Lucky Rabbit's Foot: 4chan's Impressive Interpretation of Association Football

Before I start this next article proper, I’d like to make it clear that the content in this article is very off-color. While as a journalist, I will try to be as unbiased and professional as I can, the subject matter at hand here is likely to come as a shock once you experience it for yourself.

That out of the way, let’s talk about 4chan.

4chan is an American-based Imageboard that was created by Something Awful member Christopher Poole. Originally a site derived from the Japanese “Futaba Channel” or 2ch, this site is one of the largest, most prolific anonymous forums ever created. Since its inception in 2003 as a site originally made for the sharing of anime images, it’s grown into a beautiful maelstrom of all the best and worst things about the Internet.

If I had to compare Reddit and 4chan through an analogy, Reddit is like having coffee with K-Cups, while 4chan is just having an entire bowl of coffee beans and eating them like a bowl of nuts.

There is a very special thing about 4chan as a subculture, whether it be the fact that almost everyone who uses it (save the moderators and janitors) is anonymous to the fact that there is very little impermissible content on many of the boards, leading to a beautiful anarchy that has spawned many derivitives such as 8chan, 420chan, and far far more.

While yes, 4chan has come under fire for numerous reasons, it would take a whole other article to go into them.

When anonymous users all get together to make something, it typically results in the kind of amazing collaborate efforts that make monkeys writing Shakespeare a child’s feat. Things like rap battles between Paladins and Liches, RPGs like Engine Hearts (a game that lets you play as little robots, a-la WALL-E) and Dungeons: The Dragoning 40,000 7th Edition (An absolutely insane mishmash of the finest aspects of Tabletop RPGS), and even a surprisingly well-written dating sim about disabled girls.

In my opinion, however, their greatest achievement was a little project known as the 4chan Cup.

The 4chan Cup, or 4CC, for short, is a year-round virtual sporting event based in Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series of games. Based around a two-tierd tournament structure (two Winners’ Tourneys called the Elites, which play in Summer and Winter, with the two Losers of Spring and Autumn being called the Babbies), teams representing 60 of the major boards on 4chan complete in eight groups of four (sometimes 5, if it’s a Mega Babby Cup), it acts as many other football tourneys. The difference being that instead of players like Mezzi, Pele, and Zidane, you have people like Doomrider, Lightwave, and Derpy Hooves.

What makes this tournament so intriguing is how involved this event actually is. By using PES’s incredible customizability, Blender modeling, and general tinkering, they’ve turned the game of football into something worthy of spectacle. Matches aren’t between groups like Arsenal FC and Manchester United; It’s Traditional Games vs 3D, Fitness vs LGBT, MLP vs Yuri.

The whole event showcases just how great 4chan can be, as a community, as all the players for every team are named after characters, memes, and in-jokes of each board. Take /x/ (Supernatural) for example. You have team members like X-Tan, Slenderman, Cthulhu Mythos, and SCP Foundation, each of them using standardized stats and figures, playing an ongoing game that lasts through the seasons.

Each match lasts 20 minutes on average, with 10 minutes to a half and all the typical rules of football; three substitutions, two time-outs, and the standard card system. Managers set up their game plans for the AI prior to a match, which they can later amend with time-outs, or after they’ve conceded a goal, have a player red-carded, or have a field injury. While this may all sound complicated, the Cup not only hosts a Twitter (@the4chancup), but they also have an informative wiki (implyingrigged.info) for you to learn more about the cup and keep track of what’s going on. The games are hosted live via Twitch, which is used for both managers and spectators alike to watch the action as it happens, allowing for managers to make off-the-cuff changes when they need to. The main commentator and commissioner goes by the name DrBorisG, and is often accompanied by another member of the 4chan Cup Committee or the manager of a team not currently playing. As such, each match will sound a little different, adding variety to the color commentary.

I’d first heard of this event through word of mouth, and when I first watched /mlp/ play against /3/ (3D), I had a blast listening to the commentators banter, especially as one of them came absolutely unglued before my very ears.  What never ceased to amuse me is that one of the players names was explicitly derived from a certain four letter word which makes female denizens of Tumblr caterwaul like starving cats, and was almost always the one who drilled in consistent goals for /mlp/. After that match, I quickly took to YouTube to see just what else was on offer, and the production values for future Cups practically blew me away. Flashy intros, anthems, goal horns, fields, and Match kits aplenty for each team, animations and modifications to give the impression of a legitimate sporting event all make this game one of the most elaborate collaborations I’ve ever seen out of this imageboard in a long time.

If you want advice on how to get started, I highly suggest checking the Twitter and wiki that were mentioned previously. These sites will be invaluable to help you learn what’s going on in the current cup and who’s on what team. Then, once you’ve got an idea of what teams you want to root for, stay tuned on Twitch and get ready to cheer at your computer screen while all your favorites take the pitch. Alternatively, if you missed the game, a quick search on YouTube will likely warrant the exact match you might have missed, as fans will be quick to snatch the VODs and re-upload them to YouTube for archival purposes.

Just be sure you’re listening in with headphones, as by nature of it being 4chan, off-color humor (intentional or otherwise) will be blaring through your speakers, and a number of teams (/d/ being one of the largest offenders) are based around material that is most definitely not safe for work.

And now, I wait with bated breath, for the Round of 16 starts on the 14th of August. Hopefully, I should see you there for all the insanity. And if you can’t, well, there’s always YouTube.