Football Manager, Games, Games Design, The 80s

Games Design and the Birth of an Industry

All those years ago, in the early eighties, I wrote the original Football Manager. At that time, the only option was to sell it yourself. I formed a company, placed adverts,  and started shipping the game by  mail order. The inexpensive home computers that came onto the market at that time provided the tools for people like me to write games, and created a market.

Football Manager from the early 80s
Football Manager from the early 80s

Most of the people selling games in the early eighties had created them themselves, and worked to a simple idea- producing a better game next time. No-one at that time was thinking of movie licence tie-ins or other commercial decisions. It was a time of creativity and fresh games ideas. In a way it was innocent. It is one of the reasons the Retro scene is nostalgic for that time.

With no licence tie-ins, no commercial spin offs, the key to success was a good game, and something innovative, to draw attention. Few of the people that were running the businesses then had run one before, and most were young. Everybody was learning as they went. I even remember a top flight accountant who was advising me, saying “If this is just a passing fad, computer games, we’ll help you to wind up the company with minimum damage to you”. – Hardly a passing fad, an industry that is now an enormous entertainment industry. The funny thing was, even then, I thought “He’s wrong, it’s not a new fad, only the technology is new, games have been around for thousands of years.”

But it was the birth of a new industry. In a few years we went from selling only by mail order to being in the main high street stores and selling across the world. People in business suits got interested, and the industry steadily changed as it was no longer being run by pioneers breaking unknown ground. 

It was good to experience those times.

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3 thoughts on “Games Design and the Birth of an Industry

  1. Excellent excellent games Kevin. We had it on the ZX80 from what I recall before there were even the graphics. What a great game. We used to play it on each level until you did the double and then you went up a level!!

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