Monday, 18 February 2008


There are several reasons why I haven't posted in a week or so. My girlfriend's been visiting. I've had an essay to do. I went bowling (and lost, miserably). All pale in comparison to my discovery of Football Manager.

Reams have been written on the addictive qualities of said game (and its Champ Man predecessors before the SI split). But I always just assumed it was because of the thrill of running your particular team, trying to outdo the real-life manager whose actions you continuously bemoan. And I was never that into football, so I gave it a miss.

Having awoken over the last year or so to the joys of the beautiful game (due in no small part to the recent upswing in Scotland's international fortunes) I figured it was about time I gave it a try. Not wanting to take on the mantle of Hibs manager without knowing what I was doing, I figured I'd get some experience with Peterhead, a lowly side in the Scottish second division, chosen entirely at random.

4 hours later, I pretty much had to be dragged away. We hadn't won a single match, out of about 10. We'd scored approximately 3 goals, and conceded what seemed like hundreds. And it's a testament to good game design that I really cared. And I wanted to improve. I was desperately swapping formations around, begging the board for more transfer money, haranguing my miserable strikers. It's almost invariably necessary in games to include a reasonable possibility of the player failing at tasks (otherwise there's no real success). And it's a real design challenge to prevent that being frustrating. Or at least to make it frustrating in the right way, so the player is left raring to try something else, to adapt and improve. Football Manager does it perfectly.

The next day, of course, I started again with Aston Villa. Challenge is all very well, but it's nice to have some chance.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I pale in comparison to Football Manager do I? The cheek of it! :p