Sick As A Parrot

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Soccer Gaming Review

It has been requested that I do an update on SaaP ... which would be fair enough, as there has been a (numerous) fair amount of updates to the game since 2003 v3.0, which was the last version to appear here. And perhaps the time's right ... I must admit that I've learned a lot about the game in the time that has passed.

One thing's for sure: If you want to conquer SaaP (or let it conquer you for that matter) you'll need to give it time. Time is essential in getting to know SaaP. You'll need to allow the game to embrace you (quote Stephen King: 'it grows on you'), i.e. give yourself time to get to know it. I'm still in the learning/exploration-phase, but I'm slowly beginning to grasp the whole idea of the game, how it works and how to successfully cope with the problems/situations presented in the game.

The actual navigation has become much better since earlier versions, so that's fairly easy (not optimal - but heading the right way), but whom to speak to, when, where and why (the actual managing; I shouldn't find this hard, been doing this for years now; Number games though - which would currently include any other game than SaaP. But is there a growing community of new style games out there?) is slowly finding it's way through the thick, dark, creeping mist in my head (well, don't ask me about my past, please - had my share of 'fun' =).

So, I'm still learning and one of the reasons to why I'm progressing is the SaaP board and really one person in particular (besides Mac of course) and that is K.J. His insight and understanding of the game is truly spectacular (I could suspect him to be Mac's Alter Ego at times, sorry but ... how can he … well, never mind, sorry …both of you *grin*). I really would be honoured to have him play my game. The Ferguson (Zidane?) of the SaaP world =) Ah! Well!

A good starting point for newcomers would be to join the board and drink from the (his) Fountain of Knowledge. The Tips 'n Tricks thread is here and laugh or weep along with the stories of success and/or failure of SaaP-gamers in the Dynasties section. But remember that all these tactics ideas and performance boost experiences can merely act as a compass as there are no obvious solutions to things in SaaP.

I really enjoy the posts in the forum and find the interaction with Mac very exciting and I think it's a magnificent way of influencing/helping out and ultimately forming the game to everybody's need (with Mac as supervisor of course) (he's very conservative with regards to the future of the game, but might be for the better in the end).

SaaP is probably the most sophisticated SMG around and I chose to stick to that. Damn! It's like my choice in women - and I married her =) ... I believe it's only K.J. that married SaaP :-P (threats and hate/flamemail will be received at And I think that's one of the major reasons as to why SaaP is not the biggest thing around (not that it's not single anymore, but because it's sophisticated (no, really; You might as well just skip the rest =/).

I do not think that it's the UI that's scaring potential gamers away. In fact I like it as it is. It appears whole and is easy on the eyes and so on (customisable backgrounds; Why not create and share?) But what I do think makes newcomers go away is the data-presentation. In SaaP there's no true central stats screen e.g. the player data screen changes depending on which coach you ask and I think it would help putting more info on the central player info screen and make it easier for the newcomer to get the info he/she want. That's what I think, but perhaps the stats for your own team in the pseudo internet thing to come, would suffice?

As said the future of SaaP includes the introduction of a pseudo internet, where you'll be able to 'log-on' and visit club-sites to get statistical information about the club and view goal scoring charts, playing records and such on a portal site about soccer. True SaaP-style: It needs to be as real as possible. The opinions of the coaches and scouts are being worked on and the match graphics will be improved e.g. animation of corners, free kicks, etc. with improved tactical control to follow and much more.

SaaP is definitely a game for the knowledgeable fan (thanks, Mac was: feinschmeckers). A game that in spite of its age is in constant movement/development See this page. It's a Gamers Game. A different game that you really should give yourself time to learn the game and how it works whom/where/what and you'll soon enough notice that it's a game that lasts much longer and ultimately give you much more pleasure (what is your pleasure, sir? =) than any other game on the marked. Be challenged.


I just came across this post on the FoF message board (gridiron). It gives some idea on how the "outside world" sees the game:

Mac Howard has done an excellent job with his sim Sick as a Parrot in providing information about players through coach and scout opinions, practice session results and gameplay evaulations in presenting the abilities of a player without using any numerical ratings whatsoever. Sick as a Parrot is one of the most unique and most fun sports simulations I have ever played because of the way this is handled.

Advertising copy and even reviews are met these days with some skepticism. So what I've done here is to draw out comments from the users' message board to illustrate the reactions to SaaP. You'll see that these are not neat "sound bites" but spontaneous copy taken out of the middle of user conversations. Hopefully, these will have more credibility than anything we can say. Check out the message board for more comments.

First, comments relevant to the overall quality of SaaP:

"A great game .....! I've spent pretty well 3 days on it non-stop and can't get off my computer. My girlfriend is leaving me, the family is disowning me, but these are minor bumps compared to my financial situation and lack of depth in the defense."

