By Alec Meer on September 12th, 2008 at 3:42 pm.
Though we may hide our various lights under an electronic bushel, in the real world an exciting new hobby has proven itself exceedingly popular: foot-to-ball. It’s so beloved of British gentlemen that they will literally kill one other to demonstrate their enthusiasm for it. It’s simply spiffing that modern men are so unafraid to display their passions in public.
Astoundingly, foot-to-ball is not an actively solely engaged in with a physical foot and ball. It has lately also made its way to the personal electronic home computer system, in a form where one’s feet remain entirely uninvolved. I profess I do not entirely understand the logic – why not simply venture outdoors and apply one’s foot to a ball oneself? – but nonetheless I have just now had the curious privelege of playing the demonstration version of the new Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum 90 foot-to-ball simulation program. Read on to discover my experiences of this bad-tempered gentlemen’s preferred pastime.
With a name such as that, I had presumed this to be some thrilling variant of foot-to-ball played with giants. Thus imagine my surprise when in fact its foot-to-ballers appeared as tiny men, all a-buzz across a vast expanse of grassland like summer insects, and each of them coloured almost entirely blue. I had little idea that Smurfs played foot-to-ball, but now live in hope that there might one day be a Moomins tennis sim.
My surprise was compounded by the discovery that an activity surely very simple – one places one’s foot against the ball, and applies pressure – was in fact exceedingly complicated. Imagine, requiring the memorisation of over a dozen keyboard buttons, just to send a ball from one end of a field to another! And it was the strangest thing – not one of those buttons would allow my foot-to-ballers to simply pick up the ball and stride manfully to the opposing net. It seems so obvious a way to avoid all that running and grunting and desperate flailing, yet inexplicably they don’t seem to have thought of doing it.
I could not begin to guess at the rules of play, and the electronic game seemed to speak in tongues, or at least in a language I could not understand and that it was unwilling to explain to me. I was most confused by the realisation that I was not playing as a single foot-to-baller, but rather eleven of them at once. What is this trickery? Some hive-mind entity, one conciousness shared between many? Whenever I would accustom to the player in my control, suddenly I would find myself in another man’s shoes, the other forgotten. Was this some psychological test, or some profound statement upon the nature of man? I had not a clue.
But lo, a sign. One of my brave players, for some reason hiding near a net structure at one end of the lawn, was clad in a shirt of an entirely different colour to those worn by his azure fellows. This must be the secret – he must be the most important one, the one I should control. And indeed, as I walked him further and further out into the lawn, my control stayed with him.
I was well pleased. Finally, I had mastered foot-to-ball. The other team celebrated my success by removing the ball from the field, and placing it securely in the large net at my end, no doubt for safe-keeping until Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum 91. How very kind of them.