Once you’ve completed a game what do your do with it? Place it on a shelf to gather dust? Reply it on a harder setting, looking for hidden collectables? Perhaps a trade-in or a placing on Ebay is the order of the day. I myself am partial to the first option, with one or two notable exceptions. Masterpieces like Fallout 3 are always waiting to be rediscovered, Fiffa and the ilk are multiplayers and therefore exempt from the icy claws of old Father Time.

One game springs to the top of my never going to be discared pile: Football Manager 2005. The year is not really imperative, it just happens to be the first edition I purchased. Many an hour has been whiled away vying for Champions League glory, the quest for global supremacy, the hunt for some previously unheard of starlet or just pressing continue because my mind had melted under the sheer weight of stats.

Each time I start a new file I discover some hidden facet of Sports Interactive’s gem. Co-owned players if I play in the Italian league, wage caps and rosters if I choose America as my destination and of course the new wonder that I have just discovered: using fictitious players.

This adds a whole new element as the random nature of squad placement is thrown into action. Some teams may have one or two names with familiar stats but on the whole the group that you survey is different from what you are used to. Scouts now play an important role as a quick search for Lionel Messi will turn up bupkis, that kid you always buy is no longer an option, that attacking mid that scores 20+ goals a season no longer exists.

Now the impossible is possible, with these arrangements in place I guided my Glasgow Rangers team to a semi final berth in the Champions League. No cheating, no replaying matches, no skullduggery was implemented. Just some snaffling about the transfer market, some canny tactics employed and a small dollop of Lady Luck.

Granted the bigger teams still have the best players and transfer budgets remain the same but it adds a whole new dimension to a ageing classic. And this is without mentioning all the patches and a database you can rejig till your hearts content. Football Manager 2015? Pah I’ll stick with the past, thank you very much.

So what games do you continually return to? Comment below.


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