Le interviste di SwosIT: Rock and Roll

Al via un nuovo ciclo di interviste targate SwosIT!
Questa settimana abbiamo il piacere di intervistare l'organizzatore dei SensibleDays 2016 nonché vincitore della medaglia di Bronzo nel torneo su Xbox 360: benvenuto Rock and Roll.


Another cycle of SwosIT-branded interviews is about to begin!
This week, we have the pleasure to interview the SensibleDays 2016 organizer and also Xbox 360 tournament Bronze-Medal winner: welcome Rock and Roll.  



1. To break the ice, please tell us something about you:

 I’m Colin, 42 years old. I was born in Sunderland (GB) and emigrated when I was 12.
I live just under Rotterdam in the Netherlands. I’m married and I have 7 year old twin daughters. I teach Mathematics at a secondary school, I’m a co-author of a series of Maths books for secondary children and I try and explain Maths on my YouTube channel.
I support Sunderland (of course), which is harder than all my jobs combined :-)


2. How and when did you know about Swos?

 I remember somebody lending me Sensible Soccer on the Amiga 500 I think summer 92 or 93…it was a long evening. After finally getting England into the European Championships, and then the Faroe Islands, I was hooked. I think I made about 4 save disks with 64 edited teams on them, each disk was a different league structure. My favourite was one where I actually created a 1024 player file filled with famous people / cartoon characters and actually drafted them all into teams. The 64 teams were all fictional teams from all over the globe, based on actual places. South Pole Sensi anyone? I bought SWOS 96/97 on the PC in my regular game hunts at game stores but I never really got into it bar a few careers in the Faroe Islands.


3. Since when have you been playing Swos online?

 I joined ss.de in June 2009, after stumbling across the site whilst browsing through old games. I couldn’t believe people were still playing the game. I am still eternally grateful to a German guy called BigKingXXL who helped me play online and gave me my first few matches. From then on I joined the Euroleague, met even more people, joined the German League Cup, met even more people and so on and so on.


 4. How has your playing style changed in the course of time, especially after discovering you could play Swos online?

 Yes, I guess it has. Everyone who played Sensi back in the pre-internet years must have thought they were just about the best player in the world. I could beat the computer at Classic Sensi by 10 goals + almost all the time. I only had a few friends who wanted to play, but they didn’t play as much as little old me. I’d never played Amiga SWOS and I really only knew Classic goals. So I lost…a lot. The stuff people did online was insane! When I first started my main goal was via diagonal shots and my defenders were non-existent. I don’t have the time or the back to play online much anymore, but I think I know most of the non-header goals now. I try to mix it up, but I still love those diagonal shots :-) . I love the way they go in! I prefer playing SWOS on the grass compared to complex header battles just because it’s more my style.


5. Do you think you could still improve or have you reached your maximum potential?

 I know I’m still improving. My results from e.g. Lubin in 2015 are enough proof for me. If I really took the time to study the game, develop a tactic etc I know I could really challenge to get into e.g. the Sensible Days Quarter-Finals. Though I sincerely doubt I will ever be able to mount a challenge for the Amiga or PC medals. I just try to learn from others, and above all, enjoy playing. Even though XBLA was a minor event, if I wasn’t still improving, I wouldn’t have even got near the medals. 

6. Do you admire a Swosser's gamestyle in particular? What would you like to steal from him if you could?

 To be honest I don’t really admire gamestyles, I admire what people can do and to be honest it’s difficult to mention everyone here. In no particular order: I always call djowGer the SWOS-professor seeing as he knows everything about formations and his opponents. It was fantastic watching him get his well-deserved win in Billund. Marin “the Machine” Parushev has a clinical style which can beat everyone and beat them well. It’s been fantastic sitting in his corner since 2012 at Sensi Days, and I’ve learned a lot from how he plays. Bobbiebobras will always remain the King of online SWOS in my opinion. If you watch him play, you know why he has won so much. Playaveli just won his 10th title in Almelo and it was a pleasure to play him in the XBLA Semis. Creative, clinical, he forces his opponents to play his game and he has a defence which I called catenaccio squared…how do you score against him?!! For sheer creativity Ali has to be mentioned. He did stuff in 2012 and 2013 which was amazing. Blazej_Bdg has taken the game to not only the next level, but to 10 levels beyond that. Winning 3 out of 4 titles in Almelo was insane. He does things which shouldn’t be possible, you haven’t got a clue what he is going to do next. Above all, he is the calmest and one of the nicest guys I ever met. Last but not least I have to mention Coolio Jack. He doesn’t play SWOS, he makes SWOS art. What would I like to steal? Talent I guess :-) . I’d like to be able to learn enough from these guys to be able to compete at their level as an equal. But in Blazej’s case I’d probably have to steal his alien DNA…..


