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Fifa? Get lost. I'm a PES 2008 man

Once upon a time we were all Sensible Soccer people. More recently, footballing gamers existed astride a schism that Martin Luther would think twice about (although I imagine he was more of an MMORPG man): EA's Fifa vs Konami's ISS Pro Evolution Soccer.

Konami this week announced the Autumn 2007 release of PES 2008, the latest Pro Evolution and an upgrade that promises much - not least because it is the first PlayStation 3 Pro Evo.

Back in the good old days the distinction was clear. Fifa had all the correct player names, the spectacular goals and the murderous hack button. But Pro Evo (or Goalstorm as I once knew it) felt like a proper game of football.

Pro Evo had some irritating glitches (the entire Dutch team had the name 'Oranges', for instance) and it was tough to score, but the gameplay simply blew Fifa out of the water.

And as someone who has been known to kick a bit of leather around a field on a regular basis, I couldn't abide Fifa. It was all fancy tricks and long shots, with not nearly enough attention paid to shirt-pulling and Big Duncs at the far stick. (But then I'm from Yorkshire, and we thought George Best was a show off).

These days Fifa and Pro Evo are both pretty polished products, they play beautifully and each is a must for any serious sport-loving gamer. (Those of us who spent our youths playing Italia 90 and European Club Soccer can't help but feel short changed.)

I do pine for the days when the Fifa/Pro Evo division mattered. Drunken debates about the relative merits of video games are the stuff of adolescence. But this may be simply because I'm grumpy: online gaming is here - and getting battered by 11-year-olds at a game I once mastered gets very boring, very quickly.

Can't wait for Pro Evo 2008.

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