Wireframe - #35 - 2020

(Joyce) #1
Karma and Kaos are the two
choice-based currencies which
determine “your coaching/
managerial style.” Both present
their own path to winning the
championship, and change
the effectiveness of the game’s

tarot-like playing cards. Each
game in Football Drama is like a
divination – you play your cards
hoping the players will listen,
you use your limited means of
control as best you can, and
you hope that if the conditions
are correct, and the stars align,
magic will happen. It’s an idea
that channels the mysterious
question of what makes
good football.
The game also includes
elements of satire, presenting
a world of corrupt managers
and clichéd commentators

  • and it’s here that Football
    Drama is at its most special.
    While Behold the Kickmen uses
    satire to distance itself from the
    sport, Football Drama’s satire
    is affectionate. “I think that

its role in society and what
happens in a match,” explains
Football Drama’s co-creator,
Pietro Polsinelli. “The entire
narrative dimension of the
game is dedicated to the first
aspect; for the second [the
matches], I took a minimalistic
approach. This means giving a
lot of space to the player and
their imagination.”
In Football Drama, you play
as the fledgling manager
of Calchester Assembled,
seeking to guide your club to
victory through the turbulent
waters of league football.
But it’s easy to see why
Football Drama is so divisive:
it sheds the direct control of
mainstream football games
in favour of unpredictability,
narrative choice, and a focus
on mysticism.

Football Drama might also be
the first sports game ever to
have a karma system, inspired
by the I Ching, an ancient
Chinese text of divination: “The
I Ching is the second mirror
I use in the game (the
other being your cat), and it
represents your attempts to
deal with the flow of life and
sport events, that is both
inscrutable and always there to
be interpreted,” says Polsinelli.
“I’m trying to make the player
think about the illusion of
control, which the game of
football, with its unpredictability,
shows so clearly. This, of course,
irritates some players, who
expect the game to be some
kind of deterministic football
manager, but it proudly isn’t.”

“The planet is something that Tim Breach and Nat Cooke at Sega
are just as passionate about as me, so trying to come up with some
packaging that was more eco-friendly was an obvious step,” explains
Miles Jacobson. “While I’d love to take all the credit for it, Tim and Nat
did the vast majority of the work on it with
their manufacturing partners. Now it’s my
job to persuade the other entertainment
industries to do similar – we’re saving
20 tonnes of plastic just from our niche
game. Imagine what happens if a home
entertainment company comes on
board, or a music company, or Xbox or
Playstation? It’s just the right thing to do.”



 Football Manager grants players a
great deal of control over every facet
of the managerial experience.

 Behold the Kickmen’s story
parodies the classic sport
underdog narrative.
 In Behold the Kickmen, you earn
cash each time you ‘Do a goal’.

20 / wfmag.cc

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