19 - Premier Manager
On the rise and fall of the Premier Manager series of soccer management games — a former PC gaming juggernaut that lost its way amidst a shuffle of developers and publishers — and the part it played in the broader consolidation/homogenisation of sports games (of all kinds) over the past 20 years or so.
All music and sound effects in this episode were composed and performed by me, except for the bits that came from the Premier Manager games (the football commentary clips and a couple of songs). And the clip from Highlander.
If you'd like to try one of the Premier Manager games, the easiest option is to use the in-browser emulators on Archive.org — which has the DOS, Amiga, and Sega Mega Drive versions of the earlier titles all playable. The early Championship Manager games — which eventually evolved into today's monster Football Manager series — are also playable on there, in DOS and Amiga formats.
Remember to share this episode on social media and to leave a review of the show on Apple Podcasts or whatever podcasting app you prefer.
If you enjoyed this episode, you might like to also listen to the previous entry this season, Hogs of War, or one of the many other game design/development-focused stories I've done — consider, for instance, the episodes on Lode Runner, Midwinter, FIFA 3DO, the grid-based level editor of the original Tomb Raider games, or the graphical innovations of pixel artist Mark Ferrari. Or for a change of pace, perhaps you'd like to learn about the origins of the "boss button" or of the App Store's race to the bottom in game pricing?
There are "soundbites", too — short clips from interviews I've conducted over the years, like with Tetris Company co-founder Henk Rogers, former Microsoft executive Jon Kimmich, and legendary puzzle designer Scott Kim.
My book, The Secret History of Mac Gaming, is available in bookstores in the UK and Australia, as well as online from the likes of Book Depository and Amazon. See the official website for more info.