Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I AM PLAYR
It's my first-team debut for River Park FC and my heart is pounding. I've been training hard all week, working on my finishing, hoping that I will be given the opportunity to make my bow as a professional footballer. My graft has been rewarded by my manager - wily veteran Jon Peterson - who has brought me on as a sub, and now I'm lining up a free-kick that could win us the opening game of the season.
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The above scenario is not just a dream, a fantasy, or a failure to recover from a hazy weekend at Glastonbury. It is probably as close as I will get to being a real footballer and it is down to a revolutionary new football sim. I AM PLAYR is a true-to-life offering from We R Interactive that helps wannabe players like yours truly live out the life of a pro through the realm of a Facebook app.
Bringing together some of the most desirable qualities from Roy of the Rovers, Dream Team and Football Manager to create a veritable bundle of footballing joy, I AM PLAYR has set down a POV (point of view) gaming marker for the social media generation. Now let me try and explain exactly what it entails.
Played as an extension of your Facebook page, I AM PLAYR sees users take on the role of a striker at the start of his career, plying his trade for a club in the second tier of English football. You participate in training drills as participation for matchdays - when you are given just a smattering of chances to find the net using the movement of your mouse. Incidentally, I scored the aforementioned free-kick on my debut and have rarely stopped finding the net since to fire River Park up the table.
Interspersed with the purposefully primitive on-field graphics is the game's key unique selling point: pre-recorded real-life videos starring the chief protagonists in your story - the manager, coaches, team-mates and agents - in a variety of different situations. These snippets help I AM PLAYR progress from arcane arcade game to riveting reality as you make choices about everything from which boots to wear to whether to cheat on your long-term girlfriend. Your performances in matches are even analysed on 'The Goal Mouth' - the game's version of BBC classic Match Of The Day - which features former internationals Lee Dixon and Andy Townsend. Other cameos from the likes of Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott appear as your career progresses.
The idea is to build up your value through scoring goals, improving your contract and developing your abilities - power, accuracy and curl can be honed in training - and essentially the aim is to become the best player in the world. I AM PLAYR takes the Player Career Mode of FIFA 11 to a whole new level and while it will never boast the meticulous attention to detail of Football Manager, it doesn't claim to as it is about offering a more visually stimulating experience.
The POV style makes I AM PLAYR unique in football gaming terms and the ability of the designers to add new storylines and features ensures it is constantly evolving. Unquestionably the most frustrating part of the game is that it cares for your health and mental wellbeing in a way that Football Manager never has done. There is no chance of playing this game until two in the morning and then waking up at six to resume as there is an enforced ten-hour break between match weeks - though there is a novel way of cutting that time down: successfully completing the 'crossbar challenge' by hitting the woodwork from the halfway line.
I AM PLAYR is very much still in its infancy but its potential to expand is huge, so much so that ex-Arsenal defender Dixon was convinced to move from a character in the game to a real-life investor in it. We R Interactive certainly appears to have written an exciting new chapter into the history of football sims and for the obsessive football fan, this game is an absolute must.
I AM PLAYR is the first-ever POV football game (www.iamplayr.com) from games developers We R Interactive