Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Scott & Jean: Wasted Story Potential (Part 1)

So there’s this new meme making the rounds on the comic blogs asking the question: What is your Scott & Jean? In the words of one of the drivers of this phenomenon, “What is the one thing that you are so passionate about that you just cannot discuss it rationally?”

You –possibly being 12% less geeky than I and not a reader of comics- may not know what the Scott & Jean bit means. If you have to know, it refers to the X-Men characters Scott Summers and Jean Grey and their “meant to be” relationship. For like 30 years they were the mutant couple. And then they were broken up (by Grant Morrison, I think) and then Jean was killed (yet again) and Summers was matched up with The White Queen, Emma Frost. Many, many people hated this tampering with one of the few relationships in the Marvel universe that was supposed to be of the fairytale “it’s meant to be” variety. (Shut up. Some of us are romantics! Though, in this case, I could give a damn.) Thus is born the Scott & Jean (TM?), the thing that should not ever be messed with or otherwise jacked up and if it should happen then the purveyors of said tragedy will suffer your wrath on various Internet forums and blogs. (Okay, I think I low-balled that 12% figure above. If you didn’t know this story you’re possibly 35% less geeky than I. Congrats to you!)

So, the question –as being collated at AlertNerd- is what is your Scott & Jean. I had to think long and hard about this. (Cue obligatory and lame “long and hard” joke.) One of the best answers by far is here at Faust’s Fantastically Phantasmagoric Forum (best title evah). I love this bit:

Christopher Nolan will have us believe that Batman is just some thug in a cape who beats that snot out of gangsters and needs Morgan Freeman’s help to come up with an antidote for Scarecrow’s fear gas.  Um, no.  Sorry, Mr. Nolan, but you are wrong.  Batman does not need anyone’s help coming up with an antidote.  He can come up with an antidote in his sleep, while he does the crossword puzzle and designs a new Batmobile.  Why?  Because Batman is a freakin’ genius!  That’s it.  End of story.  And do you know what else Batman can do?  He can break into a skyscraper all by his lonesome, as well, thank you very much.  I don’t care if it’s in Hong Kong.  I don’t care if it’s on the Moon.  He’ll get there, he’ll break in, and he’ll do it without your help.

I love that.

As much as I didn’t agree with the premise, I loved Kristina Wright’s answer at Geeked. (Giving Spike a soul for Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s 7th and final season.)

4th Letter definitely hit the nail on the head with theirs. The only thing I hate more than stories with stagnant character (Seinfeld excepted) is when writers (or whomever) take characters that have evolved and revert them back to a previous status quo because they can’t deal with change. (This happens a lot in comics. God, don’t even get me started with what Marvel did with Spider-Man.) So, with that topic taken, I came up with another: Squandered Story Potential. 

Life is full of squandered potential. When I die, my tombstone will read “Here' lies Todd. Potential squandered.” Maybe that’s why it irks me so much when I see it. Either way, I’m a huge giant geek for good stories and when I see potentially wonderful stories fall short of the mark –even if the result isn’t specifically bad- I hate it. Hate. It. I won’t let go of it. Ever.

So, as this is already long and, like Pontiac, I build excitement, I’ll cut this short here. Tomorrow I will post my top five Scott & Jean Storylines of Potential Wasted. Be there!

Undead and Dark Elves and Deathrollers -- Oh My!

"Focus Home Interactive has also confirmed that additional teams--including undead and dark elf--will be made available after the game ships on the PC, Xbox 360, and, possibly, the PSP."

PC Blood Bowl just got even cooler.

The lack of a Dark Elf squad in particular was just evil.

Plus check out these new pics and the image of the DEATHROLLER! This was supposed to not make it in but hey...that looks like it's in to me. (Thanks David)

Seriously, this game looks better and better.

Just ‘cuz

Not sure why I feel compelled to post this today, but I do.

Monday, March 30, 2009

This is Wild

Saw this over at the Daily Dish tonight.

"Scientists for the first time have captured the transfer of HIV from infected cells to healthy ones."

I freely admit this video sort of freaked me out.

Cookie Monster

Can anyone explain how/why both IE and Firefox are not retaining my cookies? This happened all of a sudden and now every time I log into any site that requires said login I have to retype everything. I haven't changed any settings and it's getting a tad irritating.

Thoughts? Perferred Voodoo Ritual? Anything?


When you marry into a Catholic family, especially one where all of the relatives live in a radius of 25 miles, you are assured to do two things -- and do them often: go to weddings and funerals.

I have been married for --- wow it will be 11 years this April. In that time I have been to countless weddings and funerals -- mostly for people whom I have either never met or have met maybe once or twice via the big family gatherings that seem to happen every few months. These people love to get together...and eat, basically.

I don't come from a large family so this was all very new to me. I'm also extremely not Catholic.

