Rock Paper Shotgun has recently received a number of complaints about our foot-to-ball coverage. Upset readers have claimed that we do not take Britain’s most popular sport at all seriously, instead reporting on any of the extremely popular games related to the pursuit with tired running gags, false ignorance and undeserved disdain. It has been pointed out to us that a great many of RPS’s readers are likely not only foot-to-ball fans, but fans of foot-to-ball gaming, and in our incessant use of stupid jokes and degrading remarks, we are alienating these readers from the site, and failing in our duty to provide accurate, engaging coverage of a large element of PC gaming.
Fifa Manager 12 is, cleverly, the seventh in the series, unless you count when the games were called Total Club Manager, in which case it’s the 10th. It, like Foot-to-ball Manager and Championship Manager, is about not actually playing the Hooligan’s Game, of course. It’s about graphs, and firing people. And the most inappropriately bombastic music ever to have scored a screen of budgets.
Which is what the game immediately greets me with, after I’ve selected my 101 year old female manager of Swansea FC, Simon Managerface, who speaks only African dialects and hates England. And good grief, that’s the thing. I know I’m not exactly renowned for my patience with any game requiring managing any resource of any kind, but at least let it be magic or space diamonds. Actual money? I have to do that with my real-life taxes. I’m late filling in the forms, because there’s nothing on Earth I hate more than sorting out my taxes. I’m getting letters from my accountant telling me off, informing me that it’ll cost an extra £50 if it’s not done by the end of October, and I’m not going to do it because I’d rather pay £50 for the right to put off doing it for another month or two. So why – why in eighty thousand billion years – would I ever want to be worrying about similar things in a fictional setting. It’s like playing a game about getting the flu, or having done a poo that’s splashed up onto the rim of the toilet in someone else’s house and there’s no toilet brush. So yes – perhaps my dislike of managing accounts (or indeed cleaning toilets) is personal to me, and perhaps you like doing that. But that leaves me with only one question: what’s wrong with you?
The demo allows you to play the Club Manager role, with teams from Austria, England, France, Spain, Switzerland, or Germany. The rest of the world is greyed out. I picked England, because it recommended it, and Swansea, because I’m amused by its relocation to England. And the first thing I’m faced with:
“The Board will keep 18% of the overall budget in the reserve budget for the season.
You can distribute up to 30% of each budget towards other budgets.”
REALLY? That’s a game to you? My goodness, you can pay me £30 to do my accounts for me, if you like. I’ll even put on some ludicrously pompous orchestral music as you do it, and let you pick which accent you want to use.
I really can’t even play it. Just looking at the screen, the calendar, the pages and pages and pages of graphs, charts, budget reports, statistics, training rosters, profiles, emails to answer… oh good grief, LET ME OUT!
So yes, I don’t like foot-to-ball, I don’t like management games, and I don’t like real life responsibilities. I’m not exactly the target audience for the game. But I think the point I’m trying to make is, anyone who is the target audience is plain weird. I think you are weird. You can get the demo from here, if you’re weird. The full game is out tomorrow.