This series of posts will share some cracking stories of our community being addicted to Football Manager. Today’s is particularly good. He needs no introduction, it’s @RealTimeFM.
I turned the Macbook on at 9 am this morning after taking the dog for an early Sunday walk, spending most of it debating whether I was going to revert to my standard 4-2-3-1 or stick with the 4-4-2 diamond that looked impressive on Wednesday night against Valencia but I had to abandon after they kicked half my attackers out the game. I’d done my scouting on Thursday, watching my opponents Leverkusen play at Ajax. They played a 4-1-2-2-1 with an anchorman in front of the back four.
Like many of us, I’m sure I turn Football Manager on every day, but I’m probably in the minority for how I play it. I play one game-day per real-life day. My bad decisions can haunt me all week. I play matches in full that involve my first team, then drop in other other matches (on key/extended) as and when the need arises – either scouting, watching the U19s, significant match in Europe, players of mine out on loan etc. Nothing different to someone who catches a bit of SSN each day y’know… just utterly fictional.
I’d have got up earlier if I didn’t have company that I didn’t want to disturb, so my border collie Badger was on the receiving end of my thinking aloud. If I do stick to the diamond midfield, boy do I regret selling Gündogan now. Badger didn’t seem all that interested, but I had no one else to admit it to. That money was reinvested in Stevan Jovetic who, like my other two forwards (Lewandowski and Schieber) hasn’t actually found the back of the net yet this season.
Back from the fields I’d settled on my tactics, and sat down to the game, prepared the teamsheet, posted it to twitter, got myself a large mug of tea and started the game. Two hours later we had a result, and I’d published the match report after some poking round in photoshop, looked at the league results and then had a trawl round seeing what else happened that could have an impact on my club. By the time I was done and everything had gone live on the blog, it was gone two o’clock.
Despite this busy matchday, I’ve never thought I push aside other “real” activities for it. It’s my equivalent of playing parks football on a Sunday morning. I have a professional career, relationship, and neither them nor social life suffer. Sure, FM comes up in conversation from time to time. Usually in the pub where I chime in saying “yeah but he’s banging them in for Schalke” to friends before realising what’s going on in the football world I know all about has no baring on reality at all!
The one thing I do feel is a massive commitment to my save. Not in time, as I do take holidays “IRL” and will schedule and stagger my save around it – often playing some in advance and letting the blog publish news on the correct date, and catch-up the rest when I’m back home. The Macbook does usually go with me everywhere though, so a quick half-hour on a Monday won’t hurt anyone. The commitment comes because I’ve invested two years into this, same as I’ve probably invested seven or eight years in characters in an MMO, or 70 hours into Skyrim, for example. If I lose that progress I’d have a massive void in my life to fill.
I certainly don’t fear the sack, but I do often ponder about keeping the personalities of my 1s and 0s happy. I’m absolutely over the moon that the only player in my save who has me as part of their “favourite people” is genuinely my favourite player in real-life. Having worked in professional sport for a while, I do enjoy some banter with current players about the game, especially if they’re over/under-performing in FM.
My time with Football Manager certainly wouldn’t be ‘normal behaviour’ to your average player, but I like my spin on the game. I don’t play longer than other people, but it has become part of my daily routine. I usually progress the save during a quick spell at work over lunch and have a blog post go live with the relevant news soon after, or if I have an evening game then it’s no different to watching a film at night.
Best not to walk in on me when I’m singing the Champions League theme though.
Is RealTimeFM addicted to Football Manager? It’s such a different way of playing the game than the vast majority of us do. I certainly think so, but do you? Get involved with the chat on Twitter and use the hashtag #addictedtoFM