You know, the Production editors are so overworked here at Format Towers the only fun they ever get is making snide little remarks about us overworked (well, this month anyway) and very underpaid (ahem) reviewers.
You and I, dear reader, are above such things. Come with me as I attempt to get Bristol Rovers from Second division obscurity to the very top of the Premiership. Where they would rightly be. Oh yes.
It's now 2pm on a wet Wednesday afternoon. So far I have picked my team and told them I want them to play in a 4-4-2 formation, taking a direct approach to their football. I have neither bought nor sold any players yet. My team are about to play their first match. I should also tell you that it has taken since midday to get The Gas (as they shall henceforth be known) this far.
The screen is currently black, save for a small spinning ball in the middle. The room is silent save for the occasional humming of the disk drive. It's now 2.15pm and I'm reading the Guardian. The screen is still very black.
2.40pm and I'm beginning to think the game's crashed. I am, however, very reluctant to re-boot because it's taken so long to get here. The drive light is still on anyway. A few desperate mouse clicks and key presses have apparently done nothing.
I'm inclined not to bother trying to sign or sell players simply because of the tedious waiting times...
Back to the paper. 2.44pm and I'm going to re-boot. Here goes.
2.45pm. Disk one in the drive and 'Start Game' selected. Yes, a new game please. Yes I've got two disks that the game can use as disks three and four.
2.46pm, disk two in the drive. And the game's to be called Spike for historical reasons - I won't bore you with the details.
2.47pm and disk three's in the drive.
2.49pm and disk four is in the drive. Ho hum.
2.51pm. 'Player 1 select team' it says here. Bristol Rovers are selected and the manager's name is duly entered. Disk four is changed for disk three and then changed back again. And again. And again.
2.55pm and a small blue window's appeared on the screen telling me that it has '65% Shortlist Updating'. This sounds very groovy. More disk swapping.
3pm and we're at '18% international Team Creation', or at least I think that's what the little blue note is saying because it's extremely difficult to read writing that's horribly tiny and horribly blurred. More disk swapping.
3.01pm and the game's telling me which friendlies England will be playing during the coming season. I fancy Bulgaria to get a beating. The black screen's back. 3.02pm and I now know who Northern Ireland will be playing during the coming season.
The game now rapidly (by its standards) runs through who Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales will also be playing during the coming season before going back to its favourite black screen. I fancy this will be some time so I'm nipping out of the office for a cigarette (don't try this at home kids). It's 3.07pm.
3.15pm and I'm being told that our first match in the Coca Cola League Cup will be at home on Weds 21 August to Lincoln City. That should be a win for us.
3.40pm and the screen's still black. I'm very close to giving this up completely. I think this game stinks.
Disk swapping again before watching more black screens. It's now half an hour since I took control at the Memorial Ground and I've yet to see my squad set up.
3.21pm and we're at the game's main menu screen. I've just hit the 'Advance' option to get us to the first match. The screen's gone black.
3.25pm and apparently Plymouth Argyle have appointed Kevin Lock as their new manager. Great.
3.40pm and the screen's still black. I'm very close to giving this up completely. I think this game stinks. Why on Earth have they been so crap? Apparently, if the game's manual is to be believed, the waiting is simply because this started life as "...a PC CD ROM game". We have tried to modify it as best we can but it is rather a memory intensive game for a machine like the amiga..."
What a load of rot.
Championship Manager 2 is more than a major disappointment. If you've already bought the game, then I'm inclined to say 'serves you right. You should have waited for the review' but I won't, just because I can understand the impatience of a hardened gamesplayer.
I've played a few games now. Rovers are doing quite well but it's still not riveting stuff, I'm inclined not to bother trying to sign or sell players simply because of the tedious waiting times between each screen.
The commentary during matches is fun for the first couple of games but soon becomes repetitive and you're basically left with a dull, hard to read football management game that simply hasn't been anywhere near worth the wait.