Football Manager is evil. If you are weak-willed then you may want to steer clear of this game! It takes all up your free time if you let it and you will then fall into it's trap! I am embarrassed to admit that I have spent 9 hours straight on the game in one day!
picture is copyright Sports Interactive Ltd
I turned up at a Shots game at the beginning of this season and took up my place on the East Bank. I turned to the back of the programme expecting to see my players from my Football Manager game on there! I stood there for a second or two wondering where the players were and then it suddenly dawned on me. I felt so stupid and ashamed that I played the game so much!
Lured in at the prospect of emulating Sir Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankly or any other managerial great, Football Manager gives you the chance to manage a team and take over virtually every aspect of the club. You can organise what the players are taught in training and arrange team talks and press conferences! Each player is rated (very accurately!) on anything from pace, aggression, acceleration, team work, tackling and shooting among many others. Then you can watch a virtual version of the game your team is playing and change instructions during the game.
On the first football managerial game I bought (Championship Manager 93/94), the user only chose the players, the formation and that was it! The graphics were very basic and had a very boring template.
picture is copyright to Domark Ltd
On the 2012 version of the game I was told that a player can complain about which type of studs he wears in his boots! The level of detail is becoming absurd on the game and will continue to grow each season no doubt.
One of the main reasons that attracted me to the game in the first place was the fact that you can take over your own club and manage the team. If you don't like your striker in real life, sell him on the game! Then after a while you might see your team promoted on the game and your team in real life are awful! You can lead your team through the divisions or go on ridiculously long winning streaks, picking up every trophy under the sun! If you don't like a player from your team in real life, you can sell him in the game! One of the main reasons I was so happy Aldershot got promoted to the Conference in 2004 was that they would be available to play as on Football Manager 2005!
Another method to managerial greatness on the game is taking over at a small club and turn them into a top Premiership club. When the game became available to play on the iPhone, I thought I would take over at Gateshead at the start of the 2010/11 season. They were relegation candidates from the Conference. I won the league on the last day of the first season and won the FA Trophy. When it got up to 2031 I had got them up to a consistent top six side in the Premiership and won the Europa League on penalties against Valencia!
My best friend played an earlier version of Championship Manager and took Aldershot to the Premiership and won 37 out of 38 games in one season. This was in his first year at university! (in case you're wondering, the 38th game was a draw against Everton!)
I think that every box that the game is sold on should have health warnings on. 'YOU WILL BECOME ADDICTED TO THIS GAME' AND 'YOU'RE FREE TIME WILL DISAPPEAR WHEN YOU PURCHASE THIS GAME'.
There are positive aspects of playing the game. You get a real sense of satisfaction when your team wins promotion, a trophy or you bring a youth team player into your first team and does well. If you manage a lower league team and you sign a player for a pittance and sell him on for millions is always a good feeling. However on the other side of the coin, if your team loses a key game or the Final of a Cup competition then you feel really angry!
As you can tell it can consume your whole life! I hate the fact that when talking about a game you're playing, you end up saying "in real life" about the usual football everyone else is watching! Every time I find myself standing in the shop looking at the next version of the game I tell myself that I will only become addicted to this game and I shouldn't buy it. Then I end up buying the bloody thing and spending hours and hours playing it!