Whilst taking a break from the heady world of final billing the other day, a friend of mine asked why i was pondering over my iPhone with such a serious expression upon my face.
"Football manager 2012" i mumbled without glancing up.
"oh" he replied, himself a seasoned gamer, "never really got into those types of games, they bore me".
Coming from a man who's all time gaming hero is Dizzy the rolling egg, this got me thinking. Why do many of us pour hours of our precious spare time into nothing more than a prettier version of excel loaded with football related stats? Why when Kenwyne jones netted a 92nd winner against Blackburn on that same work break did I practically jump out if my seat and do a lap of honour around the office?
Its true that look wise, football management sims are a bit of a booter. They aren't programmed to compete with big budget games such as Call of Duty and there army of copycat clones. No the draw is the "what ifs" the game presents.
What if Sidibe really is a goal machine and Pulis never gave him a chance? Would i give him a starting role?
What if Tevez was homesick and misunderstood and was sorry for refusing to play, would i play him again?
What if Suarez wasn't really a racist tosser, would I fine him and get rid asap? You damn right!
Giving joe average the chance to go from the stands to the dugout, playing with real up to date teams in real fixtures and making the decisions you think the real club managers should of, thats where the draw is.
The power of imagination fills any graphical shortfalls, reading the commentary I can picture every pin point pass, every crunching tackle, every Sidibe miss kick. Some liken it to listening to a game on the radio.
So the presentation may be workmanlike, the gameplay consisting of the occasional mouse click but I guarantee you will never get as involved and feel as rewarded in any other genre of video game, after all what beats stuffing the filth in their own ground with a team you built with free transfers and mis fit players!