Ask most gamers about football management games and you’ll likely get the same answer. Sports Interactive’s chart topping Football Manager series has come to dominate the genre to the extent that there really is no competition.
But as an older gamer, I remember a time when there was more. Right from the earliest 8-bit days, management sims have been an essential component of the football gaming landscape with a rich and varied history. It must have seemed a safe option for developers. No fancy sprites were necessary. Most of the time you didn’t need to trouble yourself with real players or teams either. Just a bunch of stats and menus, what could be easier?
Many of the games trod a familiar path whilst some blazed new trails in the genre. But all of them shared a common lineage in trying to replicate that feeling of managing your team to glory.
Join me then as we take whistle stop tour through the history of the genre. This will not be a comprehensive review of every football management game ever released. Rather, a stroll down memory lane as I take a look at some of the games that helped to shape my love of the genre in what was life before Football Manager.
Ironically then, that is exactly where we will start…