As children, we imagine that its our name chanted from the terraces as we boss the midfield at Elland Road or bend in last minute free-kicks at Wembley. Hell, even at thirty-three years old and with two dodgy knees, a lack of discernible skill and an unrelenting love of crisps, I've often imagined that my weekly five-a-side exploits were sure to earn me an England call-up at some point in the near future. The Three Lions need an unfit, right-footed left-wingback to really bring balance to their squad, right?
With this in mind, with these tales of football glory which still regularly run through my mind, I was delighted to be introduced to New Star Soccer G-Story - a new iOS and Android App that combines reading and simple game-play to winning effect.
As we read through the tale of a rookie footballer trying to make his way to the big leagues, we're confronted with multiple interactive challenges which shape the course of the story. In this respect, G-Story feels much like the latest evolution of a choose your own adventure story but with in-game achievement replacing dice rolling as a key arbiter in one's success.
The story of New Star Soccer is rather a simple one and one aimed at young children who are just beginning to fall in love with football and understand the romance of the "beautiful game". Equally, this is an app aimed at inspiring youngsters to become engrossed in the joys of reading, of becoming immersed in words, and to take their first steps into the gaming world too. Anything which can encourage reading in young boys gets my two thumbs up.
The tale begins with an amateur footballer scouted by the big leagues - imagine the Jamie Vardy story retold in hand-held gaming format. As we read about the trials and tribulations of the career of an up and coming sport star, we are challenged, too, to practice shooting, dribbling and tackling with a series of concise touch-screen challenges. The more one masters these, the more likely the story is to have a happy ending - within the 180'000 words of text contained in the game, multiple endings can be achieved depending on how the reader/player does at the mini-games. Failure to convert penalties can, just as in real life, cause disaster.
Whilst this isn't the most complex of games, it doesn't need to be. This is an app which encourages dreaming and imagination rather than simply providing a distraction.
To download the game for iOS, please click here.