So when I go to these we usually sit in the back -- unless the person is of great importance, like when Mary's father died we were right in the front. It's somewhat uncomfortable, mainly because Catholicism involves a whole lot of rituals: standing, sitting, singing, praying, shaking hands with other people, repeating what the priest says, and pretty much everyone in the church takes part -- but me.

I asked a long time ago, "hey should I be doing this stuff?"

I was told to stand when asked, sit when asked but other than that -- don't worry about it.

So that's what I do. I stand, I sit, I make eye contact with infants and make them smile because they have about as much knowledge as to what's going on as I do.

My mind also tends to wander. This is mostly the case when I don't know the person getting married or the person being buried.

Like today.

Whenever I sit in that nice country church in Danville, OH my mind starts to wander toward religion. The hows and the whys flood my mind -- this usually is a funeral thing. Today was different, though.

"How many people will come to my funeral? This place is packed. Is it because it's all family/friends or is it a church thing?"

So I started counting -- OK who would show up? Not counting my immediate family -- which is a shade on the small side, who shows up to bid farewell to me? When I reached my number I told Mary.

"How do you know that?" She replied.

"Well it's a pretty fair estimate."

"OK who is on that list?"

I tell her.

"You're forgetting a lot of people."

"Well, if I am forgetting them now there is a very good chance that they'll forget me then."

"Ok. Do you care?"

"Right now? Hell yes I care. Will I care then? Unlikely."

So this is how I spent my Monday.

I'm hoping next time it's a wedding so I can predict to Mary how long it will last before papers are filed based on how nervous/anxious/bored the groom looks.

I'm fun at parties. And really not a bad wedding date.

Game Developers Can’t Write

Yes, I know. That headline is simultaneously entirely unfair and entirely untrue. But still, what other conclusion can you draw from this:

Fallout 3 took top honors at the Game Developers Choice Awards last night. It was selected for game of the year and best writing. (emphasis mine)

Game Developers gave Fallout 3 best writing. Not fans. Not the Obama Administration. Other game developers. I am, as usual, beside myself. Hey, my picture’s not in the dictionary under “writing” either. There’s a reason I’m an editor of books. Not even fiction books, or cool nature books, or stuff read at the upper echelons of university study, but f’ing books on Windows and iLife. So when I criticize, I do so with full knowledge of the fact that –as a writer… and most other things- I am nothing. That does not mean, however, that the writing in Fallout 3 was not, largely, ass.

Look, Fallout 3 has a lot of merit. I can buy developers awarding it game of the year. I didn’t think that highly of it, but different strokes and all that. The game did a lot of things very, very well. But the writing? If there was one single thing that held this game back from being truly great, it was the writing. And you know, maybe that’s not all lead writer Emil Pagliarulo’s fault. Maybe it’s Todd Howard’s or some other dude who remains nameless.

So, Emil, if you’re somehow reading this I apologize if it offends or hurts feelings.  To be fair, there were times you did your job in Fallout 3 exceedingly well. But seriously. Your game had a radiation immune mutant unwilling to enter a radiated room because it wasn’t his destiny. You had the bizarre sequence in Vault 101 in which the overseer goes absolutely bonkers and everybody goes along with it, evidently, just cuz. You had the clumsy ass schism in the Enclave in which they end up fighting each other and no matter whose side you’re on, Eden still likes you and that colonel guy still hates you. And what the hell was with the colonel guy, anyway? Did I have to kill him twice with no explanation or was that just a trick of the pixels? Oh yeah, and the completely f$#%tard way in which the player convinces Eden to remove himself from the equation. Me: “Hey, I think you’re wrong and you should go away.” Eden: “Okey-dokey.”

Seriously? That earns you a best writing award from your fellow developers?

You have to love his quote about winning, though:

I was a nerd growing up in South Boston. To all the nerds growing up in South Boston, don't play hockey. Don't join Little League. Stay in your room, read your Lloyd Alexander and play 'Dungeons and Dragons.' It all works out in the end.

A Lloyd Alexander reference in that context makes up for a lot of Fallout 3 pitfalls. That’s just money. And hey, you do have an award and I don’t so you’re clearly a lot smarter and better at this than I am. That or you just know people. I don’t know anybody. Well, I know Bill. And thus this blog’s entire readership and my freelance gig at Gameshark.

I know the wrong people.

Regardless, kudos to you, sir! An award that’s well deserv… well, you won it, anyway. So, here’s to you! If we ever should meet face-to-face and you don’t slug me in the nose first, I will buy you many beers and toast your success! (Sincerely.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Michele Bachmann Proves Anyone Can Go to Congress

Ok we keep politics here at a minimum. During elections it's hard not to talk about it but most of the time politicians do their thing and we rarely talk about it here. There are other places where you can read about that. But sometimes people -- important people -- say things that make me do a double take and ask, "Wait...what did they just say?"

