One of my favorite Out of the Park stories of late is that of an internet poster who felt his father could have made the major leagues as a pitcher, were it not for college-age life choices which derailed that outcome. This individual created his father as a 19-year-old pitching prospect in a fictional version of the 1979 major leagues. Despite nagging injuries, his virtual father went on to win nine Cy Young awards and made ten All-Star teams. His career nearly overlapped with that of his son (drafted by the same team, by chance), before retiring and becoming a coach.
After the jump, Out of the Park Baseball is once again the holodeck of baseball. Continue reading →
I’m a baseball gamer, generally in it for the majestic flight path of a home run driven into the stands of increasingly photo-realistic polygonal stadiums, or the cortisol spike of protecting a one run lead in the ninth, trying to pin a pitching meter with nervous fingers. I mostly spend my time in the reflex-driven, console end of the baseball gaming pool, where the word “simulation” largely refers to the delicate negotiation between making user input meaningful while making sure players still play like their real-life counterparts.
So why am I writing about a baseball management sim, after the jump? Continue reading →
Goodbye Chase D’arnaud. Be good Lastings Milledge. Take care Dirk Berkowitz (see you at Thanksgiving).
I’ve been traded. To the New York Mets. Well, the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons for now. On the Vita our home stadium sits amidst non-descript rural greenery, while on the Playstation 3 we’re in a stadium under a bridge with a view of the Empire State Building that’s either in Hoboken or Queens or maybe even geographically impossible.
After the jump, blindsided Continue reading →
Floundering, caught in a statistical tailspin, unable to effectively put bat on ball and looking to recalibrate, I remember and resort to a fallback philosophy of hitting… patience. I vow to not swing at any first pitch, no matter how fat, juicy, and over the plate it may appear.
After the jump, zen and the art of stinking up the joint… Continue reading →
Despite being currently mired in a slump with no end in sight, I’m tickled pink with this game as of late. The game’s inherent frustrations (in that it accurately models a sport where succeeding a mere three times out of ten can grant you All-Star status) can be maddening while packed in amongst the hordes on a crowded, jostling subway car, but last night as I returned home from my level one Spanish class on a largely empty F train, the enormity of what I held in my hands took root. A burgeoning baseball world, beautifully rendered, creating a portable bubble of alternate reality (I know that’s just a flowery description for any successful handheld game, so sue me).
After the jump, all thumbs Continue reading →
Erstwhile infield rival Chase “Frenchie” D’Arnaud got promoted alongside me, up to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. I know we had our beef, but it’s cool now, honestly. He’s playing shortstop over on that side of the bag, and I’m over here playing second base. Hell, I might even turn the fielding back on for a little while so we can turn some double plays together. And here’s the kicker: Chase D’Arnaud is a real life dude! Goes to show you what I know.
After the jump, random hearts Continue reading →
It’s my Road to the Show player’s virtual birthday, and the Pirates organization has given me two very special gifts… a promotion to play Triple-A baseball with the Indianapolis Indians, and the return of my starting second baseman job! See, the disappearance of my advancement goals wasn’t some glitch or show of organizational apathy. It was simply a dark, quiet room full of friends and co-workers, waiting to jump out and shower me with love and presents.
After the jump, built to Lastings Continue reading →
It’s August, hot as balls in Altoona (play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian likes to tell me the game-time temperature), and the season is scooting along. At some point along the way, I’ve lost my starting status and been demoted to the backup second baseman for the Curve. I’m getting spot starts at second base and right field (my secondary position is as an all-purpose outfielder) but sometimes a couple games will fly by without my insertion, the schedule’s calendar boxes filling in with simulated results I took no part in. What have I done (or not done) to deserve this?
Afer the jump, absentee landlord Continue reading →
I’m finally in Pirate gold, with a yellow bat to match. It feels good in the hands, with a thin grip and extra weight on the end so momentum can help make up the strength my arms lack. The pitch comes in looking big and fat, and I take a whack, knocking it deep in the alley between the left and center fielders.
After the jump, I’ll Show you mine if you Show me yours… Continue reading →
Confession time. For a series that I count as among my all-time favorites, I’ve never finished a season, or played a Road to the Show career through to retirement. I went years-deep on the latter back in 2007 on the old Playstation Portable version before my locker was broken into at the YMCA and my system stolen. They tried unsuccessfully to purchase thousands of dollars worth of sneakers with my debit card, but ultimately had their purchases invalidated. The career of Mets second baseman Seth Berkowitz was tragically cut short, however. Unless they kept playing it. That would be weird.
After the jump, a subway series Continue reading →
Sony Computer Entertainment of America missed a trick. They could have partnered with Majestic (makers of fine baseball apparel) to allow you to purchase customized, real-life jerseys based on the ones you appear in throughout your Road to the Show career. Let the game creep into your real life as your in-game jersey appears in your mailbox with your name sewn on the back for the low, low price of $99. I would be powerless to resist. The ‘buy’ button that launches the PSN store could pop up during your first appearance in uniform, which in my case was batting practice before my first scheduled start at second base. Dusk was descending, and Wynton Marsalis’s rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner echoed from the stadium speakers. It was a stirring, pastoral scene, and would have been an opportune time for commerce to have its way with me.
After the jump, striking out on my own Continue reading →
I click the age option as high as it will go, just out of curiosity. It stops at forty-five. So I could create a forty-five year old rookie if I wanted to. I’m highly skeptical of what kind of future that player would have, though. I could try and forge a late-blooming phenom, like Roy Hobbs in The Natural (though even Hobbs was a comparatively spry thirty-five when he finally made it to the big leagues), but Road to the Show is at heart a role-playing game, and at the outset I’m only given a meager allotment of experience points to divide amongst various skills. This is a game that makes a point of showing you the list of retirees after any given season, along with their reason for exiting the game, be it age, injury, or ineffectiveness. I can’t help but think my forty-five year old rookie would show up on that very list after one, maybe two seasons tops, and shitty seasons at that, toiling away in some minor league backwater, batting .238 for the Tulsa Drillers, never even sniffing the major leagues.
After the jump, rolling an alt Continue reading →