From abandoned board game to birthing a genre: Football Manager at 40

Over the last ten years, I've interviewed many of my childhood heroes - those talented coders I used to read about in the pages of Crash or Your Sinclair. But today is different, because back in 1982, not only did Kevin Toms create a smash hit game, he invented a whole new genre.

"Conceptually, it was very different to most games," he explains to me via Skype. "At ZX shows, I had to constantly explain it was a football management game, and they'd go, 'oh, okay'." Often confused for some sort of weird text adventure, it was an abstruse concept for many - but not its author. "I already had the idea for the board game," explains Toms. "So I just thought a computer could do that, too."

From a young age, Toms harboured dreams of having a career in tabletop games. "When I was 15, my parents had to see the careers master at school," he says. "I asked them to ask him if it was possible to get a job as a board game designer." The inevitable reply came back. "He said it was a phase and that I'd grow out of it."

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