Category Archives: video games

The Unwritten Law of Playoff Video Gaming

When it is playoff time in a professional league, there is an unwritten law between sports gamers.  If I hop into an online game and choose a team involved in a current playoff matchup, I expect my opponent to get the hint and choose the appropriate team also involved in the real life contest.   This weekend, if I go Magic, my opponent goes Cavs.  If I go Man U, my opponent goes Barcelona.  It’s a beautiful understanding I have noticed between hardcore sports gamers. I mean, we are talking about the playoffs.  Yes, Jim Mora,  PLAYOFFS!

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LeBron James does one thing better than MJ..

Star in video games.  No holding out of the NBA Players Union or basketball video games due to having your own license.  I grew up idolizing Jordan, but was disappointed when I could not play with him in multiple iterations of basketball video games.  While MJ popped in and out of editions of NBA Live, NBA Street, and let’s not forget, Space Jam (the video game), LeBron has consistently remained in every NBA-licensed basketball title released during his young and blossoming-by-the-minute career.  Thanks, LeBron.  Oh and thank you for this as well:

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Free Online Sports Games: The Future?

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal ran an interesting feature on the rising popularity of free online sports games.  In tough economic times, free browser-based sports games are catching on with consumers looking to save money.  Games such as MLB Dugout Heroes, a free online baseball game produced by OnNet Inc. (with the MLB license), have found success with those looking to jump into a quick and fun gaming experience on their PCs.  

 

The future, Conan?

The future, Conan?

 

There are certainly lower entry barriers to playing sports games online on your PC as opposed to home consoles.  For example, one does not need to invest in an expensive console setup to enjoy playing an interactive sports game.  However, as a lifelong console sports gamer, I am not ready to trade in my controller for a mouse and PC.  The experiences in such games, despite being affordable and easily accesible,  are nowhere near as deep as they are on established console sports games.

Nevertheless, the article is a great read on a new phenomenon occurring in the sports gaming world.  This is a definite read.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124278562887337713.html

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Is The BIGS 2 Healthy for Major League Baseball’s Image?

Probably not, but it sure will be fun! I can’t help but think Bud Selig is cringing at the thought of the imminent release of 2K Sports’ The BIGS 2.  Check that.  I doubt Bud Selig has played anything past Pong.  Ping Pong.   It’s safe to say however, that 2K has left out steroid testing in its upcoming sequel.  

In all seriousness, I find it hard to believe that Major League Baseball is comfortable with supporting the marketing efforts of TB2.  Don’t get me wrong, the series itself is a blast to play, and I am already mentally preparing myself for some intense office battles.  But as MLB makes every move possible to distance itself and its image away from the tainted steroid era, a game that features player models that make Barry Bonds look like a beanpole can’t be helpful in conquering the asterisk.

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My Top 5 “Earth Day-Centric” Video Games

Earth Day has inspired me to post a top 5 of games that made me think of “saving the environment”. Now I am all about being eco-friendly, so let’s take a look at the games that contributed to this mindset:

5. Metal Gear Solid 3

metal_gear_solid3

Nothing like learning to appreciate the environment by blending in with it to survive. Between putting on camoflague, hunting in the jungle for food, or taking on crazy bosses surrounded by bees, MGS3 is for the tree hugger in all of us.

4. Madden 09

madden09_farve

Hmm, two words: Weather effects. Having the rain cost me some yards while rushing with Brandon Jacobs, or the wind disrupt Eli’s throwing (no playoff jokes, guys), made me think heavily about the effects of global climate change

3. Super Mario World

super-mario-world

Okay, this is a stretch. But as one of the first games that I officially became obsessed with as a kid, I appreciated the world Mario fought to protect against Bowser. This made my want to protect my own world, the Planet Earth.. Let’s move on.

2. Fallout 3

fallout3-028

Nothing like a nuclear wasteland to make you realize the importance of trees, lakes, breathable air….

1. Duck Hunt

duckhunt

At an early age, I learned it is important to appreciate the marshlands and protect wildlife santuaries. A lesson one is never too young to learn. Thanks NES!

In all seriousness, REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE folks! Earth Day FTW!

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MI6: Peter Moore and EA Sports are Feeling Casual, Should We Feel Good?

We know he is all about getting physical! Did Richard Simmons just buy a Wii?

Last week, San Francisco managed to squeeze one more video game conference out:  the MI6 Video Game Marketing Conference.  EA Sports President Peter Moore addressed a crowd eager to hear how EA Sports is planning to tackle the emerging casual market.  Now, for the hardcore fans of Madden, Fifa, etc., Moore explained that the future is bright  (did you expect him to say anything else?)  The more interesting aspect of Moore’s presentation was its focus on targeting the casual market.

The casual market, which has been a cash cow for Nintendo this generation, is one that EA Sports looks to go after as it readies itself for the release of EA Sports Active, a Wii Sports/Fit competitor that offers one thing that Nintendo couldn’t to soccer moms, grandparents, and well, anyone else who owns a Wii – the EA Sports branding.

peter-moore

Photo Courtesy of Venture Beat

As Venture Beat reports:

” The average player of EA Sports Active will “probably be a woman, 35, with two kids at home,” who wants to stay fit, Moore said. Someone from the team demoed the game on-stage, quickly playing through a running game, a boxing game, and more. EA Sports Active will be customizable, both in the type of sports you play and the intensity of the workout, and it will include a a stretch band, as well as a tool for attaching part of the Wii remote to your leg (so it can track track the movement of your whole body). But why would someone play this instead of Wii Fit? Moore compared the difference between the two products to that between eastern (Wii) and western (EA) fitness. Whereas Wii Fit emphasizes things like proper form and balance, EA Sports Active will “make sure you actually risk breaking into a sweat.”

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?  By going after the casual market, EA Sports will have a chance to profit off of a consumer base that is (going by the success of Wii Sports) eager to implement gaming into its “lifestyle”.   I think this is a smart strategy by EA and a great opportunity for them to extend the EA Sports brand name.   Here are my only concerns.

While I am all for introducing new users to sports video games, I am not quite comfortable with having titles such as EA Sports Active, Wii Fit, etc. try to position themselves as tools for exercise.  I’ll admit, I have not seen enough of EA Sports Active to make a judgment as to whether Peter Moore’s claim that the title will induce “sweat” is true or not.  I have seen Wii Sports and Wii Fit in action, and let me tell you, you aren’t looking like this after a few rounds of Wii Boxing:

Second,  as someone who looks forward to every new detail in the more hardcore EA Sports titles, I am a bit concerned that by focusing on the casual market, EA may take some attention (and resources) away from new Maddens, Tigers, and Fifas.  I hope EA Sports can give the appropriate attention to its loyal consumer base that it deserves.  Will the casual 35-year-old Mom with two kids appreciate improved physics and enhanced QB vision as much as a “Maddenite” would?

I’ll be keeping a close eye on EA Sports Active and am hoping that in the end, both the hardcore and the casual are satisfied.  Because who doesn’t want to look good in spandex, right?

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MLB 09: The Show Review

mlb09-the-show

AWESOME

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