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Football Manager has stolen my life

Football Manager has stolen my life

  05:33:00 pm, by Damon   , 791 words  
Viewed 1639 times since 06/08/15
Categories: Games

To commemorate the fact that I have my first ever trophy on Football Manager 2014 after 7 months of playing Football Manager 2014,  8 or 9 seasons playing the game and trying to learn the rules of football, and after 200 or more hours of playing the game, I decided it was time to make a post about Football Manager. And, I haven't written on the blog in some time, so that seemed like a good idea.

Anyway, I suppose the question to answer is "why do I play Football Manager"? I'm an American, Americans don't appreciate soccer, and why, of all the games I could play, did I pick up Football Manager?

Honestly, I got it on a punt. I had no idea what the rules of association football were, and I knew nothing about the sport, aside from the fact that there were two famous English teams I'd heard of over the years called Manchester United and Chelsea. But, I decided for the hell of it to give it a try after watching someone play it on YouTube.

The game is unlike any other game. It's not like Madden, the FIFA series, or any other typical sports game where you take the players and you directly play as them to influence the game. This game is played from the perspective of the manager. You handle the recruiting, training, transfers, scouting, and more of various players, handle press conferences, and you set up the formations, go to your match, and you watch the players play the game autonomously. How successful the team is depends on how good of a manager you are, and how well you can prepare and develop your team.

I know, this game sounds like it could be dull, and to most people it probably is. Honestly, 98% of the game interface is glorified spreadsheets like this, with a 2D or 3D game interface for the matches themselves, based on your own preferences (I personally use a 2D top-down view for normal gameplay, and I like to use a 3D view for goal replays. It's a game for a niche market who prefer management simulations and the micromanagement that comes with it.

The part I really love about the game, however, is the story the game tells by not having a story to tell. It's odd to hear, I reckon, but stay with me.

I started my Football Manager 2014 save as 25 year old American Damon McKnight, born on 20 September 1987 (You have to be at least 25 as a manager on the game, and I'm younger than that, and I can't use 1992). I started my football managing career at the start of the 2013-14 preseason for Sky Bet League 2 team Oxford United, and it's my first management position. Through the trials and tribulations of being a manager, and through watching my players age and develop, and through watching my team reach success or fail, I am creating the life stories of my own person and of each of these individual players.

It's my first year on the job, and after some hiccups, I've won a trophy that the real life OUFC has never succeeded at getting, I've been challenging for first the entire year, and when the 2014-15 season rolls around, odds are that I'll be in League 1 with Oxford United while holding a fresh contract extension to stay with the team. Or, I could decide to move on and start fresh at a new team and experience all the excitement, anxiety, anger, and ecstasy that watching these successes and failures bring me as a manager.

Unlike other games, which have a defined story at the end of the day, it's this game's complete lack of that makes it so appealing to me, because I control my own fate. I could remain with a lower league team in England forever, or as I lead my team to victories, promotions, and trophies, I could find better teams to take over and move to higher English leagues or move to one of the leagues for the dozens of countries I have loaded into the game right now and someday become a world-class manager of Jose Mourinho or Sir Alex Ferguson's fame. The choice is all mine as a story teller and role-player, and even though I'm not the biggest sports fan in the world, I relish the possibilities that await me.

I'm going to wrap up this post with something I read a few weeks ago that got me thinking about how I play the game. I'm not THIS far invested into the game as far as story telling goes, but this demonstrates the commitment and general insanity that comes with being a Football Manager addict and letting it steal your life away... Like it's slowly been doing to me.

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