If you had told me at the start of the year that I would spend more time in 2012 playing a football game not made by EA Canada than I did in the grip of its imperious FIFA series, then I guess I would have told you there was more chance of Robin Van Persie signing for Manchester United. But hey, strange things do happen.
Weirdly though, this unexpected interloper wasn't PES 2013, although Konami's latest is a fantastic football game. It was New Star Soccer. By breaking football down into short bursts of its most exciting and rewarding elements, like long-range shots and Hollywood passes, and tying that into a shallow but addictive management sim, New Star Soccer completely took over my free time. Through my long hours playing it, I often thought that Konami and EA Sports could learn a thing or two from its success and that of games like it.
Well, it looks like EA has done. The new Skill Games mode in FIFA 13 is exactly the sort of bite-size football challenge that makes smartphone treasures like Flick Kick Football so compulsive - except that it's built on one of the best football gameplay engines around, with all the pomp and connectivity you'd expect from a modern sports game.