World (Cup) In Motion: Looking Back At 2002 FIFA WORLD CUP - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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World (Cup) In Motion: Looking Back At 2002 FIFA WORLD CUP

Chris Morley stays up really late for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Those of you who've followed us all the way from World Cup Carnival are forgiven for maybe feeling a little bleary-eyed. Just as bleary-eyed that is as those who stayed up for the incredibly early (at least for European viewers) kick offs at the 2002 World Cup across South Korea & Japan.

All those late nights/early rises might have given you time for a few games on 2002 FIFA World Cup, EA Sports' second officially licensed FIFA game released for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, and serving as a European launch title for Nintendo's Gamecube (long before a certain famous plumber got in a bit of football training with Super Mario Strikers).

But what the actual first World Cup on Asian soil lacked in power-ups, it made up for in novelty as some European schools & workplaces opened later in the day or allowed students & employees to come in early & watch matches before getting down to the day job or studies - far from your average start to the 9 to 5 daily grind!

This was also the last time the defending champions would qualify automatically, France getting off to the worst possible start against Senegal in the opening game & going on to bow out at the group stage after a draw against Uruguay was followed by a loss to Denmark.

Perhaps the real story was co-hosts South Korea's surprise run all the way to the semi-finals having started their group campaign with an unexpected win over Poland, followed up with a creditable draw against the United States and another victory over Portugal, seeing them finish top of their group. The last 16 put them up against Italy, who were beaten after extra time, before a 5-3 win on penalties over Spain set up a semi-final with Germany (, who put to bed any dreams the Taegeuk Warriors might have had of bringing football home.

As KCCUK notes of their unlikely run...
“The event also served as an occasion to reveal another aspect of South Koreans to people all over the world: soccer fans in red T shirts enthusiastically supporting their national team. Tens of thousands of fans fervently cheering on their team in the dead of night created quite a sight. During the South Korean team’s match against Germany, a total of 6.5 million people filled the streets nationwide to cheer on their national team. “
And it seemed this display of fandom was winning them friends, with Florence Lowe Lee of the Korea Times positing that...
“The world will remember the images of patriotic and organized gatherings of millions of Red Devils which replaced the past memories of militant and angry protesters.”
And it was the visual images of the official video game release that had many a reviewer positively purring with delight over 2002 FIFA World Cup. The virtual experience of being in a stadium & watching players as they celebrate goals, which in this case you've made them score, was a high point in the review from Dark Zero.
“The crowd is one of the best in any soccer game. They will scream with joy when a goal is scored, boo to a player who fouled someone or at the referee for making a bad call. They hold up messages and flags and wear their team colours. They throw confetti and rolls of toilet paper onto the field. The stadiums have been made with extreme care for detail.

Sometimes there are magnificent light shows before the game. There are huge mascots filled with air. The shadowing is very good and it looks like the shadow a person would cast if he/she were to be in a stadium. There are real stadiums to choose from and are very detailed which makes them actually look like the stadium.

The celebrations are something to remember. They give you the feeling of satisfaction. The camera zooms in and there is confetti shooting into the air, the orchestra kicks in, and the whole team vividly celebrates as the opponent is in frustration and sorrow.”
Featuring all 32 teams that qualified , along with 9 other national teams that did not qualify, 2002 FIFA World Cup incorportaed player-likeness and licensed kits. Nintendo World Report's reviewer for the Gamecube version of the tournament's official game praised the work done in combining the game engines of FIFA Football 2002 & 2003.
“One major enhancement Electronic Arts has made in 2002 FIFA World Cup is the graphics. This game is hands down the sexiest looking soccer title I’ve ever seen. The stadiums, players, intros, and automatic instant replays are just a visual treat. “
Estimated to have sold 3.5 million copies by tournament's end, it's fair to say that 2002 FIFA World Cup was the best received official tournament release to date. Not everyone was impressed though, and it was down to the aforementioned player likeness that EA Sports found themselves with a lawsuit.
Despite having already reached an agreement with FIFPro, the body that represents all FIFA players, Bayern Munich and German international goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was not happy his likeness was used and successfully sued Electronic Arts for their inclusion of him in the game without his prior consent. As a result, EA was banned from selling copies of the game in Germany and was forced to financially compensate Kahn.

A pre-Germany 2006 surprise awaits us next time as we look back at Red Card, a surreal celebration of the footballing dark arts!

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