If you have ever watched The Colbert Report's Better Know a District segment-- it should scare the hell out of you that some of these people (Dems and Repubs both) are actually being elected to office. Is it by default?

Exhibit A is Michele Bachmann. You remember her, right? She's the lunatic that went on Hardball and spoke of some nebulous conspiracy within Congress about Anti American officials and said the media should do some bizarre expose on the topic. Bachmann is McCarthy without the intelligence and tact.

How people like Bachmann, Harry Reid and other complete tools get elected I will never, ever know.

Anyway, the reason for this little post today is that Bachmann has yet again displayed her complete and total ignorance by appearing on the Glenn Beck show and talking economics. First off, you expect Beck to be an idiot -- because he is. Facts is fact, ya know? Beck has yet to meet a topic he doesn't blather on about, regardless if he knows anything about the subject or not. It makes him an ideal pundit. Wrap yourself around the flag, talk loud, even cry if you need to, say things with such conviction that the people who listen to you religiously accept your nonsense as fact. Collect a nice check and do the same the same the next week.

But see --- you expect this from Beck. He's Glenn freaking Beck. He's mostly harmless.

Bachmann is an elected official -- and her complete ignorance on the global economy is absolutely stunning.

The money quote here is this, "Keep in mind that these aren’t just two weirdos hiding out in a cabin somewhere. Beck has a show on a major cable news network and Bachmann has a seat in congress."

Sigh. OK sorry about that. I just had to type that out to get that off my chest. It's cathartic. I feel better now. We can go back to talking about how Elven Legacy keeps crashing...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Monsters Vs. Aliens!


More Elven Legacy

OK this game is starting to annoy me -- not the gameplay, which is very tight and terribly addicting but the missions are SADISTICALLY hard. I had to go to Easy and I have been playing games like this for a long, long time. Just wave after wave of bad guys.

And it crashes -- a lot.

As in, I can't play for more than 60-90 mins without getting some sort of "stack delay" CTD error or something like that.

edit: it just crashed again:

Call Stack Functions:" and then lists some letters and numbers and the path to the exe file.
Anyone have a clue what that means?

Blood Bowl ...

PC version still a go for June.

Xbox 360 pushed to September.

Matters not to me, but that's a really weird delay.

The Best Paragraph I’ve Read All Week

Yes, I know, I haven’t been blogging much. Life (watching TV), living (eating snack foods) and work (genuinely busy there) have been getting in the way. I’d promise to make up for it, but I think we all know that’s not true, so let’s move on to the subject of this post.

This week I’ve read a couple hundred pages of a “Geek’s Guide” to Google Chrome. Just about the entirety of Easy iLife ‘09. Y: The Last Man Book 4. Countless articles from blogs and other news sites via Google Reader. Even a chapter of Perdido Street Station, an astonishingly well written book that I am somehow unable to read consistently enough to actually finish (going on about three months now). And yet the best paragraph I’ve read this week comes from Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog (which is dedicated to comic books). Chris writes the following sarcastic praise for the comic Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #55 (a comic I have never heard of) and the fact that it recently won multiple Project Fanboy awards:

Or if not the plot, then certainly the dialogue. Here’s a sample: ‘”I can sense the wisdom and grace from a mother witch as she caresses her secret lover disguised as a cat.” For the grammarians among you, it’s the secret lover that’s disguised as a cat, not the mother witch, although really, at this point does it matter? I think not, as Tarot has been recognized by you, the Internet users, as THE CURRENT PINNACLE OF THE COMIC BOOK ART FORM. SERIOUSLY. THERE WAS A VOTE. AND IT WON.

The awards it won: Best Title and Best Indy Title. Chris Laments that it somehow missed out on the Most Haunted Vagina award, which should tell you all you need to know. I thought about posting a picture from Chris’s blog of said comic’s cover to illustrate just how ludicrous and shameful this notion is, but it’s just too embarrassing (to fans of comics) for me to insert it here. You’ll have to follow the link.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bucks Lose Another; Keep Best Player

The Bizarro World that is college basketball continued today as OSU's best player and all Big 10 First Team standout SF Evan Turner said he was coming back for his Jr season at OSU. If ANYONE on this team is ready to take the next step -- it's Turner. Dude can flat out BALL.

BJ Mullens, the 7 Footer who played like the shockingly raw freshman he is -- announced he was leaving for the league, destined to sit on the bench as the 8th, 9th, or 10th man or go to the D League until he learns just what the hell he's doing.

I hear that the Mullens family needs the $$ like a fish needs water so you can't blame the kid. I sure don't.

But as a selfish fan?

Damn BJ...you're the 3rd center in three years!

