Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Day 81 - Paul is in the living room

You know, sometimes when I'm writing these things and I have my titles at the top there, I feel like I'm in the Big Brother house, with all that "Day 36", "Day 81" stuff.  It probably doesn't help me much when trying to promote this thing, either.  But I think it's important I do that, because keeping track of the time it takes to do this is good for spurring me on and making sure this doesn't drag on until the end of time.

I haven't got much that's game-related to write about today, as it happens.  I was absent yesterday... I was out with the lads, in a pub, taking part in a Fantasy Football auction.  It was great fun, and I think I picked a good team.  Fingers crossed I can win a bit of cash.

Right, England, your time has come!
It actually got me thinking about football games again.  There are some absolute classics that I've already written pieces on... the Match Day games, Football Manager... but there's another one that was also important in shaping one of today's classics, and it's one that maybe not so many people have played.  That game is Track Suit Manager.

I just fancied a game of that today, especially as there was a round of international matches taking place this evening.  So I loaded it up, installed myself as England manager, and I was away.

Hmmm... Butterworth or Hardyman?  The agony of choice!
The good memories came back, and as soon as you get into a game you see the one innovation it brought to the table that remains to this day.  That innovation is the commentary. As the match progresses, rather than showing you the action, it's described to you through text. It feels a bit like you're listening to the match, and the sense of tension that's built is palpable.

It was also quite a laugh to take my pick of the cream of England's players... who could resist the stout defensive qualities of Mel Sterland or the midfield guile of Glynn Snodin?  There are 100 players to pick from for your squad, or you can choose another country altogether if you so wish.

It's easy, this management lark.
The challenge of leading your country to World Cup success is always irresistible, but it does take time, so I'm just a little way into the campaign.  But the hook, as always, is very strong, because of the innovative (for the time) commentary.  It's easy to see why it was taken on by the Championship Manager series (and now into the Sports Interactive Football Manager games)... it's simply because it works so well.

I doubt I'll be able to track down its author, but it would make a nice companion to Football Manager, as the two games between them are responsible for the management games we know, love and are completely addicted to today.  How many hours did you lose to them?


  1. Started with The Boss on the 64, which led to Tracksuit Manager, The Manager and eventually the wonderful Player Manager on the Amiga. Then Championship Manager 00-01 which I played for almost 10 years on various PCs and now Football Manager 2012 which has a few hundred hours done so far.

    But it all started at The Boss, totally written in Basic and due to that I made some minor changes, which got me utterly hooked in football management. Other than the Madden series, a PBM Horse Racing game called Essentially Racing (now sadly defunct) and 2 online Cricket management games (From The Pavilion & Battrick), no other sport has really grabbed me in regards to management. And I love that SI include Data Editors. Much more fun to be had that way.

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