Let us first note that our beloved Kick Off 2 has a quite complicated procedure to figure out whether to slide or not to slide (ie. trap) at or after button press based around a concept of possession. John Wilson discovered and investigated this and described his findings in detail here:
Some things to take away from his investigation is that a number of things all influence whether you will trap or slide:
I) The distance between you and the opponent.
II) The last action on the ball (shot, pass, dribble touch, throw in, chip).
III) New actions on the ball (ie. a reception by the opponent after a shot).
IV) Whether you centered the joystick for a split-second (causing you to sometimes lose possession).
Let us also note that players with a bit of practice of Kick Off 2 learn to keenly sense whether they will trap or slide when they press the button (or keep it pressed), even without being aware of or thinking about the possession concept. Some examples we can all recognize:
1) The opponent closes in on you while you dribble. You would slide if you pressed the button. (This creates a more challenging attacker-defender dynamics.)
2) You touch the ball in your own box, breaking the opponent attack. You want to now trap the ball and change direction fowards. However, you are afraid to trap because you sense that there is an opponent waiting in the path of your dribble which would cause you to slide and give a penalty. (This creates a risk-reward situation.)
3) Your opponent makes a flat shotpass. If you press the button now, during the shot path, you will not slide (last action was a shot), but if you keep the button pressed, you will make a slide the moment the opponent receives the ball with a new player. (This creates a challenge for you to try to intercept with an immediate button press, but to give up your trapping attempt before the opponent receives the ball with another player.)
4) Due to wishing to enter "trap mode" (keeping the button pressed in defense without risking a slide any longer), you may try to "get the slide out of the way" in midfield (since you can only make one slide pr. button press). This creates another risk-reward decision to make.
Let us also note here once and for all that pressing the button does not ONLY decide whether you slide or trap. Button press ALSO influences player switching in a very big way. Without button press, Kick Off 2 has a rather complicated player switching mechanism. When the button is pressed, however, you will always (with a few exceptions) change control to the player nearest to the ball.
The slide mechanics are thus interlinked with the player switching mechanics. Changing the slide mechanics (causing players to press button to trap in new situations where it would normally be impossible without a slide) thus has a ripple effect for the player switching gameplay, causing it to be more simplified and less challenging. Overall, the whole decision making scheme is disrupted in a very complex way.
Now, at some point someone got the idea to "fix" the trap-slide mechanism due to something conceived by some to be a problem: That you sometimes slide when it "should be obvious" that you want to trap the ball (because you are closer to the ball than the opponent).
Two "objective" arguments were put forward for "fixing":
- That the slides in question were a bug (being unintended by the creator in some sense)
- That the slides in question were unintended by the player (ie. unexpected) and thus somehow should be fixed.
Let us note in passing that Dino has come forward in 2015 to explain that the concept of opponent proximity to your own player influencing the slide mechanism was indeed INTENDED and not a bug. This piece of information is also consistent with the code snippet given in John Wilson's analysis from 2008. Personally, I do not even think it is right to use "it is a bug" as an argument for removing stuff, but it is worth pointing out that the bug claim used for years by trapfix proponents was just plain false.
Here, however, my main point concerns the "unexpected" part.
Let us first discuss briefly the two trapfixes given as option in KO2CV in 2008 and 2012.
"Old trapfix" from 2008
Two changes were made (Camber may please correct me if I am imprecise):
- Don't slide if you are closer to the ball than the opponent.
- Don't slide if you have been holding the fire button for over 5 frames.
This so-called fix had two huge effects on the gameplay:
First, it made stop-and-go dribbling much easier since you did not risk sliding even though the defender closed in, and you also no longer risked slides when "running into" players in your forward path. So challenge 1) and 2) above were removed, causing a rather huge simplification of the gameplay (also taking away defender options, making him feel more powerless).
Secondly, the fix made it much easier to "enter trapmode" while defending, without cost or risk. Simply press the button during an opponent shot and keep it pressed.
Let us quote one participant from the 2011 WC where the "old trapfix" was the default setting:
Most opponents of mine kept the button down for the entire time they were defending, and simply tried to position their players hoping for a trap. This is not the Kick Off 2 I grew up with and love. Steve might as well deactivate the fire button in defense and turn the 10 defending players into moving flytraps.
For this reason, the "new trapfix" was made.
"New trapfix" from 2012
Another logic was added to the old trapfix:
- If you have pressed the button for more than one second, you will slide (as long as other normal conditions are met for a slide).
This was aimed at the problem of people being in trapmode all the time while in defense. However, this causes instead another huge effect on gameplay:
Where you would usually slide, you don't. But you then suddenly slide after 1 second.
This occurs frequently in regular play, but may also happen even at Kick Off -- you press button shortly before kick off, then play starts, and you slide a bit after kick off while chasing the ball.
Btw, the "new trapfix" still has the "simplified attacking" issue that the "old trapfix" also had.
Let us return to the question of "unexpected events". Let me list some personal experiences:
- When playing the original Kick Off 2, I can play several sessions without encountering a single unexpected slide. For sure, I may sometimes get lazy and greedy and attempt a trap in defense or elsewhere even though I know there is a risk of a slide because of "running into an opponent". I may also slide when trying to trap a lose ball, but this is again a matter of laziness and greed. I should have been aware not to press button, and I give myself a little mental punishment for the laziness. Overall, nothing unexpected happens (in terms of gameplay mechanics -- my opponent will of course surprise me many times).
- However, when playing with the "old" trapfix, tons of unexpected events happens. The opponent dribbler traps in a spot where it is usually IMPOSSIBLE to trap due to my proximity. When I attack, the opponent enters trapmode during my shot pass when I know that he should not have been able to enter the trap mode (due to the specific events since he lost the ball). Quite often, a kind of "trap" sucking battle occurs where both players are in trapmode (while there SHOULD have been a slide). The gameplay mechanics are changed, the decision making tree is disrupeted, and I have to adjust my patterns of expectations that have been ingrained in me over many years (since I was 14).
- When spectating a game on video or live, I INSTANTLY senses when an "impossible" trap is made during dribbling. It shocks my "kick off 2 system" in the same way that we would be surprised in real life if things suddenly fell up rather than down.
- When playing with the "new" trapfix, I typically experience 5-10 "sudden slides" due to the 1-second logic, ON TOP of the unexpected lack of the normal slides.
So what are the overall consequences of a trapfix?
- I encounter 10-20 "impossible" events during a game.
- The gameplay is simplified.
And it is the same for everybody else who are not used to the trapfix (which takes many sessions to get used to).
So I am led to wonder:
IF the problem in the original Kick Off 2 was "unexpected slides" (who are not really unexpected, but just simply undesired in the particular situation for the one about to press the button (but desired for his opponent)),
THEN how can it EVER be considered a fix to introduce TONS MORE UNEXPECTED GAMEPLAY EVENTS FOR EVERYBODY ELSE (ie. the gigantic majority of people who are not familiar with the fix)?
The logical answer is that it simply cannot possibly be considered a fix. ANY "fix" of the trapping mechanics will introduce a lot more problems than it is supposed to solve. Why? Because the particular trapping mechanics of Kick Off 2 are the ones our minds and bodies got used to 25 years ago in 1990 and ever since.
Does this mean that the trapping mechanics in Kick Off 2 are "the best possible"? No, there can be many good ways to implement trapping mechanics. However, there is only ONE way which has a very, very special property: That it was the one that tens and hundreds of thousands of boys and men got used to and fell in love with since 1990.