Elven Legacy

So I get this email from Paradox saying "Elven Legacy review code is in your Gamers Gate account!"

Oh, joy.

So I do some reading and this is a game that is a sequel to "Fantasy Wars" -- a game I knew by name but never played. And it's by 1C. I know 1C from my many E3 trips -- the Russian dudes who always supply me with Vodka. (Seriously.) But 1C's game are totally hit/miss. You might get Necrovision or You Are Empty -- or you might get King's Bounty, Men of War, or Space Rangers 2.

You just never know with these guys. I know you can say the same about many publishers but 1C is different. Just trust me on this.

Plus -- the titles. Jesus. "Men of War, "Fantasy Wars", "Theater of War", "Dawn of Magic", "Totally Friggin Generic Game X"

Who is coming up with these names?

But then 1C does something surprising -- they publish a game that is really, REALLY worth your time. They come out of nowhere with these EPIC games. Like King's Bounty. Like Men of War. Like Space Rangers and (potentially) like Elven Legacy.

I'm only on the 3rd campaign mission so I have no idea how the game will hold up, but I do know this much:

This game plays like a 3D/rotating camera version of Fantasy General. If you don't know Fantasy General...wait...really? You don't know Fantasy General? You make me sad. Unless you weren't gaming when DOS was king and EMM386 ruled with an iron fist.

Elven Legacy plays out on a grid, is turn based, has a branching campaign (so far, at least -- I was able to choose my campaign path after the first mission), grants perks (side missions) if you complete a mission within a certain number of turns, and allows you to carry your units from mission to mission, upgrade them, and if they die you lose highly experienced troops that need to be replaced with green reserves. It's the Panzer General design in full effect.

In short, this is my kind of game.

But it's also a 1C game and with that comes reservations-- it autosaves but it crashes a lot. It has an utterly strange story that assumes you know all of these characters and their history, and is laughably translated with voice acting right out of The School on How Not to Voice Act. But once you get past that -- the gameplay itself is brilliant. It's old school. And the hooks are in -- pretty deep.

I just hope it holds up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Buckeye Basketball Blahs

I was under the knife the same day the Bucks lost a genuine thriller to Siena Friday night. As I said weeks ago -- OSU was a 1 win max team this year and they proved me wrong. They didn't get out of the 1st round. Not a big deal, really. Even with a win over Siena Louisville would have likely crushed OSU.

I have to admit, I'm sorta down on college basketball.

I blame Greg Oden.

OK that's not fair (or accurate).

OSU has always been a top tier big 10 basketball program but not an elite nationwide program. Unlike football, where OSU is in the argument with the top 5 programs in the country, in basketball, OSU isn't in the discussion.

That was until Matta signed the ridiculous class with Oden, Conley, Cook, Lighty, and Hunter.

That class is as gaudy as it gets.

So that class comes in and joins a team with college standouts Ron Lewis and Jamar Butler and 3 point specialist Ivan Harris, gets to the title game and loses to a great Florida team. A really great season full of improbable finishes (Xavier, Tenn., etc.)

The problem? It was over.

Oden, Conley, and Cook all left after the Freshman season, Lewis and Harris graduated, and Lighty, Hunter and Butler were all that was left. (Sorry Twigs)

The next year? Matta signs the #1 center prospect, again, in Kosta Koufos. Koufos is the Euro-style big man -- he would rather shoot a 3 than post up on the block. Still, he wins MVP of the NIT, stays one year, and goes in Round 1 of the draft.

That's 4 1st round picks in 2 years -- all freshman.

This year? OSU gets back in the tourney, has a strong season and we have, again, the #1 Center recruit in BJ Mullens. Mullens is NOWHERE NEAR as developed as Oden or Koufos but word is -- he's gone.

He will be drafted in round 1 on pure potential: 7 footer who is athletic. It matters not that Mullens would vanish for long stretches and his best game, stats wise, was vs. North Carolina-Asheville where he dropped 19 points and 9 boards.

Mullens might be great, but he is comically raw and has no basketball IQ -- he only started playing in the 8th grade and it shows. So instead of watching him develop at OSU, he'll get drafted, sit the bench or go to the D League. So, if you are keeping score, that is 3 years in a row where OSU loses its FRESHMAN center to the 1st round of the draft. Has that ever happened in the history of mankind? Oh, and in 2011 we have another top rated center in Jared Sullinger...

Understand, I don't blame these guys at all for leaving -- turning down 1st round NBA money...hell I couldn't do that. But as a FAN, it makes it incredibly hard to give a shit.

In football you know you get to watch these guys for at least 3 years. You are allowed to get attached...to care. In basketball? Hell just think about it.

