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Appalachian State Men’s Soccer shares opinions on video games and professional E-Sports

Madison Callstrom-

Juan Hernandez, App State Men’s Soccer, has a lot of experience playing soccer as well as video games. He has been playing video games for about eight years since he was about 10 years old. FIFA 18, Fédération Internationale de Football Association 2018: a soccer-based video game, is his favorite video game of all time but his current favorites are Fortnite and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, other massively-multiplayer online video games. He prefers to play casually with friends. When he plays FIFA 18, he thinks about how real soccer players would play by using some of the same attacking formations that his own team has used.

“I think that when I play the game I usually try to play as close to possible as how I would manage my teams and how I would make my players play on the real soccer team,” said Hernandez.

Harlan Hunnicutt, App State Men’s Soccer: position ‘wideback’, is currently working toward his major in Exercise Science but admits soccer is the most important part of his life. He likes to “stick to athletics”. He plays video games like FIFA, Madden, NBA, along with some Call of Duty (CoD), and Grand Theft Auto (GTA). Of course, the soccer video games are his favorite because he is a real-life soccer player. While he says that FIFA rules are the same as real-life soccer, he finds that the computer simulated players can be frustrating. The video game mechanics do not always make goals as easy for him as they are outside of the video game.

“So let’s say I took a pre-kick on the top of the box to score and I aim one way and I hit B but it ends up going the wrong way, it’ll go wherever toward the goal and it’s frustrating,” said Hunnicutt.

He likes to play CoD because he can play competitively with or against his friends much like soccer. Despite recent controversy on whether virtual sports and non-virtual sports can be placed loosely into the same category, he has no problems considering E-Sports, professional video game sports, to be in the sport category like soccer since E-Sports professionals seem to enjoy the game in much the same way.

Jack Butterfield, App State Men’s Soccer: position ‘goalie’, enjoys games such as FIFA and Fortnite mostly but he also enjoys NBA and CoD. He feels more critical when playing FIFA because the mistakes can make him angrier than when he plays real-life soccer. He enjoys the competitiveness and teamwork that both require.

“I just really like soccer, the competitiveness and going through the ups and downs with my teammates. It’s just really fun, it’s just what I do,” said Butterfield.

Unlike physical soccer, FIFA has no specific positions and all of the players on the field are controlled by the video game player. Butterfield said he uses more attack than defence in FIFA along with more strategic moves whereas actually being on the soccer field is an entirely different experience. In real-life soccer there is more at stake and less time to think when he’s playing the physical game. While E-Sports have the same motions, he wouldn’t put games like FIFA into the same category as physical soccer. Playing on App State’s team requires much more hard work whereas FIFA is a casual way for him to relax. Watching them is also a different experience for Butterfield. He watches Twitch, live streaming service for video game players, FIFA streams for the one person playing but he watches soccer games on television for the entire team.

Overall, these men seem to agree that multiplayer, arena-based video games such as FIFA follow the same rules as real-life soccer by using teamwork and competition in a similar way but require different amounts of dedication and offer very different senses of achievement.

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