FIFA Backstories #1: The Plight of the Tiny Italian Child

You can tell a lot about another human – or your inability to pass the Turing Test – by playing them online at FIFA. The FIFA games are the most addictive way of supporting a corrupt-anti-semitic-surely-an-elaborate-parody-created-by-Terry-Gilliam-organisation ever invented. Even though the makers have removed the ‘Obvious Dive’ (always worked when you were controlling Alan Shearer, for some reason) and ‘Massive, Leg-Shattering Hack’ buttons from the game, they’ve still left in plenty of ways for you to express your personality.

Of course, there is still an element of deduction involved in concocting elaborate origin stories for X-Box Live user ‘lolacaustXXX1000′, the fun of which is slightly removed when people decide to wear a headset and the aura of mystery is removed. That’s right, I play FIFA to construct elaborate psychodramas of my opponents, I figuratively couldn’t give a shit about the actual game, and these articles are definitely not a method of catharsis to cope with being kicked off the park in a 0 – 0 draw with Oxford United.

I can justify this because of the Tiny Italian Children.

Illustration: Marianne MacRae

Illustration: Marianne MacRae

Tiny Italian Children are an excellent example of the psychological warfare that takes place in online gaming. The situation is simple: you start up an online game, you hear the familiarly irritating sound of the headset, and then you realise that the voice belongs to a tiny child. An Italian tiny child. You do not know any Italian (apart from the phrase ‘Paradossalmente, io sono totalmente fluente in Italiano’), and have no idea what they’re saying. But then another voice joins in. An elder male. And another! Female, withered but still sharp. She holds a stick that she used to beat her son with. But that’s not all…another voice sounds. The entire family are involved.

Being a Tiny Italian Child (their voice breaking like a budgie under the wheels of a 4 x 4), they have yet to master even the most basic Catenaccio and you demolish them 2 – 0. It would be more, if it weren’t for the cacophonous outcry that greets your every attack. When they get over the halfway line, it breaks your heart to hear the hope in their voices. It reminds you of that time on the bridge, before she walked away forever. You deliberately put in a few half-hearted slide tackles which the Tiny Italian Child fails to avoid. You’re fairly sure you hear a shirt being wrent in twain as your second goal goes in.

You have quite clearly ruined someone’s Dolmio Day.

The last thing you hear, during the highlights reel, is wailing. The patriarch is undoubtedly sending the Tiny Italian Boy naked into the street for bringing shame on his family. His clothes will be burned, and all will dress in black for forty days and forty nights. Then they will have another child. His name shall be Roberto, and he shall have dextrous thumbs, and faster wingers.

No-one in the house shall mention the name of the Tiny Italian Child again.

It’s so moving that you are forced to play Season mode for a bit.

And that’s the plight of the Tiny Italian Child. You can tell I haven’t made this up because, if I had, I would have said a country beginning with ‘L’ so the acronym would be ‘TLC’.

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