7. Since both things are at times strictly connected, my question is: what is your finest memory related to Swos and what is the best match you have ever played in your Swosser’s life?

Finest memory is probably of all the people I’ve met online. I have really fond memory of playing fun tournaments as part of the 4 Heroes; Porcupine1, Sociopatic/Kanu, Zarathustra and myself. We never had a cross word between us. I finally met Zara a few years ago in Amsterdam, and I still hope one day the four of us will meet somewhere in Europe. I also thoroughly enjoyed my time playing in the German League Cup. I got through to the final where I met Schulle. OK, I lost (a recurring theme for me in finals) but it was part of a long history I have with the Cup, my friendships with the Germans and all the games I’ve played with Schulle and all the stuff we co-organized like the ISSF. And yes, my run to the Bronze in XBLA in Almelo, and the comeback versus bobbiebobras in the Bronze match is way, way up there. Oh, and my Gold in the Classic tournament in Hannover. That whole weekend was one major highlight playing a small group of guys whose company and swos I thoroughly enjoy. The best match is tough. I’ve had a lot of fantastic games through the years, especially against German players. I’ll think I’ll pick one against AndYpsilon. An offline game in the aforementioned Hannover tournament in 2013 against one of my favourite opponents and people in the community. An insane game which finished 2-2 where I had 11 shots compared to his 2. I think I was 1-0 down, equalized just before full time, AndY scored the 2-1 in injury time and I got lucky scoring the 2-2 in Fergy-time. We have the video somewhere :-).


8. You are an accomplished player, you must have experienced bitter disappointment yourself over the course of your Swos "career"...

 There are so many disappointments it’s hard to name one :-) . In general it has to be something to do with losing umpteen online finals without winning one.  I always performed well in the German League Cup but could never get the gold. I reached an ISSF Cup Final (don’t ask how though :-) ) but lost to Eleven. Losing two Cucumber Cup Finals in Billund wasn’t a highlight of my career too (though the fact that they were both won by St. Vitus more than makes up for that). In Lubin I amazed myself by finishing 3rd in my PC Group (and I really can’t play PC) but then deservedly lost against Deyna84 in the first ko-round. I’d have loved to go at least a round further there.


9. What prompts you to keep on playing Swos and what - in your opinion - makes the game still attractive after more than 20 years from its first release? 

 I was asked this quite a few times in interviews with newspapers before Sensible Days 2016. Compare the game to FIFA (boo! hiss!). FIFA is all scripted, you can lie on the couch and play the game. It’s slowpaced but looks great. SWOS is fast and has everything you need in a football game. You can clear the ball off your own line with a desperate header, and five seconds later slot the ball past the opponent’s goalie. People all have different playing styles. What you do, what you press, is what you get. Look at all the stuff that has been created for the game. You can play national leagues online, the Amiga Super League. We can finally play PC SWOS online. There’s an actual online career mode, with up to date match reports, transfer market and so on and so on. People keep developing new graphics and sounds. Soon there’ll be a massive update of all teams to celebrate the 20th birthday of SWOS 96/97. And there’s so much more. People still create new moves and goals. Look at what Blazej_Bdg has done for the gameplay. He was still in nappies when the game was released! Most important of all…the people involved in keeping SWOS alive. Think of the online communities at swosit.com and ss.de. Look at the Lubinska Liga or all the offline stuff that happens in Denmark. Just a bunch of amazing people who will make sure this game still has a following 20 years from now.


10.What would you do (if you could) to improve Swos as a game and how would you improve and enrich the online Swos communities with regards to tournaments, competitions and initiatives?

