Addictive Games - 1982
Generation: 2 but its sequels are still being made today.
Machine: ZX Spectrum, and many others
Football Manager was originally released on the ZX81. It was straightforward, text based and was written in BASIC. It eventually found its way onto ten different formats and was said to have sold over half a million copies. It was one of the first management games and undoubtedly the most popular. Today its descendant is the Championship Manager series which has the same approach as Football Manager. It's good and considerably more sophisticated, but for some reason it doesn't have the magic of Football Manager. Why could this be?
In Football Manager, you started as a lowly Fourth Division side with a rag-tag squad of twelve players. Each player was designated a position (Defence, Midfield, Striker or Goalkeeper) and given a rating out of five for skill, and ratings for stamina and morale. Each player was susceptible to injuries which sometimes resulted in you fielding rather less than the allowed eleven... Other than that, you simply selected your squad, and played the game... On the Spectrum version you were treated to a little graphical display of the highlights of the game. For my money, there was little else around at the time that was as exciting as the Highlights on Football Manager. I used to love it - it was tense and tortuous as the little pixlelated men ran around kicking the pixel ball at the goalkeeper... it was an amazing piece of immersion. And this is what made Football Manager so special and so original: the player actually had to take the 'role' of the manager and then had to negotiate a self-contained world that was somehow tangible, even if it was just a bunch of statistics... The fantasy was made complete by the fact that the world of Football Manager was somewhat easier to handle than the 'real' world: in fact, Football Manager was too easy. It wasn't that difficult to build up a fairly invincible team... again, this gave Football Manager a sort of magic: it was easy, but you were still in control. Championship Manager, with all of its complexity and polish, still hasn't come close to Football Manager's no-nonsense game play and sprinkling of magic.
Bubbaray 05 Mar '04
World of Spectrum's Football Manager page - An incredible resource, all the detail you could need and the game to download or play online to boot!
Wikipedia's Football Manager page - Lots of great information.