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About the Story
This must be emphasized from the outset: The Bill Belichick Offseason Simulator is a tool, and not a toy. It does not exist to amuse you. It is meant to train prospective football coaches in the art and science of managing the travails of the offseason.
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As a big fan of absurdist sports writing from the likes of Every Day Should Be Saturday, Fire Joe Morgan, Blackheartgoldpants.com and PFT Commenter, I'm always on the lookout for the next funny and surreal thing. BBOS is it. Whether you like Bill Belichick or hate him, this game transcends mere sports loyalty without resorting to the usual stuffy literary devices that critics say transcends this, that or the other. And I bet even if you hate American football, you'll like this, too.
For those not aware, Bill Belichick coaches the New England Patriots, and he's won quite a bit with them, all the while being kind of crotchety to the media and having his own fashion sense. He has an ability to take players nobody else thought was all that good and turn them into superstars. And so BBOS is, superficially, about his uncanny ability to do that, and his day-to-day operations as he looks for that next hidden superstar or designs that killer offensive play.
If you've read the introduction, though, you probably figure it's not going to try to be very realistic. At every stage it's largely unclear what is the best option, because the game puzzles purposely make as little sense as possible, except when the answer is obvious on purpose. And even if you guess wrong, you get a funny ending to back-arrow out of, complete with nonsense final score.
Your first big decision is whether to sleep in or get to work, and navigating the game's navel-gazing successfully gets you 1/7 of a code to put into a computer to design the ultimate offensive play. It's a purposefully annoying end sequence that still manages to block anyone wanting to cheat their way through, but there are spoilers on the 'net if you just want to win and see Pixel Bill Belichick earn even more atrociously practical gear to wear when he paces the sideline.
Still, sifting through Bill Belichick's other "boring" tasks to get all the codes is worth it, and it goes pretty quickly because the game doesn't pull that 5 second delay some needier twine games like to. You'll find codes in an impossibly huge hardware store where you click through about 40 aisles to find a doorknob, behind a rock band you need to "fight" (anybody having fun is a distraction, you see,) set a clock radio correctly, or win some weird board game. You get another piece for (Spoiler - click to show)assembling a superstar wide receiver from spare parts, which is a superior option to trading for one, drafting one or signing one in free agency. The game's rather rough, there. There's only one choice that's right. I picked it, but then I made sure the others did something cool when you made the wrong choice. They did.
The bad-good graphics and captions had me laughing, from the ways you swim through a pile of clothes to the various aisles in the hardware store, and really, it's just a pleasure to mess around and say, wait, I didn't poke that yet?
I'd really like to see more Twine games like this. It's about as inexcusable as you can get without resorting to profanity, and that suits me fine. It shouldn't take more than an hour, and maybe you won't think of it at all when it's done, but in an ideal world, we'd have a string of games like this we could just play and enjoy, so that doesn't really matter.
Wait, no. That's not quite true. When watching highlights this fall, I fully expect to remember some random stupid part of this game I didn't think I would when I see Belichick grouching on the sidelines, and that will be awesone.
I once had to shut down my laptop in the middle of a Jon Bois BREAKING MADDEN column, because if I continued reading one more word I was going to die suffocating from laughter. And now he's made an IF?!?!?
I know next to nothing about sports (sports people, sports rules, sports politics), yet I cherish each and every Bois column that he produces. (He also films a great off-topic video series, PRETTY GOOD, which is viewable on YouTube. I like the one about poker.). Yes, I'm a fan, and it thrills me to no end that he has deigned to sprinkle our obscure game genre with his hilarifying, absurdist, cosmic wit.
If lines like: "Crafting a receiver is most consistent with the Bill Belichick system. after all, you found Wes Welker in a pile of leaves, and you built Julian Edelman with a pottery wheel" occur to you as funny, even though you don't know who these people are, you will probably enjoy THE BILL BELICHICK OFFSEASON SIMULATOR. I know I am!
(Rating omitted because of fanlove.)
This was a very enjoyable game which is why it must be full of bugs. I like how the player needs to choose different paths to collect all of the items necessary for the win. A good 10 minutes of fun.
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