The FIFA series was one of the first video games I played, way back in 1998 when I got my first proper computer built specifically for gaming, and the experience was a transformative one for a teenager that had always been too fat for real-world football and who already had a solid interest in the possibilities of the virtual world.
FIFA, more specifically Road to World Cup 98, showed me that I could re-create the past and mold the present to my liking in a video game, and that Romania could become World Champion while beating both France and Brazil during the tournament.
The only thing I needed to do was hone my skills, learn the moves, understand how the Artificial Intelligence played and then eliminate mistakes from my own game in order to triumph on the higher difficulty settings.
After 2002, I abandoned the FIFA series for a long time, lured by the world of role-playing and strategy, and I have only returned in force with FIFA 12, the game that arguably brought more innovation to the series than the previous five installments.
Now, EA Sports has launched FIFA 13 and the new game is both a more faithful representation of the real-world game of football than its predecessors and a more frustrating game to play and win with an underdog team.