konami when it comes to soccer games. EA had the Fifa license and all, but back in the 90’s no Brazilian cared about their games. They had the license, but lacked the magic. Konami ruled back then with an iron fist and most Brazilians still remember their favorite soccer game International Superstar Soccer 64 (ISS64) foundly. There was a brief moment of time when a local company called Gradiente got a Nintendo license to produce the Nintendo 64 in South America. Without the need of being imported (and expensive), like all the other console, the N64 was priced more effectively and all of my friends had one – and they all wanted to play was ISS64. Who cares about Mario Kart 64, right? One of my friends tried explaining why ISS64 was such a hot piece of shit. It was the narrator, he said, that was alive with electrifying enthusiasm – he screamed as if he himself had scored the goal – and that made all the difference. According to him.

ISS64 was funny because it had most of the players Рbut gave them different names. Ronaldo, who was first called Ronaldinho, then Ronaldo Fen̫meno and now looks more like Ball-naldo, was called Alejo by the game. It is always sweet to come across fellow gamers in a land with so few of them. You see someone with a Zelda tattoo at the beach and you immediately start talking to the person. In the World Cup of 1998, whenever I heard people screaming ALEEEEEEEEEEJOOOOOuuuuu! I felt, for the first and last time, that the World Cup in Brazil could perhaps be a little bearable.

Today, ISS64 only lives in online forums nurtured by nostalgia. Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer is now Konami’s flagship for soccer games and EA’s Fifa Soccer finally became a more worthy competitors. Brazil just scored a goal against Korea and everyone, every single noise, stormed into my room. I threw my dad, who was screaming at my ear, out and wondered what the hell happened to Alejo.