Brush off your vuvuzela, get your hands on a Brazuca, and get excited! FIFA16 just rolled in!
So, let’s kick off the week with a look at the latest installment in the franchise that almost single-handedly brought the world game to the world of gaming. With the electronic FIFA experience now in its 23rd year, you would be forgiven for believing that the games have become as stale as John Terry. However, I sat down with FIFA14 Australian National Champion and runner-up at the 2013 Asia Pacific championships Adam “Humpty” Kharman, who asserts that there is still much to love for seasoned fans and new recruits.
Tell me a bit about your involvement with the FIFA video games.
“It all began when I was about eight years old. My older brother Daniel introduced me to the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Months later, we purchased FIFA 2003 on XBOX and spent many afternoons playing against each other after school. He soon became my first victim.
It wasn’t until 2010 that I entered my first competitive FIFA tournament. I surprised myself by making it to the final 16 in Australia and this opened my eyes to the world of competitive FIFA. I began to search for more tournaments, and befriended some of the best Australian players to practice with. As I practiced with higher quality players, my skill level increased dramatically and I began to create a name for myself.
In 2013, I was thrilled to qualify for the Virgin Gaming World Challenge Series in Las Vegas to compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of prize money. I was quite pleased to place in the top 64 in the world, and spending a week in Las Vegas made for an awesome and unforgettable experience.
A few months later, I qualified for the Gamespot Asia Pacific FIFA Ultimate Team tournament in Singapore. Unfortunately I lost in the grand final, just missing out on $10,000 but it was a character building defeat and an amazing chapter in my FIFA journey.
Soon after, I was crowned the FIFA 14 Australian National Champion, walking away with $3000, a gigantic trophy, a kickass novelty cheque, and a big cheesy smile.”
Pictured: Adam Kharman (left) with Tim Cahill at an EA Sports FIFA Event
Given your ability, do your mates still want to play FIFA against you?
“The cool thing is that I never have to wait in line at a friend’s house to play FIFA as everyone usually wants to challenge me. There is pressure, as I know I am in for an ear bashing of banter and abuse if I am to lose a game- and it does happens from time to time.
My friends outside of the gaming community haven’t really given me a nickname, but inside the gaming community everyone calls me Humpty, which is based off my gamertag.
There is the same old joke I hear whenever I lose…. “HumptyDumpty has fallen off his wall.”
From the experience I’ve had playing the FIFA titles, it feels that practical knowledge of the game (i.e. instincts developed through playing in real life) is important. Having played 11-a-side winter soccer every season since the age of 4, these instincts allowed me to read plays, achieve through balls and successfully execute one-twos in-game. Would you agree that real world knowledge of the game is important?
“You’ll find that the majority of the elite FIFA players play football themselves or are die hard fanatics. The game is designed to model real life behaviour, so having a good understanding of the real life game is beneficial to being a skilled FIFA player.”
“However, understanding football in the real world can only take you so far as there are particular game mechanics and patterns which vary in each new FIFA installment that can only be understood from practicing the video game itself. I would also like to cheekily add that I have noticed a positive correlation between Arsenal supporters and FIFA skill.”
No prizes for guessing which English Premier League team Adam supports.
So practice with the FIFA video game is very important. How much time do you put in to practicing?
“I’ve always been a firm believer that practice doesn’t make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect. Essentially, playing for hours and hours every day is not necessarily going to make you a better FIFA player. In order to improve at a fast rate you need to practice against players that are better than you and immerse yourself in a competitive mindset.”
“In 2012, I stumbled across a website (now banned in Australia) which allowed you to play against other users for money. It was playing on this website that I shot forward and developed to the level I am at now as I was battling against elite FIFA players from around the world with lunch money at stake!
Nowadays, the amount I practice varies depending on whether there are upcoming tournaments, but I do attend as many tournaments as I can, whether they are small pub tournaments with 16-32 players or worldwide championships with thousands of participants.”
Pictured: Adam Kharman (right) playing in the semi-final match at the EB Expo 2015 FIFA tournament
I think it would be easy for people to dismiss FIFA as being the same game every year. What are your thoughts on the game- how does it compare to its predecessors?
“To the untrained eye FIFA might be the same every year. With respect to FIFA 16, the biggest talking point has been the addition of women’s teams to the game which I think is fantastic as women’s football in Australia is on the rise and hopefully more females may feel drawn to play FIFA. It would be awesome to perhaps one day see a female FIFA Australian National Champion.
With regards to the gameplay, I think FIFA 16 is more realistic and the artificial intelligence has certainly improved. There seems to be more emphasis on ball control, balance, physique, and choosing the right pass as opposed to pace, which has always been the dominant attribute in previous editions of FIFA.”
Will you be involved in tournaments next year? And what is the best way for new players to get involved in the FIFA community?
“Absolutely! I will attend as many tournaments as I can and I will be aiming to be victorious!!
For those looking to get involved I strongly recommend looking into the AUSFIFA community as they represent the majority of the Australian and New Zealand FIFA scene, as well as the VGL Sydney community (Video Gamers League on Facebook) who run monthly FIFA tournaments with prizes and a very relaxed, friendly vibe. I’ll see you guys there!”
“If I may, a quick shoutout to my brother Daniel for introducing me to FIFA, and to Kieran Murray (aka Muzza255) for taking me under his wing at the very beginning and supporting me in the moments I needed it the most.”
Looking to get involved? Monthly 32-man FIFA tournaments are run by the Video Gamers League (VGL) and held at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel in Sydney. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/videogamersleague