Think about whatever team you root for. Now imagine losing 5 freshman in 3 years. All blue chippers. All pivotal parts of the program. All gone. I know kids leave every year and teams lose players every year but 5 in 3 is just brutal, especially when they stayed on campus for just one season.

Think about this:

Ohio State could have, in theory, this season started Oden at Center, Koufos at PF, Conley at PG, Evan Turner at SF, and Cook at SG. Mullens, Lighty, Buford (Big 10 Fr of the year) and Dielber coming off the bench.

And NONE of those players would be seniors. ZERO.

It all comes down to this shot.

If Lewis misses this, maybe Conley stays (he said as much) and Oden said he was truly 50/50 about leaving, and losing Conley played a huge role. You are free to believe that or not. ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Power of Sound Editing

I was catching up on my blogroll this morning when I ran across this post at the excellent Twenty Sided (by Shamus Young). It’s a mashup trailer that features video footage from Wall-E merged with audio from the Watchmen trailer. It’s just a brilliant example of how altering the audio for something can completely change the viewer’s perception of the visuals. I love Wall-E to death. I do. But now I can’t help but want to see this version of the movie. 

On the Shelf

I had 'minor' out patient surgery Friday night and I'm still sore today so I'll be AWOL today.

Hopefully Todd has something witty to say to help entertain.

Back to the couch...

How immobile have I been this weekend?

Start watching Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica at 6 PM ET Friday

Sunday night 10 PM -- finish Season 4.

THAT is a LOT OF ******* BSG.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hail! Hail!

Not much to say about the game other than to post CBS’s highlight reel:

Watch CBS Videos Online

The story last night was Manny Harris (well, him and the team defense). When Michigan was playing poorly in the first give minutes, he kept them afloat. When the well went dry in the last five minute, he kept them afloat.

That was fun to watch… that is, when CBS wasn’t busy cutting away to feature some silly 14 seed leading against a 3 seed. Like that’s compelling TV? Puh-leeze.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

He Did NOT Say That...

Technically, it's not the best role-playing game on the market but it is loaded with so much personality that its problems melt away underneath a blanket of just plain fun.

Who wrote that?

I did.

In a review from 2003.

I am really, really bad at this.

Ten Frigg'n Years

One of my all-time favorite movies is Grosse Point Blank. I've probably watched it a dozen times over the years. It's one of those movies, like Big Lebowski, that just never gets old (for me, at least). So, I think this post (Grosse Point Beilein) from Brian at M Go Blog is frigg'n hilarious. If you've seen the movie and recall the scene where John Cusack's character is in the car with Jeremy Piven's and they're arguing about where he's been for ten years, that's the source material for this post. Here's a snippet, but be sure to read the whole thing:

Tourney: TEN YEARS, MAN! TEN! Where have you been for ten years?

MBB: I freaked out… hired Brian Ellerbe. Recruited Avery Queen and Kevin Gaines and Maurice Searight. Got put on probation for kids taking money from a Detroit gambling kingpin. Fired Ellerbe and hired a guy who took a Sweet 16 team that returned virtually everyone and added an NBA lottery pick to the NIT: Tommy Amaker. Recruited Anthony Wright and Kendrick Price and Reed Baker. Turned the ball over on every other offensive possession for six years. The one year I was going to be back everyone got injured and the starting point guard got suspended for some sort of domestic violence thing. Walk-ons started at point guard. Then I hired John Beilein. We have basically one guy taller than 6'5", we still have walk-ons at point guard, and we're here.

That about sums it up. Oh, and Go f'ing Blue!!!!

EDIT: Just found a YouTube clip of the scene. It must be now be posted here. It's a moral imperative.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Coffee people

This is primo stuff.

This was a Christmas present (a year membership).

If you love your java, this is Grade A Demon Bean. (I stole that line from Colbert.)

Mad Mad Mad World

Brandon does Sega's Wii Gore Fest.

From IGN's review of Hasbro Family Game Night on the Xbox 360.

"The interface is solid, rolling the dice is fun, and there are no papers or pencils to deal with. So leave the dice in the drawer and fire this one up on your TV instead."

That's some blasphemous crazy talk right there.

Speaking of board games and the Xbox -- Big Huge Games is no more, and that makes me sad.

I wish they had released some Catan expansions for XBLA.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

50 Cent Guide

Brandon's Achievement Guide is up today so if you're into Fiddy and are also an Ach Whore -- here ya go.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another Madden 10 Blog Update

Ian is at it again.

Some sports gamers get scared when they hear talk of "player momentum" because it sounds great in practice but most gamers want every player they control to stop and start like Barry Sanders and sometimes developers go way overboard when implementing it. IF done right momentum and acceleration can be a big, big deal in helping a game reach another level of realism-- and realism where it counts. (And I think that's an important distinction.)

I said this earlier (I think via my Useless Twitter Feed) but Ian is making me more excited about a Madden game since -- Madden games.

