Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum 90

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.


  1. cullnean says:


  2. Ian says:

    This made me chuckle. :D

  3. Seniath says:

    Thank you for making this last hour of the working week a little bit more cheery :D.

    Edit: Oh, new edit ui. Shiny. And an actual timer, as opposed to the shortest half hour ever, or whatever it used to be :P.

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:


  5. antonymous says:

    Anyone noticed that just like this one here the “pro” reviewers are mostly unable to score against games designed for teenagers?

  6. Mike says:

    Somehow I don’t think Alec would ever commit to writing a proper review of a football game.

  7. suchchoices says:

    that was delightful.

    the exploratory phase of gaming is often by far the most interesting

  8. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    I’m still not sure which is worse; playing a football game or playing a football management game. I mean you can play football outdoors, but I’m guessing not many people can manage a team. But then football management seems so utterly boring.

  9. Naurgul says:

    A word to the wise: Don’t do drugs. :p

    By the way, in the days of old, when I was young and played FIFA ’99, I used to try to master the art of taking your goalkeeper and making him score. It was terribly easy in that game once you found the trick to it, too! Maybe this whole piece is an allusion to that? :p

  10. EyeMessiah says:

    This is my new desktop background and its effing lovely:

    link to animepaper.net

    Alec: All I want to know about FIFA: is the hacking any good?

  11. Acosta says:

    I thought the British genome wasn’t able to create individuals with indifference/dislike for foot to ball. You must me an unique specimen Alec.

  12. Ian says:

    @ The Poisoned Sponge: I loves me some Football Manager while simultaneously being able to accept and, to a degree, agree with all the arguments about sports management games being dull as dishwater. Does that make any sense at all? :-P

    As for the “you could go outside and kick a ball around” thing, well that’s true and it’s just as much fun. But then I don’t want the Daily Mail coming to the conclusion that video games cause sport. ;)

    @ Naurgul: On ISS Deluxe back in the day I used to run down the pitch with the goalie and lob their keeper with a backheel. :D

    Even better was the game when I fluffed it. Their keeper caught the ball and booted it down the park. My goalie stopped auto-running back to his goal line, turned and caught the ball and stood in the centre circle with it until I kicked it back again. :D

  13. Nimic says:

    The Poisoned Sponge, real men find time for both FM08 and TF2 ;)

  14. Dinger says:

    Actually, what I noticed was that the reviewer here was more amatuer than pro.

    Anyone noticed that just like this one here the “pro” reviewers are mostly unable to score against games designed for teenagers?

  15. Colthor says:

    Not unique! In fact, I find his descriptions of this peculiar-sounding game fascinating. And helpful; they mean I never have to play it myself.

  16. terry says:

    It is conventional for a gentleman to leave a perceived moltenness rating of the fibre of a game in fahrenheit.

    Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this article and await your forthcoming gazette.

  17. Matt says:

    Anyone noticed that just like this one here the “pro” reviewers are mostly unable to score against games designed for teenagers?

    Teenagers of course famed for their utter lack of skill at even the most rudimentary of games, thanks to their renowned lack of free time in which to enjoy such electronic delights as displayed here.

  18. Dreaded Walrus says:



  19. antonymous says:

    I mean a really funny review would at least have the guy get beaten up by football hooligans or something.. like the guy who surrendered to the bandits in the Clear Sky review..

  20. KingMob says:

    I felt this review was missing alt text.
    I know, I am one of those people who looks at my presents on my birthday and says “So what else did you get me?”

  21. LEEDER KRENON says:

    when i go see villa,
    my view is blocked by a concrete pillar

  22. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ LEEDER KRENON: Stop writing such balls.

  23. OIdahad says:

    Isn’t the joke getting old? I remember a similar article maybe half a year ago on FIFA 08.

  24. bildo says:

    Seriously, Meer, you have to be stoned to have a writing style such as your’s.

  25. Yhancik says:

    Moomins Tennis, oh yes !

    Remedy should put Alan Wake on hold and work on that.

  26. LionsPhil says:

    I approve of this article immensely.