A lot has been said about how addictive Sports Interactive's long running football management series is. It ruins lives, while simultaneously investing them with the kind of tactical satisfaction that Arsene Wenger pours on his cornflakes every morning.
But here's the best indicator of how addicted to Football Manger 2005 we are: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas got pushed to one side only days after we finally got our paws on it, and we guarantee the attention we give to Halo 2 will also suffer when it's released next Thursday.
Now, let's not get too excited. We still absolutely adore San Andreas and we're bricking ourselves at the prospect of hammering into Halo 2. We're not saying FM 2005 is better than them. But it's a hell of an achievement for any game to turn out heads from the two biggest console releases of the year.
And FM 2005's gone and done it. A disclaimer: if you don't have any interest in football, forget about it. But then you won't be reading this anyway. And a health warning: if you are in any way predisposed to the seriously addictive qualities of Sports Interactive's footie management games you too will be as hopelessly smitten as us.
The most striking thing is how different FM looks, but how similar it plays to previous versions (if you haven't been keeping score, Football Manager 2005 is sourced from the same code as Championship Manager, but Sports Interactive no longer holds the brand name - Eidos has that, and Championship Manager 5, a whole new game built from scratch, is due out early next year. Phew!). Take no notice of people saying that it still looks 'rubbish'. That's hardly the point. It's like saying Microsoft Word looks rubbish because it's just a white page with black letters.
Functionality is the point here, and FM 2005 functions better than any of its previous incarnations. Navigation is quick, easy and pleasurable, and the slick new interface even manages to look - dare we say it? - pretty stylish.
Then there's the match engine. Let's get one thing straight: people who say Football Manager's matches look crap because they're not played out by 3D players doing jerky 3D moves on a 3D pitch are wrong. Fact. FM 2005's basic 2D depiction of the sport of football is by far the most realistic depiction of the beautiful game ever seen on console or computer. Yup, even Pro Evo. Sure, you're not strictly in control of your players, but everything moves exactly as it should and exactly as you would expect - and that includes embarrassing errors by your overpaid stars.
Immediate improvements are a more realistically moving ball and players with more fluid and reliable movement. Things you notice the more you pay are the way your midfielders play more intelligent through balls to your more intelligently slippery forwards, the way your defenders now shut down every loose ball rather than standing off and gifting it to the opponent, and the way goalmouth scrambles seem truly random rather than the frustratingly and seemingly pre-scripted outcomes of previous versions.
Furthermore, players with higher skill ratings display their talents far more tangibly. When you see your lightning winger feint with one foot and nutmeg the defender with the other it seems much more accurately captured than anything Pro Evo or FIFA offer.
This all helps to capture your expertly (or otherwise) designed tactics in greater detail than ever. It's a good thing, since you've got more control over those tactics than ever. Slider bars to allow fine-tuning are a fantastic addition, as are specific player roles like playmaker and target man that assign particular mindsets to and individual's game.
Then there's the improved transfer system borne out of an enhanced player search feature, the tweaked training screen which facilitates your preparation better than ever, and, our favourite, the expanded media interaction and 'manager mindgames'. Want to tell Alex Ferguson what you really think of him? On you go, but remember that every action has a consequence. The greatest thing about this feature is that as the season's roll on you'll develop a much greater reputation within the gameworld and your relationships with other players and managers will develop accordingly. Rivalries become more intense than ever, and friendships an interesting diversion.
But the most important things about Football Manager 2005 are the countless small improvements in every single area that, if we listed them individually, you'd probably shrug your shoulders and say, "so?"
Which is sort of the point. Football Manager 2005's not revolutionary, simply because it didn't need to be. Trust us. Put all the little tweaks and big improvements together and Football Manager 2005 becomes the most intensely addictive and rewarding football management experience you'll ever enjoy.
Until the next one, we suppose.
Football Manager 2005 is in shops across Europe now.