None of this is really an indication of how Madden will turn out -- but damn guys, after reading all these updates and knowing that several members from the NFL Head Coach team are part of this year's design process AND that Ian loves Led Zeppelin AND The Beatles-- how can you not get a little excited?

And fellas, I'm a little excited.

(baby steps..)

Tonight's Battles BC

Tonight's episode is David the Giant Slayer. Interesting choice. Most do think of David as fighting Goliath as pretty much the only topic worth discussing when it comes to David's battles. Curious to see what they do with that.

As for last week's premiere -- anything talking about Hannibal and I'm in.

I liked the show, not so much for the "300 inspired" glitz but I really enjoy the historians discussing the details of the battles and the personalities behind them. If you want to watch a great, great show on the History Channel find when The Dark Ages is on again. Absolutely brilliant despite the fact that the term 'Dark Ages' is pretty strange. Another historical blip that the History Channel will throw at you from time to time.

The History Channel is good at this -- MOST of the history is solid, but the channel at times uses creative license to the point of..well...they're trying to get people to watch so I get it. People like the style, so it is what it is.

But kids, Hannibal was not this Body By Jake promo that the show portrayed him to be. The actor playing Hannibal looked like a guy taken out of a Bloodsport outtake.

A bust of the real Hannibal.

The WWE Version.

I wonder if tonight the show will portray Goliath as Andre the Giant.

And the end was a bit bizarre -- it goes on for an hour about how bad ass Hannibal was (true) but then leaves the ending hanging after Hannibal leaves Italy and heads back to Carthage. If you didn't know anything about this, you might assume Hannibal NEVER lost to the Romans, instead choosing to simply leave and live the rest of his life across the sea.

But Hannibal most certainly did lose to Rome. At Zama. Africanus saw to that. So how you can do an hour long show about this guy and never even hear the words Zama or Scipio Africanus -- I find a bit troubling from an historical POV.

Gripes like that aside, I'm a sucker for stuff like this so I'm looking forward to tonight's episode.

They better damn well do some Alexander in this series or I'll be bummed. Issus in the house!

A Weekend of Gaming

Bill pretty succinctly summed up the weekend in Abnerland. It was a shame that Ashley wasn't feeling well, but she was a trooper through the whole thing and really, really good with our -younger- kids. Plus, it's always great spending a couple days watching Bill try desperately to win a single game. Somehow, despite being the biggest boardgamer in the room at these things, he manages to not win a spectacular amount of the time. It's impressive, really. Fortunately, that streak did come to an end when he and I tied for the win in Dominion. Good stuff.

Mostly I was just happy we got in a game of Railroad Tycoon: Rails of Europe (and that I beat Mary who is a seriously tough competitor in that game). I really enjoy the original RRT, but I flat out adore Rails of Europe. It's just a much better map, much more balanced and competitive. I'm glad of any chance I can get to play it and I'm hoping Kyle's pre-schooler love of trains translates to him getting into the game when he gets older. (Because Angie really doesn't care for it.)

My first exposure to the Battlestar Galactica game was also good fun. I'm a fan of the show (though I haven't watched it a couple seasons; gotta get the DVDs and get caught up) and I enjoy the boardgame Shadows of Camelot which the formula seems loosely based on. There were five of us working together in this, which meant two of us would turn out to be Cylons working to sabotage the effort of the legitimate players. I was a Cylon from the get go and Mary had me pegged right away. Fortunately, no one else did and the two Bill's at the table spent so much time accusing each other that I had managed to do a good deal of damage to the cause before having to reveal myself. (Angie ended up being the other Cylon and we were able to successfully get enough Centurions onboard the Galactica to end the game.) Good times, good times.

As for Cosmic Encounters. I'd heard some good things on the Gamers With Jobs Conference Call a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't really get into the one game of that we played. Maybe playing it again would help, but yeah, not a great first impression.

Dominion, though, is a fun game. Ultimately, I'm biased towards games with a board, rather than those that are purely card based (like Dominion), but it's pretty easy to learn, relatively quick to play, and there's a ton of variety and strategies to employ. Owing to that, it was the only game we played multiple times and I'm strongly considering picking up my own copy of it.

Yes, a very good weekend indeed.

Finally: Michigan Dances

One of the first things I did after getting home from Bill's Sunday night was to fire up my laptop and find out what seed Michigan received in the NCAA tournament. Nagging cloud of doubt aside, I had myself convinced all weekend that they were in. I found out later Michigan was evidently the "last" team announced. I'm kinda glad I wasn't home sweating bullets over that possible snub.

