because cheating is a lot more fun

February 24th, 2007

Unless you've lived your whole life under a rock, you've probably played a game or two. But did you ever cheat? Of course you did.

Whether it was on a computer, a console, a GameBoy, one of those electronic handhelds that only had one game, or any other kind of programmed game. Some people really really love games, I used to be one of those. Others like them, but never get really hooked. I remember there were kids who played a new game every week, they were constantly looking for new challenges. Then there were those who played the same games over and over. I loved games, but only some games, so I was in the latter category.

I think my all time favorite game was Championship Manager, which may seem somewhat strange, considering there were no fancy graphics, no animation, no interactive characters, and the game screens themselves didn't really look that amazing. But everything great in this game was in its depth, not on the surface. In fact, anyone who say me play it and had just walked into the room couldn't get what was so great about it. CM was a very popular game, though, not among the market winners by any means, but it had a super strong core following. And that's because it just didn't wear off, it didn't get old. Well, not until you'd played it for aaages.

First of all, CM is a simulation, so for it to be interesting you have to be interested in what it simulates. But if you are into it, and you have an imagination ( ), then you can play CM to explore pretty much any possible what-if scenario you could ever think of. It's like a meteorologist could add a new continent into his system and simulate the weather in Paris based on this new data. Well alright, but so what? There have always been a few football simulation games on the market, what makes CM so special? It's because, unlike those other games, CM seems realistic. The game engine works quite well, so most of the time you get the same kind of results that you would get in real life. It seems obvious that for a simulation to be worthwhile, it has to be able to simulate with a certain degree of credibility. But CM is the only game that has been able to achieve this, while providing great gameplay.

So, given this great game, what do you do with it? What do you aim for? How do you really like playing it? People have different taste, but to me the most exciting part of gaming was testing its limits. Once I mastered the game fairly well, I tried to do all kinds of things that I really wasn't supposed to do. Because *those* parts of the game were a bit like unexplored territory, you never knew what to expect. Most of the time the cut off points in games are very logical and mundane. Like if you play a car racing game and you try to steer your car outside of the track, most likely it will just bounce off an invisible wall, it won't crash, nothing "interesting" will happen. But exploring boundaries and trying to find things that few people had seen always seemed like fun to me. This is where CM comes in again, because exploring boundaries in CM was more fun than bouncing off invisible walls. The question was simply: in this simulation, if I create this state, what will happen? If I give my club a stadium of 500,000 seats and set the average attendance to capacity, will I become filthy rich from gate receipts? (The answer is yes. ) If I create a player with the youngest possible age, max out his stats and play the game long enough to see out his entire career, can he exceed 200 international apps? (The answer is yes. ) If I take over my hated rival club (usually Roma ), sell their entire first team, give all the youth players £100k/week contracts, can I bankrupt and relegate them in one season? (The answer is yes. )

It is toying with reality, it is creating scenarios that would never happen, just because you happened to think of it. What helps this happen is cheating, of course. Cheating is a shortcut to creating that situation you want to simulate. I was looking around my harddrive the other day and found a bunch of old screenshots from CM 97/98, the best release. The only screenshots from any game that have ever survived permanently. Looking over them now, I remember how many hours of thrill they represent. Imagine how much neglected homework!!

cm_managerawards.jpg cm_matusiak37years.jpg
cm_jackpot.jpg cm_clubinfo.jpg
cm_topaverageratings.jpg  

But what surprises me is the bashful attitude most people have toward cheating. Let's review the facts here. Gaming is all about entertainment, right? So whatever you can do to entertain yourself better would be good, right? So what's wrong with cheating? If you're in some kind of tournament competing against other gamers, then yes it would be unfair. But if you're just doing it for your own personal enjoyment, then condemning cheating makes no sense. The only argument you could make is that you're "cheating" the makers of the game, those who set the rules and boundaries of it. But all *they* did was make the game such that it would be the most fun for you to play, so if they knew you wanted to change something, and they thought they could get more sales this way, they would have. A game like CM depends on a certain correlation to real life. If you removed that limitation, the game would lose its value. If you could play with 11 strikers and win every match, it wouldn't be realistic, and it wouldn't be fun. So the fun in cheating lies in testing some those limits while still keeping the rest of them in a semi-realistic framework. Cheating is more fun.

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6 Responses to "because cheating is a lot more fun"

  1. Nawaf says:

    Cheating is all fair and well for me after I've mastered a certain game normally, and want to spice it up a bit..
    You get a certain feeling of satisfaction in doing it the hard way y 'know

  2. Jack says:

    I agree with you Martin. CM's fun is all in the cheating Three seasons straight Inter is in Serie B and they cannot climb back, now that's what I call fun

  3. Boyo says:

    CM cheats as well, so you shouldn't feel bad when you cheat yourself. The result in certain matches seems to be determined before the match starts. Not so much the actual scoreline, but if a team wins, draws or loses. One time in CM03/04, with Lazio against roma, I was 4-0 ahead in the 75th minute.... only to lose 5-4. How silly is that? Dominating nearly the entire match, and then getting 5 goals against in 15 minutes.

  4. numerodix says:

    That Marchegiani is a lazy devil

    No, I agree with you, it's like some games you're not meant to win no matter what you do. CM can be very weird that way, even when you really cheat. Like for instance I would come up against a club like Bayern in the CL, one of the strongest in the game. And if my team wasn't that strong I could do absolutely nothing to get past them. I could go in with a save game editor, incapacitate half their team and they would still beat me with reserves, every time. The way I finally beat them was to set the fitness for every player to 1, which left them with those fake players the game generates itself, and then I just barely scraped past. So CM really wants to stay in control sometimes.

  5. Boyo says:

    I haven't done that yet, cheating by using the editor. I couldn't figure out how.

    *insert laughter of tech guys*

    My main cheating tool is to add myself as manager of the other team and play a really silly formation.

    Having a second team for a while also works well with transfers. You can offload your useless players to the other team, and maybe buy some of their good players as well for cheap.

  6. Antzh says:

    Do you cheat when taking urine tests???