Tom goes back to his roots and finds he's still addicted.
Our honourable mentions are games we feel deserve praise but didn't make it into our games of the year list. This might be because the game in question wasn't released in 2012 or simply because only one person felt the game was worthy of consideration. This is our chance to give these games some time in the limelight.
I've been playing a lot of football games this year, even more than usual. In moments away from a PC or console I've been glued to New Star Soccer - a game which rightly featured in our Games of the Year shortlist. When sat at home in the evening I've often turned to FIFA 13, playing a couple of league games before bed, enjoying what is the best FIFA yet, but is sorely underappreciated in this office of football haters. But recently it's Football Manager 2013 that I've been playing the most.
Lunch times at work had been reserved for FIFA, but these days I'm glued to my screen of stats and coloured blobs. While I won't pretend that Football Manager is a series that radically changes every year, FM13's introduction of Classic Mode is what has allowed me to have so much fun during my work hour.
I used to be a Football Manager die hard, playing the game incessantly for hours on end, day after day. I then moved to Football Manager Live, which took over my life in a way a video game hadn't managed before. I was hardcore, clocking up in excess of six hours play time per day, but then Sports Interactive pulled the plug, FM Live was no more, and my love of Football Manager died.
Other than little dips into the core FM series, I've been more or less away from the game since then, but the lure of a faster, easier to play version of FM in 2013 brought me back. And I'm back in a big way.
Classic Mode might sound like a simple idea, probably because it is, but its streamlined offering is ideal for anyone who simply doesn't have the time to trawl through the full-fat version's millions of menus, options, and stats pages. You don't get the same level of control or interaction with your squad, but you get just enough to feel like you are in control, which is all that really matters.
For me buying and selling players has always been one of the series' main attractions. There's a thrill in signing a star player that didn't seem possible, thanks to some shrewd business offloading some aging players at higher than reasonable prices. In my first season I bought Rossi for £35m, which was an awful lot of money, but he's scored a goal every 105 minutes, which I think is a decent return. I've just splashed out £32m on 19-year-old Argentinian Lucas Ocampos - a move I hope won't haunt me as I had to offload Adebayor and Dempsey to bump up my transfer fund.
The best thing I can say about Football Manager 2013 is that I get sucked in. It's no lie to say that at times I've blurred reality with the virtual world, getting slightly confused about whether a result happened in my game or in the real world. It's a shame FM isn't closer to real life as I currently sit top of the Premier League, the squad I inherited is improving all the time, and I've just had my contract extended until 2019.