I’d like to think I repaid their huge expense by using my ZX Spectrum regularly, often spending hours on end typing in a long and ultimately error-ridden program from a magazine. Yet as we know, most kids are mainly interested in games rather than programming, and in the early 1980’s I was no different.
Despite the limited graphics and processing power on offer, most of the titles available seemed quite exciting back then, so when Football Manager came along, it went straight to the top of my ‘must have’ list. Written by Kevin Toms and published by Addictive Software, this was a game that asked you to pick a team, select the right players and guide them all the way to glory in the FA Cup or Division 1. A shrewd footballing brain was required to do so, let alone a bit of luck and a tape recorder that didn’t mangle up your most recently saved game.
|Choose your weapon...|
|Kenny Sansom - pack your bags...|
|Blackpool - lacking morale|
|No goal - and no ball either|
|One-nil to The Hammers!|
Sure, you weren't told who was taking a shot or who had scored, but somehow that wasn't important. You merely wanted to see whether your team had scored more goals than your opponents, and it wasn't until the final score was displayed that you could finally breathe a sigh of relief that it was all over.
|Plenty of goals at Gresty Road...|
|Never mind, Hull - plenty of|
|West Ham promoted!|
Football Manager was the first in a long line of computer games aiming to recreate the struggle to succeed as the boss of a top club, and it deserves all the adulation it's received over the last 30 years. In an 8-bit world of simple sprites and basic sounds, it still owns a place in the hearts of those of us that played it, and for that, Kevin Toms can feel rightly proud of his pioneering work.