To the (re) discovery of… Pro Evolution Soccer 6!

To the (re) discovery of… Pro Evolution Soccer 6!

There are titles that, for one reason or another, manage to remain etched in the history of gamers. These are not always masterpieces, or excellence from a technical or narrative point of view: sometimes it is pure simplicity that makes a work something unique and, in its own way, totally unrepeatable. In this column we have talked about many titles of this type and, after having told you the story of that pearl of What Remains of Edith Finch, today we completely change genre.

We move into the vast and incredible world of sports video games, and more specifically we will talk about a football game particularly appreciated by the most nostalgic… And not only that. Well yes: talking about such a title in this column is something very special, but for an immortal game like Pro Evolution Soccer 6 an exception is quite tolerable. So let's start with a jump back in time of 16 years, returning to the unforgettable summer of 2006…

Pro Evolution Soccer 6: just a matter of memories?

9 July 2006: a a date that many, many of us remember with incomparable affection and emotion. We are talking about the day of the historic 2006 World Cup final, that Italy-France that brought the Azzurri back to the top of the world after 24 years. The game of the now famous head of Zidane in Materazzi, of the penalty of Grosso, of Cannavaro that raises the Cup: in all probability, in short, this is for us the most important sporting event of recent decades.| ); }
The release of the game was met with incredible enthusiasm, quickly setting a new sales record for the series. In a few months Konami will exceed 5 million units sold worldwide, a very important figure for those years. But the impact of the game was above all on a cultural level with an echo that, as we shall see, can still be admired today.

But let's talk first about the game itself, what made PES 6 such a special title? Among the different modes present, it is impossible not to mention the unforgettable Master League, known in Italy as the Master League. It is very likely that the names of Castolo, Minanda and Ximelez mean nothing to many of the younger players, evoking in all other memories with a highly nostalgic flavor.

In the Master League we could indeed start with what good Antonio Cassano would define as a team of “runaways”: fictitious players and initially without identity, to whom however we will end up becoming incredibly attached. Growing our team championship after championship, one game at a time, we found ourselves experiencing a unique adventure of its kind. And all with a truly disarming simplicity.

We could really spend a lot of words on this last point. In fact, the personalization of PES 6 had practically no limits: from players to teams up to championships and many other features, yes, you could fiddle with almost everything in complete freedom. Without forgetting how in all this the game itself invited us not to take it (and not to take ourselves) too seriously: if you wanted, you could even organize a match between ostriches and penguins. Yes, really.

We are talking about a whole series of elements capable of snatching at least a smile from those who have experienced this game, but it is not just and exclusively about memories. What is left of PES 6 goes beyond simple memory: on balance, perhaps no football game has ever managed to hit players in this way. A success probably due in part to that great journey of the 2006 World Cup, but which led Konami to write a very important page in the history of the entire videogame medium. Even and especially in the years to come.

The legacy of Pro Evolution Soccer 6

Back in those days, one of the discriminating factors that led many to choose FIFA instead of PES was actually a very simple element: realism, the result of both a game engine in some ways more advanced and a huge amount of official licenses. From this point of view Konami was behind and not a little, but this did not matter to many fans. Playing with London FC and not Chelsea, or seeing the Argentine Boca-River derby become Patagonia-Pampas did not limit the fun. Far from it.

Reviewing the game today, you can see a whole series of imperfections and even typing errors that ... All they do is make you smile. An example? Take a look below, this is one of the first screens to appear when starting the game.

The legacy of Pro Evolution Soccer 6 is something that, for these for dozens more of reasons, still manages to leave something in the hearts of the players. Few works have managed to condition an entire generation so much, so much so that fans are encouraged to continue to have fun over and over again with that spectacular game. And not only that.

Yes, because the title can still boast a lively and very active community, which every year publishes dozens of patches and mods aimed at updating squads, leagues and entire game modes. There are so many and for all tastes, from the craziest to some designed solely and exclusively to make PES 6 an even more immortal experience. Without forgetting that, through unofficial dedicated servers, it is even possible to challenge online players from all over the world.

What does all this mean? In the opinion of those who write to you only one thing: Pro Evolution Soccer 6 is something that goes beyond the simple soccer video game, and these updates born spontaneously by small or large groups of players are nothing but huge demonstrations of affection. People have loved, love and will continue to love this game and its fantastic legacy.

While it is true that few, very few football games have had such an impact, it must still be said that we do not know where it will lead us. the future. The current situation is certainly not the rosiest, with the separation between FIFA and Electronic Arts (practically the end of an era) and Konami currently working to create a gaming experience worthy of the name. With eFootball 2023 the Japanese company has made some progress, but the glories of the past seem far from being achieved.

PES 6 is perhaps too high a point to aim for , but that would be just what this genre needs right now. Who knows that projects such as UFL fail to bring a breath of fresh air, or that FIFA and eFootball prove capable of revolutionizing the standards we are all too accustomed to by now. Only time will tell but in the meantime there is only one thing we invite you to do: turn on your PC or your old console and brush up, once again, what is still today one of the most beautiful football games ever. . So, are you ready to take the field?

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