Friday, July 15, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 42

Stats of Import
Platform: PC
Absurdly Specific Genre: Statistical Anomaly Exploitation System
Beaten: I Won the World Series as the 1991 Twins (and later, in a much more difficult accomplishment, won the world series as the 1998 Twins) That's about all I wanted out of it.

The Jester knows what's up with this.

I've previously shared my childhood love of the old grocery store shareware computer games. That love led me to some treasures (Highway Hunter, Wacky Wheels, etc) and some truly wretched wastes of (my parents') money. One of those wastes of money was Epic Baseball, which essentially allowed you to make managerial decisions as the 1927 Yankees took on the 1965 Dodgers. As a kid, this was a bitter disappointment. At the very least, I wanted to play as my hometown team. I certainly didn't the team that denied them the '65 World Series. Therefore, when I saw Tony LaRussa Ultimate Baseball 2 peeking at me from the store shelves, I decided that this was something I needed to pursue. Sure, it was expensive (five dollars!), the graphics looked cool.

These graphics
Even better, it came pre-loaded with the entire 1992 major league roster. A lot of the right players were still on the team from the '91 World Champions. The gameplay was a little choppy, and a little buggy, but I loved that game like none other. I soon found that the game also came pre-loaded with "classic" teams like the 1927 Yankees and the 1965 Twins, as well as (in one of its coolest features) a team full of the old Negro League stars. I mixed, matched and traded for quite some time, before deciding that the game's replay had finally been exhausted.

Then I found the player editor.

Suddenly, there was literally no limit to the players I could make. I immediately created the entire 1991 baseball season. I learned that the game had very little idea what "small sample size" was (1991 Paul Sorrento was a god among men), but that did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. Pretty soon, I made a league made up of my friends, comic book characters, and heroes of baseball past. I mean, seriously... in the above image, Waite Hoyt is pitching to Joe Mauer. With a little imagination, Pedro Martinez could be trying to strike out Spiderman, or Han Solo could be facing off against Babe Ruth. There have been better baseball simulators out there, and there have been better statistical games out there, but I've never played a sports game of any type that has captured my attention and imagination like this one has.

It turns out that using five pitchers in an inning isn't the only thing that he knows how to do!

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