"I would like to convey a special thank you to Mac who could actually design a game that has made me oblivious to the blizzard over the Big Apple!"

"........... was the best SMG *until* I discovered SaaP. In contrast, every new season brings new challenges."

"No contest, SaaP beats it in EVERY aspect."

As to SaaP's realism, challenge and tactical effectiveness:

"Indeed, SaaP is the closest depiction of real-life football with all its uncertainties."

"Just got the game. First impression - it looks good and having played all the other SMGs, I find this a bit difficult, but that's what I was looking for."

"Stick with it Tony it's a great game."

"I know what you mean. I usually just skip the tactics etc in other games, and always win still. But I always lose in SaaP if I don't."

"Mark, a "typical gamer" regarding SaaP is someone who rarely or never wins the League Championship without cracking the tactical stuff, which from my understanding is the norm."

On the value of the SaaP Online subscription system:

"The level of service you provide your members far exceeds anything I've seen out of corporate game publishers. The time I spend playing SaaP and participating in the community also easily surpasses anything I would dedicate to a normal box title."

"Well done, Mac, this reinforces the value of subscribing to a game this way and allowing for programmer-user interaction."

"Altogether, it is most definitely a win-win situation."

The first of these comments came from the employee of a very well known game publisher :>)

The response and expectations of new upgrades:

"Congrats, Mac. An excellent year of updates."

"The new animations are great, Mac, for the sake of looking further, what others will you be introducing?"

"HOORAY!!! The URL for SaaP 1.50 is now available. Check your emails! HOORAY!!!"

This last was in response to my announcement of SaaP 1.50 after a number of delays :>)

I found this description on a WAREZ copy (now defunct) of an early version of SaaP.

This is a REALLY GOOD soccer management sim. It contains virtually every single aspect of soccer team management. It's WAY more advanced and realistic than any other soccer management sim. Anyway, it's amazing to see such a great title from an unknown company as The Midnight Oil.

It then went on to advise readers to log on and buy the game but I'm not sure how much notice of this average WAREZ fan took :>)

A Review of Supremo 98 and Sick As A Parrot preview - Soccer Games Homepage

Well, here it is. The best Soccer Managament game for DOS. I like this game. Nice. Very detailed - and includes statistics and information about almost everything, the players' different abilities, seasons gone and so forth. It is really brilliant. This '98 version offers you the match in 3D if you wish, but in my point of view it doesn't matter that much. You ought to buy this game in order to play the full version - or you'll miss some good features: like editor, International matches or combined League/International matches. It's a great game, but not for the novice.

As a new thing the author has added the option on the games' homepage to buy a year's subscription of the game - and its three brothers Supremo League, Supremo international, SAAP League and SAAP International. Supremo being the DOS version and Sick As A Parrot (SAAP) the Windows version. As far a I can see not many changes - if any *. This subscription lets you enter a Members' Page from where you can download all four full games, including updates and new versions, that'll be available as you're a member. Nice right? This minor fee is really worth it.

* This is a review of Supremo 98 and a pre-release of SAAP 1.00. Current versions are Supremo 99 and SaaP 2001 release 1.05. SaaP, in particular, has many new developments. Check out the "latest news" page for details.

Supremo 97 - A Gem Repolished - Lambourne Games

For the uninitiated, Supremo invites you to take over the management of any English League club which is then transported to the Premier Division where you compete against the other 1997/98 Premier club sides in league and cup competitions.

Nothing new there of course but this is where Supremo becomes interesting as instead of a series of ratings for different skills for your players, all you get is a list of the 16 in your First Team Squad (real life players), a 16-strong Reserve Squad (fictitious) and 16 youth players.

All these players do of course have very different 'potential' abilities, your task being to assess these skills and nurture them by working on fitness, confidence and commitment, and moulding your style of play to the talent you have available (the program is very responsive to on-field tactics), or possibly rebuilding your team until you have acquired the type of players you need to play your sort of soccer.

Your coach, once you have hired one, will let you know each player's best qualities and also list the top 16 tacklers in your club, top passers of the ball, etc. But after that it's down to you and every decision you make has some effect on both team performance and individual players morale.

If that wasn't enough, the game also offers you the opportunity to take over the management of the international squad of your choice, either instead of a Premier League club or in addition to it! In this capacity you may be involved initially in either the European Championship or World Cup qualifying competition depending on the point in the cycle at which you enter. Either way you can escape from time to time from the stress of the club manager's seat to the super-stress situation of coaching your national squad for a friendly or 'serious' match, and begin to suffer the frustrations that are an occupational hazard for such mortals with first-choice players unavailable owing to injury or other reasons.

For those who already know the game, Supremo 97 has several very important improvements. Cosmetically the game has always been spoiled, in my opinion, by the very limited goalmouth incident descriptions. But Malcolm Howard has responded to my pestering and has now built in many different shot and save descriptions, and injury and referee action variations, and has even provided an EDIT facility so that even these can be altered to suit your personal taste.