 I’d build in a cheatcode so I couldn’t lose :-) . But seriously, as a game there’s not much I’d change. Really only a few things which aren’t gameplay related. I’d love to be able to change the original league structures so we could mirror real life football. I’m busy updating teams in e.g. El Salvador for the 16/17 update and the league structure now is totally different than it was back then. I’d love to be able to add more teams to e.g. the edited custom teams so it’d be easy to create a massive update of e.g. all national teams. As everyone, I’d love to be able to import shirts and be able to have more “heads” than the three we currently have. One thing I would like to add is an option to remove bookings and injuries. Some red cards are even more corrupt than some FIFA officials…

 11. Let's talk a bit about the offline scene now: Sensible Days 2016 have just been wrapped up. Having attended many events like this, and having been this year's organizer yourself, how would you describe an offline tournament experience and what is needed in your opinion to create the right "Swos atmosphere"?

 For people who’ve never been to an offline event…go! The game is way better offline than online. It’s great to meet people you may have only spoken to in online SWOS-code; e.g. HF, GL and OOO. I really see e.g. Sensible Days as a holiday. Even though it’s pretty hectic, I really had time to unwind. Catch up with old friends, and make new ones. If you think about it, it’s pretty weird: mostly middle-aged men playing a 20 year old computer game. But the friendships I’ve made will last for life. All you need for such a tournament is the right equipment and the people will come. The players create the atmosphere and to be honest, we miss each other in the periods between these events.


12. Please tell us at least a couple of funny episodes happened during the past Weekend. :-)

 Hmm, I guess I should start off by saying that was happens in Almelo…stays in Almelo :-), but that’s a shallow answer. First thing I want to mention isn’t funny in the strictest sense of the word but still. Can you name an event, where in the midst of all this competition, two guys can sit down, and enjoy watching a fifteen minute commentary of a chess match? I did this with Blazej, and that is one of my favourite memories of this year’s event. But I guess that’s not what people want to hear… The Classic Final between Blazej and Ali had a funny moment. After a typical long the-ball-is-allergic-to-the-grass header battle between them the crowd booed when the ball touched the ground. The room where the final X-Box games were played was filled with the smell of (amongst others) second hand German sausages. Someone at the location we played,felt we should impose a three beer limit on the players at the event. People asleep in the rain outside, the new most goals conceded records..what more do you want? :-)


13. In fairness, do you think Italy could be an ideal candidate to host Sensibledays in the near future?

 Tough one. Yes and no to be honest. I’d love to go to Italy, probably my favourite country to visit. I love the area around Lago di Garda. I loved visiting e.g. Verona and eating Spaghetti Carbonara just outside the arena where Andrea Bocelli was about to sing. I’d love to finally meet people like Retri with who I go way way back (remember the J-League we tried to set up mate?). I’m sure a lot of people would love to come and to be honest it’s somewhere that should hold Sensible Days. There’s a very strong player base in Italy. Italy has its place in Sensible Days history, just think back to Lucaa83’s and Manuel’s victories, and lemonheadiv’s run to Silver in Almelo. There are many Italians in the community who have more than enough knowledge and skills to organize an event as large as Sensible Days. Then again, an Italian edition would have its drawbacks. The tournament would probably have to be held in Northern Italy due to the distance people would have to travel. Could the tournament be organized with in all-in fee for food and lodgings under say 125 euros? Is there enough equipment in Italy to hold Sensible Days, seeing as e.g. the Danes would probably fly instead of drive there? All these things and more could pose a challenge. Then again, where there’s a will there’s a way. As I found out in Almelo, people really bend over backwards to help the organizers. So I guess the answer is yes!


14. This pleasant interview has now come to an end, so please give a suggestion to the new prospects who are about to debut in our online Swos competitions.

First and foremost, play whoever you can, when you can. The only way to get better is to play better players. Don’t be afraid of losing, and losing heavily. We’ve all been there! Remember how people score, where they shoot from, what their actions were before shooting. Try to copy them, and learn how to defend and prevent their shots. Mix different styles up, that’s the only way you’ll learn how to score. And don’t forget the most important thing, to enjoy the game. Have fun, good luck, may your goals be plentiful and your defence impenetrable! 

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