The computer game FIFA 2000 is enjoying great popularity, and not only among the young. It is a game with almost unlimited possibilities and it can get players very excited, as well as leading to great disappointment. Sounds just like the real game? Read on ...

It was quite a while ago now, but the memory of the day is still fresh in my mind. My seven year-old son asked: "Daddy, when are you going to get me FIFA 2000? All the others have got one and I'm still waiting. It's not fair."

What exactly is FIFA 2000?

I racked my brains. Is it a new tournament, a new development programme, new computer software for the office, a new organigram? I had no idea, so I had to confess and ask my son. He looked at me in disbelief, as if I had asked him to go to work for me that day. He gave the kind of look that says: "Where have you been all the time? Have you just landed from Mars or somewhere?" Then he told me: "FIFA 2000 is the best video game of them all. It's real fun."

You will have guessed that video and computer games, game boys, play stations and all the rest were not to be found among my hobbies until that day when I gave in to my son's pressure and finally bought a copy of FIFA 2000.

It was joyously received and my son proceeded to explain the wonders of the game to me. Outwardly I remained unmoved, but I could feel my interest building up inside, which began to reach unexpected proportions. My wife was forced to ask "Who did you buy the game for? Yourself or the child?"I had no valid answer, so I kept quiet, but there was no need for one anyway, my wife had seen the truth long before I did. A number of times since then I have sat down to a cold meal, since I was glued in front of the screen, engrossed in FIFA 2000. In fact I can sit for hours and I get terrific satisfaction when I have outplayed a whole bunch of defenders and hammered the ball into the goal yet again.

I have never before been anywhere near so fascinated by a computer game. It offers a football fan everything that he could wish for. To say that it can make adults become kids again is so obviously true - in this case my wife will confirm it any day.

Starting up FIFA 2000 I have practically total control. I can pick my own team - a club side, a national team, even my own world XI. I can choose whether I wish to play in the evening, in rain, snow or heat; I can have whichever stadium I want, with a full house spurring us on. I can choose the kind of referee even - strict or lax - and whether a game will last for two or 45 minutes. Injured players can be taken off and subs brought on, and I can transfer players who are not living up to my expectations to other teams. If I wish I can enter my team for a national competition, or the World Cup or make up a tournament of my own. I can make the team as defensive as I wish with a three or five-man block, or I can have them attacking all the time and using non-stop pressing tactics. I can be a player, coach and manager as well

So, my defenders are bringing off great tackles, my stars are dribbling wonderfully, my strikers are deadly in front of goal and my goalkeeper calmly deals with any problems that come his way. A good game. But if things are not going so well we can practise more: free kicks, attacking variations, penalties, corners - but even after all this extra work I still lose against my son. In the background my wife smiles quietly, but a frown can cross her face when some of the words I come out with are not the kind that should be used in the presence of children. But if I win then I am transported back to the world of childhood delight myself.

An emotional experience - just like the real thing.