There’s always a new one coming out. The promise of something different is exciting. If you enjoyed last year’s effort, then perhaps the new one will be even better. If you didn’t, then perhaps they’ve fixed all of the terrible problems it had.

You can’t trust the demo. One match on standard difficulty is never enough, no matter how many times you play it. The promise of a full season or tournament ultimately proves too much to resist. Any niggles or queries are brushed aside – it’s probably just you that can’t get the hang of the shooting, it’s not the game’s fault; and that bug where the goalkeeper flaps every shot into his own net will probably be fixed in the full version.

You can’t trust the reviews. Because whoever gets tasked with covering a football game will never have long enough to play it. Certainly not as long as you’d want or expect your own enjoyment of the game to last. Positive (and ultimately, incorrect) remarks about last season’s travesty are glossed over or ignored, and writers are rotated in order to avoid having to contradict themselves.

You can’t trust yourself. You can’t be too harsh on the professionals. Because we often can’t decide either. What kind of person puts 25+ hours into a game without being able to tell whether that game is good, or if they even enjoyed playing it?

Emmanuel Adebayor: Also rubbish.

Emmanuel Adebayor: Also rubbish.

Me. Because I’m an idiot, who is pretty sure that PES 2011 (yes, I know it’s not the latest one, but with my track record, I consider this a sign of strength) is rubbish, but keeps playing it anyway, despite a desperate lack of fun (a low point was reached when failing to score in 10 successive games, and at 4am, that most ridiculous of self-imposed challenges – “don’t go to bed until you win” – was reluctantly abandoned).

I gave away one of my favourite football games (PES 2008, later retrieved) because I was brainwashed by the demo of a terrible one (PES 2010, sold on eBay) which later sent me scrabbling for a second hand copy of an interim title (PES 2009, disc a bit knackered, festering in cupboard) which I already knew to be rubbish.

I buy old versions of FIFA (they’re not very good). I buy new versions of FIFA (I don’t like them).

I’ve only myself to blame. But it’s also their fault, and they’re all stupid and I hate them.

(p.s. Can someone buy me PES 2014 for Christmas? Thanks.)