I'm placing no bets on what this team will do now that they're in (though logic says a team that lives by the 3, as does Michigan, should have a shot at winning a game or two if they can get hot), but these guys deserved this. A scandle-ridden decade spent out of the tournament, banners taken down, wins removed from the record book, the banality of the Tommy Amaker era, a frigg'n 10-22 season last year... it's been humiliating. Given all that, it comes as little surprise that this was the reaction at Crisler Arena during the selection show:

That just felt so damned good to watch. Big props to Dylan of UMHoops for capturing and posting it.

Good times, Bad Times

Well, the Crazy Week of Fun and Merriment is over.

For the most part things went just swimmingly. The week with Billy Baroo was filled with gaming, watching the entire first season of Battlestar Galactica, gaming, watching college basketball, and playing Rock Band II. Mace even showed up on Wednesday night and we played games til the wee hours of the morning.

Clan Brakke arrived on Friday (Baroo left Saturday at noon) so we were again able to play some games and generally hang out and catch up. My buddy Dave and his wife wife Katrina even showed up Friday night.

I always enjoy the weekends with the Brakke Brood and this was no exception. We ate Mary's cake speciality. (This is ridiculously good, btw. Brandon -- make this one.) Todd's wife Angie cleaned the entire kitchen Saturday morning (I was floored because Friday was a packed house).

Todd's kids are a riot. I am convinced his boy Kyle will either be an engineer or a a grown man who is simply obsessed with trains like the dude in the Sopranos.

In all, over the past 7 days I played a game of Successor's (you must have 4 players for this to work as intended. This was what me, Billy and Mace played), two games of BattleStar (love this one), a game of 3-player Nexus Ops, Star Wars Duels with Baroo, Citadels with basically everyone, Cosmic Encounter (still trying to get a feel for this one) Rails of Europe (I still rate this an A+ game), and I believe three full games of Dominion -- a game I have wanted to play since I got it for Christmas. Played this one Sunday with Mary, Todd, and Angie. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

The downer to the weekend was Ashley. She has been sick since Wednesday night and she has a Dr. appt in an hour. The Dr. fears pneumonia. Her fever has been scaling from 99.0 to 101 and how whatever this is has moved to her chest. So -- off to the Doc.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gone Quiet (also Road to the Show)

Hey folks, long time no posts. I know. I suck. Nothing too crazy going on, just busy. Very little going on that's remotely blogworthy (which is saying something). The final step in the water damage restoration -cleaning the affected carpets- was done on Wednesday, which meant taking our media/family room completely down again (all the home theater and computer stuff). Not fun, but it's finally, mercifully, over. Yay!

Wednesday night we took in Watchmen. I'll write up a full review in all it's spoilery details next week. For now, I'll just say I liked it. Didn't love it. But I definitely liked it. (Point of reference, I read the comic eons ago and liked it a lot. Re-read it for the movie and liked it even more than I remembered.) I need to see it again. The stuff I've read people complain about, I can definitely see. But there's so much great stuff in there too, and -unlike some others- I admire it's faithfulness to the comic.

Been playing a little bit of The Show here and there. Mostly Road to the Show (RTTS) stuff. I abandoned a game I had going as a SS because everything I was allowed to field was a grounder. No liners, no pop-ups. Nothing. That's after about a dozen games appeared in. Weird. Started a CF last night and that's been a bit better, but I'm not sure I like how RTTS does the fielding. It only lets you see the plays that involve your player in some capacity, so you spend as much time watching a "fast-forwarding to the next event" screen as much as actually playing. I think I'd prefer that I was able to see each play unfold. It would create more tension because, as it stands, you know a play is going to involve you just by virtue of the fact that the game is showing you the event at all. Granted, having to watch every pitch, waiting on your four to six opportunities in a game to make a play would be boring. But surely some kind of a one-pitch mode that just shows you each ball put into play would work better? Most likely, if I continue with RTTS, I'll end up just going back to pitching, which has a much better flow to it.

Anyway, we're all packed up here for a weekend visit to Abnerland. It's like a weekend spent at Neverland Ranch, only without the big amusement park rides. And, I hope, without the sodomy. (Ahem.) I always look forward to these annual trips as it's great to get out and spend a weekend playing non-electronic games. Plus, that Bill Abner guy's pretty okay in his own right. For a Buckeye fan, of course.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I have none. Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days -- you guys know that it's kinda hectic here right now. Todd has no excuse.

I do have some things I want to talk about when I get a few moments to write from Madden to the fact that I have played MLB 2K9 a bit and Todd was too kind.

That game sucks.

Friday, March 6, 2009

How I am Going to Get Anything Done?

OK -- here's a snapshot of my week -- starting tonight.