But much more importantly, the game design has also been improved in several ways. The Transfer Market is now much more user-friendly and you can instruct your Scout to seek out players to fit your current needs. The Injury Recovery process is now much more nail-biting, and a colour bar chart on the Main Screen plots your league performance.

However, the most exciting new feature is an option Malcolm has built in at my request. In the basic game whatever team you select to manage starts off in the Premier League at around 15th place strength, be it Manchester United, Southampton - or Rochdale. Now the program offers you the option in which Premier clubs appear at their actual 1997/98 strength, and lower division teams are rated as 'strong first division', the concept being that such clubs have upgraded ground facilities to pull in 15,000 gates - even Rochdale - and have 5 million pounds from a local businessman to build their team up to strength.

This offers a whole new range of opportunities, especially when combined with the EDIT facility which allows you to rejig an Premier club by changing the name, players and abilities. So, effectively you can now slot into the 1997/98 Premier Division your favourite team from the past a top European club side, or even the Pele-era Brazilians.

If you want to try the Rochdale trick but feel 5 million pounds is likely to prove inadequate, an interesting ploy is to sack your Reserve Squad en bloc (putting them on the transfer list will bring in some cash), promote the best of your Youth Squad, who respond much more readily to individual honing of their skills, and start looking around the transfer market. But the variations are nearly endless.

One word of warning! Supremo is not a kid's game and if you try to use it like most better known soccer management games you can rapidly turn even Manchester United into a Rochdale lookalike. The game responds only to a thoughtful, measured approach. Your team plays as well as you allow it to - all individual and team strengths and weaknesses having an effect on the outcome - and your on-field tactics make a real difference. Assuming of course that you've got the players' overall morale right!

You need to cover your opponent's strengths and play to their weaknesses. Have you the right players to do that? You have only your mental pictures of your playing squad to help you decide - no list of ratings.

Still Alex Ferguson seems to manage OK!

Game Features:

Several new features were incorporated in Supremo 97, but everything you liked best has been left unchanged and the author has merely responded to user's suggestions and taken development of the game a stage further. The hands on feel is still there, the responsive match system, where your decisions as manager really do make a difference, remains. Everything that has been added enhances the game still further and provides the user with more options and ways to play the game.


The Shot and Save descriptions have been greatly increased in number and follow a logical pattern. There are also many more varieties of Injury and Referee's Intervention, and there is also now an EDIT facility which allows you to build in your own descriptions.

Scouting For Specific Player Types:

You can now instruct your scout (once you've appointed one) to scour the country and/or Europe for a player who fits your particular needs. You can specify five categories and the Skill Level required for each, or an age group, or valuation, in addition to his playing position and can then examine each player who matches those requirements.

However, if you are too demanding, or too mean with the amount you want to pay, you may find that no names come up. So be realistic - you can always decide not to make an offer if you are unimpressed with the players.

Recovery From Injury:

Most real-life managers would love to know that their injured key player will be out of action for a precise number of weeks, or that a slight thigh strain will automatically mean missing just one match. But few things are as simple as that and you now have a nailbiting procedure to endure with players sometimes making a more rapid than anticipated recovery while others make "no progress this week" and dash your hopes of a full squad to pick from for that big match coming up shortly.

League Progress Colour Bar:

The Main Screen now incorporates a visual display of your league achievements to date with colour bars for wins, draws and losses plotting your league progress week by week.

Replay Version Option:

The most exciting addition is the ability to use either the original design version in which whatever team you select to manage is down/upgraded to the approximate strength of the 15th placed Premier Division team, or the Replay Version where every Premier team is realistically rated as at the start of the 1997/98 season and teams from lower divisions enter the Premier League at the strength of a top Division One club.

In the Replay Version any non-Premier League club chosen is assumed to have won promotion from the 1st Division, their players have proven their enhanced ability in so doing, and their ground has been upgraded to attract and cope with gates of around 15,000. These clubs will start with their real-life 1st Team squad, the usual fictitious Reserve Team squad and their Youth squad.

In addition, and to give them some chance of staying in the Premier Division, you start the campaign with your club funds swollen by 5 million pounds from a local businessman to help you strengthen the team.

More hints and suggestions on playing the Replay Version are provided with the game.

Your All-Time Favourite Team:

Another advantage of the Replay Version is the ability to edit out one of the Premier teams and replace it with your favourite team whether it be a club from the past, a current European team or a composite sqaud of all your favourite players. Again more details on how to do this are provided with the game.


Supremo has always been a great soccer management system for the thinking soccer fan. Now we feel it has greatly expanded scope and we are confident that it will give many, many hours of pleasure.


If you would like to know more, see a demo or take part in the further development of this game then click here:

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