Added: 8 Mar 2011
Having already found success on the ZX81, Kevin Toms converted his football management game to the Spectrum, and as you'd imagine in the year of the World Cup in Spain, it was a best seller. You only have to play the likes of Championship Manager to see that beyond fancier graphics and tactics, the overall format of the football management game has changed very little since 1982. You still buy and sell players, juggle your squad, cope with injuries and financial problems, all the while trying to please the board and hang onto your job. Come match day, you will be taken to the 'highlights' - a simple line drawing of the penalty box, populated by stick men - and watch the goals rattle in with bated breath, praying that your side scores more. Despite the highlights' graphical simplicity, you still find yourself on the edge of your seat, praying for a win. It can prove to be frustrating, demanding and a long slog to success, but true to the company's name, it was addictive. There was the inevitable sequel, but it was outclassed by other management games of the time. As a footnote, I should point out that still the finest football management game I have ever played is Anco's Player Manager. If you can get your hands on an Atari ST emulator, check it out.
Added: 3 Jan 2010
Getting as sick as a Spectrum parrot
IF YOU have always wanted to manage a football team, Football Manager, from Addictive Games, is for you. The game works on the 48K Spectrum and charts the career of a professional football team from the Fourth to the First Division.
At the beginning you choose your team, which has a full complement of players. The players can be sold and bought during the progress of the game.
After you have selected your team you will be given a position in the league table, usually at the bottom of the Fourth Division. A team will be selected for you to play and highlights from the match will be shown to you in 3D. After that a brief rundown of the rest of the day's matches is given and the league table is calculated for the division.
The skills needed are that you must keep a balance between earning money from the gate returns and winning on the field. It seemed that if you do too much of one the other suffers.
The game is ideal for a football fanatic but the most interesting thing for us was the 3D graphics used to create the goalmouth. The league tables, players' records and match results seemed to bear no reflection of real life. For instance, Kevin Keegan is given a very low skill rating and a transfer fee of £5,000. Apart from that, the game is a winner.
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