World Cup fans, click quick or lose out

Now that the 2006 FIFA World Cup has finally kicked off, the entire country is swept up in a frenzy. That craze naturally continues into the gaming world, which has a handful of new online soccer games developed specifically for the event.
Game developer Sonic Ent held an event yesterday for its new online game, “Extreme Soccer,” which give gamers 24 hours of free game time. The company plans to hold similar events on June 19 and 23, when the Korean national team is playing. True to its name, Extreme Soccer does not take place on a regular field, but in grungier spaces, such as parks and junkyards.
Adidas, the sporting goods maker, is offering an online game called “Impossible Team,” available during the 2006 World Cup. The game is similar to the famed soccer simulation game “Football Manager,” in that the game player doesn’t actually become a soccer player but “manages” and trains a team of players.
The game is played by selecting non-player characters (NPCs) that are controlled by the computer. The players cannot be controlled individually, but as a team, and one can engage in matches against other teams. Players can also dress their team in uniforms and other apparel items at an Adidas shop (oddly, no Nike goods are available).
Adidas’ World Cup competition is being held on both local and global levels, with prizes including plane tickets, accommodation and game tickets to England’s Chelsea vs. Liverpool premier league game for the global champion; domestic champions win soccer shoes signed by the Korean player Kim Nam-il.
For a more “professional” soccer game, try the PC-based FIFA Online, available only in Korea and developed by Neowiz and Electronic Arts. The game is similar to the console version of FIFA 2006, except it has the massive multiplayer features that Koreans love. The game has scooted up into the top-five rankings on local game portals over the past couple weeks, mustering more than 100,000 concurrent players within 20 days of its launch.
On a more fun note, Actoz Soft released yesterday a shareware soccer game that uses flash animation. A character called Erf stands in the middle of the screen bouncing a soccer ball on his knee. Players have to click on arrows to let Erf keep his ball bouncing. Sitting in the background is a crowd in the stands wearing red T-shirts and waving Korean banners.

by Wohn Dong-hee


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