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Cereballers is a free 2D football parody with a spark of real genius

The offside rule is the least of your problems

A 2D football pitch with bodybuilders and a very angry ghost
Image credit: tomsmizzle

I often regret that I didn't get into football as a kid (note for people across the pond: football is what we call soccer in these here accursed, eternally post-imperial isles). The trouble was, all my friends liked football and I have an abiding hatred of popular things, a hatred that has obviously served me well during my later career as an online news journalist. I played hockey instead, which is the superior sport in that you get a big nasty stick, but also relatively niche because you need more equipment.

Still, I've enjoyed rediscovering football in videogames, and especially videogames that don't treat football with much respect. You may have played or at least heard of Behold The Kickmen - now, here's free downloadable offering Cereballers to stick the boot in.

Crafted by Domino Club member tomsmizzle, whose Mighty Works include a game about getting psychic damage from Fanta, Cereballers is a terrific comedy not least because it doesn't overextend the joke. You can finish in a few minutes. As such, I don't want to spoil too much, but the premise is that you control your whole team as one and the match organisers keep changing the rules. I played through in bed last night and started laughing in a way that had my flatmate popping his head around the door in concern. I do wish he'd stop doing that. The game doesn't have any audio: I'd be happy to send the developer an MP3 of my diseased chucklings, but probably you can supply your own.

(I'm going to spoil the joke a bit more in the next paragraph, so you might want to check the game out before reading on.)

While Cereballers is a lovely eccentric piece in itself, I wouldn't say no to a bigger, posher version of it that leans into the multiple-control-schemes gag. Perhaps it could feature multiplayer. Imagine a PvP riff on Gun Game in which every time you get a new weapon you also get a new set of controls, or even a switch of genre. You've been sliding into cover like Marcus Fenix but oops, now you're tanky Leon Kennedy from OG Resident Evil 2. Another player quickscopes you and argh, now they're playing a top-down shooter... with a Fallouty action points system. Creating accessibility features for it would be a nightmare, I guess.

If Cereballers yanks your crank, I recommend checking out Domino Club in general. They're a digital arts collective who specialise in "small tools, web tools, low-tech tools, ditherpunk, low-poly, sustainability, narrative-heavy experiences, digital spaces, dark matter, web 1.0, DIY, piracy, remix, being gay & doing crimes, goofing off, zines, skeletons, glitches, little guys, hole".

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