Jumpers for Goal Posts 1

Jumpers for Goalposts – Gentle yet addictive football simulation

The Aim

The aim is basically to rise to football stardom in a similar vein to New Star Soccer, beginning as nothing more than an amateur, local-park footballer that uses jumpers for goalposts and is his own referee and refining skills like volleys, penalties, and snapshots in order to catch the attention of scouts from various football clubs. If you manage to boot you career into overdrive, then you get the opportunity to earn obscene amounts of money but also have to be mindful of balancing your success with other concerns such as pleasing the media, massaging your own profile and keeping it raised to grab the attention of bigger and better clubs, and even find love/lust by getting a girlfriend and buying flashy cars and houses.

Gameplay

You begin in the class of ‘backyard rookie’ and must engage in some tricky training simulation where you must use the mouse to practice your volleys, penalties, and snap shots; enough points must be scored in each area to attract the attention of clubs wishing to offer you contracts. Each of the elements of training are controlled with your mouse, with volleys being an absolutely infuriating test of your judgement of the ball’s position, penalties being a test of your ability to stop a flickering line at the correct point on the goal, and snapshots being a reactions test that is equally as annoying as the volleys.  Don’t take too long about your training, though, since each attempt at a session makes one week of your career pass by, reminding you both of the fleeting nature of life and also the fact that the sooner you become proficient, the sooner you can begin your career and start earning a regular wage.

The quality of clubs that come knocking on your door depends on the points you score during your training, and once you are signed, you enter into some classic management aspects of the game such as filling your diary up with training, afternoon rest, or choosing to ‘have some fun’. As well as training, you can socialise by going out for drinks, going to the cinema, or going to restaurants. Essentially, the aim is to balance your media approval rating, your girlfriend approval, and your management approval by socialising to meet girls and apparently attracting girls by owning nice cars/houses. The management aspect is interspersed with matches that take place via written commentary, with frequent dips into the game to simply score goals in the game manner as the training, only this time it’s for real on the green, green grass of the football pitch.

A Fickle Sport

The game is generous enough to give you ten years as footballer before it calls curtains on your career; whether you end up being a wildly successful professional that has enough money to require multiple money clips or a dismal failure prone to injury and allergic to allowing the ball to touch the net is really up to you and your performance in the game, making Jumpers for Goalposts all the more challenging. The fact that success isn’t inevitable and that you have a limited amount of time to achieve it by balancing your training and your social life puts you under tremendous pressure to succeed and makes Jumpers for Goalposts somewhat of a high-stakes, high-fun title that engages and immerses you with and in the gameplay respectively.

Post-Match

Jumpers for Goalposts is only the first of four immersive football simulation titles from Mousebreaker. The graphics are relatively basic compared to the most recent title Jumpers for Goalposts 4, as is the gameplay, which can be boiled down to just two aspects: mouse-controlled shooting and management of your player’s training and social life on a purely numbers-on-paper basis. While the gameplay is entertaining, and the lure of football stardom is sure to draw in many fans, the series has moved on significantly since this first title, which feels like an ancient relic compared to the games that follow it, though this game is the foundation on which the Jumpers for Goalposts series is based, so it has to be given some credit.

70/100