I’m on the bus at 18:36 on a Friday night and I’m going swimming. I’ve just drafted up a few emails I want to send later and now it is blogging time.
I would rather be doing something else on the bus bus, but I frustrating seem to have lost my power cable for my personal laptop at some point on Wednesday, and I think in school weirdly, but ah well.
What I would rather be doing, is immersing myself in what will become my winter friend in this hibernating world, Football Manager 2012.
Football Manager has a warm place in my heart. I first experienced it in its Championship Manager 2001/02 era, as a demo that came free with some cereal, and completely free to us as dad brought it back from ASDA one night after the said cereal box was damaged. It offered a whopping two seasons to you and was fantastic. I was a fan of football management games before, even the ancient Premier Manager on the Sega Mega Drive, and this was a statistical treat in comparison to those, the level of detail, especially worldwide, drove me to play it for hours and hours. It became a CD that swapped hands across classmates, and we spoke the next morning at the start of science class about what we had done and who we had signed the next day.
We were that sad.
Computer games like this though, certainly have developed me and how I think. I believe it had made me very much a planner, very calm when faced with difficult situations and someone who will happily wait until certain something was the right thing to do. It also I think lead me to focus my work on a statistical approach, and kept my love of numbers going strong, but also made me question them. There were many times of failed football manager attempts (I remember one as York where I ended up 24th in the league and just could not work out how to score goals and then realised I was focusing too much on ball control statistics than movement, but it took a while to understand their importance).
It’s something I think is healthy for football fans, especially for those of a young age, where they can develop the opportunity to analyse like this. It does become your life however…
We all have great football manager moments, I remember vividly losing a playoff final 2-1 scoring what I thought was a last minute equalizer, waking up little brother in my excited 13 year old squeals only for my right back to be ruled offside. I remember the Rangers 3-2 defeat to AC Milan in the Champions League despite being 2-1 up playing 4-6-0. I remember my first match of the first edition of Football Manager, with Scotland defeating Brazil 1-0 thanks to Dida kicking the ball against Craig Brewster on the half way line and him tapping it in and then piling bodies back for 85 minutes. Also vividly I can recall finding the talents who really weren’t in real life. Abgar Barsom is not a legendary inside forward, but instead an only-just professional footballer/politician here in Sweden. Jöel Tiehi was 37, with a few random international caps, cost just 220,000 SEK yet was rapidly quick (but with a stamina of 4, made him the perfect supersub).
It is, for me, the climax in virtual reality, because these are real people I talk about, yet I tinker with their lives at will, making them redundant, making them train harder than ever before and hopefully making them heroes.
With this, I made a decision that this winter in Stockholm would be a Football Manager one, the demo came out last week, and I took the opportunity to take it, play in Swedish, and get stuck in. I switched language after ten minutes, but I joyously manage Vasalunds IF in the third tier of Swedish football and walking distance from me. Their highest paid player is on 1000 SEK/week, this is semi-professional football we are talking about. However, I happily tinkered for an hour in a 3-1 win for my under 19’s, and my first team beat Molde and are now playing a friendly against local big guns AIK at the Råsunda.
Sadly, I can’t take any time to divulge in this at the weekend, as I need a power cable. This annoys me. Maybe if I actually tidy my room I may find it, just in case.
But then, now I’m 23, is there any benefit in a virtual reality any more?