In this age of long-haul social distancing and mental-health strains, gamers have a tool to establish a much-needed connection while in isolation. Video games are an escapist medium. That’s what everyone always says. Games allow us to create our narrative, to be whoever or whatever we want, no matter the realm of possibility. From venturing into South American football’s obscure depths to controlling the footballing world’s major powerhouses, we can go anywhere and control (almost) anyone. Gaming allows us an escape from our day-to-day routines and problems. 

In 2021, this is one of the most beautiful aspects of playing a game like Football Manager. The problem that necessitates this need for escape is best summarised because you can’t leave your house without potentially spreading or catching the horrible covid-virus. There’s never been a better time in modern history to escape to the fantasy worlds of video games and to take a break from it all.

I find myself looking forward to down-time as the end of my work-day draws nearer with every passing second. Between the covid-related stress of being the last man standing for the faculty I work at (and the resulting extra burden of trying to do the work of three on my own), the additional preparations necessary to work effectively from home (I can’t just stroll into a classroom, pick up a book and start teaching, instruction video’s or Prezi’s seemingly take far more time to create) and the loss of direct social interaction with most people outside of my family, I am grateful for the distraction of playing with my daughter and when I put her to bed and have talked about the day with the missus, for the option to move to a world where Zlatan and I are BFF’s, dominating European football.

Besides the single-player aspect and my narrative, I have also learned to appreciate the game’s community aspect far more. Gamers have known for a long time something that the rest of the world is starting to figure out: there’s community connection on the other side of a screen — and FM has a rather vibrant community if you know where to look. Rather than merely hide in a make-believe world by myself, I try to share other people’s magical worlds as well; I want to live in their incredible moments and conversations.

I’ve been trying to talk more to kindred spirits, joining their streams, collaborating where I can but most of all savouring the moment spent with others, just hearing what they’re up to in both their save-games and their lives. I also realised that I know and have interacted with some people for over a decade now, which is wild. 

While the game itself is not perfect (it never is, trust me on that one), I find that my enjoyment playing has increased this past year because of the people I share my thoughts with and those who share their thoughts with me. Whenever someone drops out of that circle, I genuinely get upset. 

I also become more grateful for those still hanging around, providing me with a good laugh, intriguing food for thought or just a fun interaction. I’m not sure if there’s a real point to this blog entry and I’m not going to share this on my socials. I think it’s more therapeutic to get it off my chest. Football Manager community, I salute you. You’re helping me through a tough time; you’re helping me retain a semblance of sanity.

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Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.


Guido

Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.

11 Comments

Björn · February 7, 2021 at 7:08 pm

Thank you! Doing all this website stuff is amazing and can also be a burden.
I can relate to your corona stuff. Allthough, I find myself barely touching my PC after a long workday. Luckily I still play FM on iOS. Still enjoying it. I can’t find the joy in the nitty gritty FM but Touch it really my cup off tea.

    Guido · February 7, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    As long as we keep playing, right? Touch or full, as long as we get to have fun and get away from it all 🙂

mike · February 7, 2021 at 8:17 pm

Thanks to you I actually managed to finish a full season on this version of FM 🙂
I’d started a Man Utd save when it was in beta and played a game here and there…(it’s still ongoing honest). After seeing your “replacing Zlatan” article it inspired/motivated me to give a Milan save a go myself.
Thanks.

    Guido · February 7, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you for reading and responding. That makes this whole shitshow of lately easier to get through. 🙂

David O Callaghan · February 9, 2021 at 1:06 pm

I couldn’t agree more, Guido! I came across your blog back when I was playing FM17 and was inspired to try out a 4-1-3-2-0 Strikerless formation with the sleeping giant (who would have guessed it…) Milan. I ended up not playing the game for a couple of years after that due to work and other commitments. I’ve found the time to pick it back up over the last year or so (along with your blog), and a variation of your 5-2-3-0 is currently propelling my AFC Fylde side up the English divisions! I love your blog, man – the sheer breadth of knowledge, detail, and passion on display is contagious and always makes me want to crack open the laptop and try something new out!

David · February 9, 2021 at 1:07 pm

I couldn’t agree more, Guido! I came across your blog back when I was playing FM17 and was inspired to try out a 4-1-3-2-0 Strikerless formation with the sleeping giant (who would have guessed it…) Milan. I ended up not playing the game for a couple of years after that due to work and other commitments. I’ve found the time to pick it back up over the last year or so (along with your blog), and a variation of your 5-2-3-0 is currently propelling my AFC Fylde side up the English divisions! I love your blog, man – the sheer breadth of knowledge, detail, and passion on display is contagious and always makes me want to crack open the laptop and try something new out!

Dan · February 9, 2021 at 10:05 pm

Hello Guido, for me you are the best blogger on Football Manager, I love your articles, and I would definitely have some chat with you about football in general and perhaps share some thoughts. Let me know if you’d like to, and how. I do have same experience as you, I am a key worker and when I finish my shift, I immerse myself in the game, after obviously the family, 2 kids

Anna Jazda · February 12, 2021 at 9:36 am

Thank You Guido! You are one of my references and I am always happy to see a new article.

Anna J.

vkastanas · February 25, 2021 at 10:44 am

Nice that you took it all out mate! Being in the same profession with you makes me wanna hug you for sharing these thoughts. It’s a difficult time for all the world this one and being able to escape it by playing a video game feels good! Not everything is forgotten by playing but it’s some good trouble free moments that make us going day by day.
Reading your stuff adds another few moments and for this I want to thank you!

Tom · March 3, 2021 at 2:38 pm

I always enjoy reading your blog, keep up the good work!

Rafael Teodoro · March 21, 2021 at 5:03 pm

Guido, thank you for all your work. This moment we are living is not easy and it takes a lot from us, a whole deal of patience and wishful thinking. I’ve been playing Football Manager games a couple years before CM 01/02 came out, and FM is at a really good stage, of course everyone has an opinion in how it can be better, but I really like where it is right now. So, I say that to you as a reminder to myself also, focus on what you can control and try to enjoy yourself and those around you. And keep providing us with this amazing content. Stay safe.

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