  • 7:45 dinner at Buca di Beppo with an old high school buddy who is in town to see the State Wrestling tourney. I will eat. A lot.
  • 10 PM pick up Billy Baroo at the airport. Billy is here all week -- from Friday through Saturday.
  • Saturday night drive across town to Hilliard to see Dave, Brandon, Jim, and his brother Nate. Dave's a close lifelong friend of mine (from 7th grade, so I guess not technically lifelong) who I never see anymore. He's either playing pool or hanging out at home with his wife. He has no kids and one thing about friends -- if you are friends with someone and you have a kid and they (the other couple) don't, you just don't see them as often. Fact of life. Anyway, Saturday night is board gaming at Jim's with me, Billy, and four other fellas. 6 player game...what to bring...I'm thinking Warrior Knights or maybe we try BattleStar Galactica. I better read the rules...
  • Sunday another old college buddy, Mace, shows up. Mace is one of those friends who has an incredibly important job. Important meaning a job with a LOT of responsibility. The kind of friend who you really, really like but when you see him you are reminded that YOUR job is really pretty damn meaningless. What does Mace do? Well, Mace designed this. In Israel. He was the project lead. "Hi Mace, so how was that building a garden on the side of a mountain and being in charge of a multi million dollar project? Me? Dude I just totally reviewed the shit out of MLB 09 The Show." Mace is staying at his parent's place (he's local). We have room, but it will lessen the madness.
  • Mace also wants to play some games with me, Billy, and Mary. 4-player game -- I WILL play Successor's 3rd edition. On Sunday. I've wanted to play this for a while. The era Alexander the Great I find fascinating. I will likely have to skip Sunday basketball. I'll be so tired from staying up Saturday that I won't mind.
  • During the week I will somehow have to find a way to work with Billy Baroo here at the house. This will prove difficult. I still have Empire: TW to review for crying out loud. Ugh.
  • Friday night -- Todd and Clan Brakke show up. Todd will demand constant entertainment.
  • Saturday afternoon, drive Baroo back to the airport and throw him on a plane.
  • Saturday night, bid Mace farwell and tell him to continue to duck and cover.
  • The rest of the day Saturday will be spent, most likely, gaming with Todd, Angie, and Mary while taking breaks to actually speak to my 8 year old daughter. Hi Ash!
This all starts in 4 hours. Where's that coffee...

What Do You Know? The Trek Movie Has a Plot!

It took them three tries, but Paramount has finally released a Star Trek trailer that gives you at least some sense of a story. Not a lot mind you, but some, which is really all I ask.

I've been lukewarm to what I've seen of this flick so far. I mean I could care less that they've "changed history" in this movie by doing things like showing Enterprise (I assume) being constructed on the ground instead of in space. I continue to be mystified as to why that sort of thing upsets Trekkies. Even if they're trying to play kind of sort of within the framework of existing continuity, this isn't a remake. It's a re-imagining. Anyway, my concerns are centered more around the notion that so far it's looked like big budget Trek set in the Dawson's Creek universe and, being a crusty old thirty-something, that does little for me. But this trailer, this one finally has my interest. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint. (You can find an HD version here.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oh My...I Am All Over This Show

Set the DVR. I am DOWN.

MLB 09 The Show Review

Here's my take on The Show.

Let it be known: See? I do like games.

I like good ones.

Would You Say That I Have a Plethora of Pinatas?

I was reading a book proposal today and the author of said proposal used the word "plethora" in it. I've not seen that in some time, but it reminded me of one of my favorite movie scenes, which I am now compelled to share with the world. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

MLB 2K9 Review

Todd's take is live today.

I should have The Show up tomorrow or Friday.

Fielding in 2k9

I've been spending time in some of the sports gaming forums (and yes, it makes me feel like I need a shower) to see how the reaction to MLB 2k9 has been thus far, and not surprisingly, people are all over the map with the game. You've gotta love it when you see a guy proclaiming it the best baseball evah, two posts away from someone proclaiming it the worst.

One thing I've noticed a lot of is people having trouble with the fielding. It's gratifying to know this isn't just me.

If the fielding is your biggest gripe with the game, I encourage you to hang in there. You can't get rid of every instance of on-field wonkiness with players not fielding balls despite being in position to do so, but as you get a feel for how the game controls the rate at which your fielder covers ground in the game and where you need to be to ensure you trigger an appropriate catch/pickup animation, you will be able to reduce these occurrences. Significantly.

There's also been a lot of people seeing issues with the first baseman pulling his foot off the bag for no good reason (in other words, the throw is on target and he still pulls his foot off). I have seen this, but in all the games I played it only happened twice. Both times when I had allowed the throw meter go into the red. In these cases it seems like the game wants there to be a throwing error, but for whatever reason doesn't generate a truly offline throw. Nevertheless the first baseman positions himself (or jumps) like the throw is too far off the bag. (This is just my theory.) Pretty lame, but if you avoid letting the throw meter go into the red, I don't think you'll see it happen very often (if at all).

Also, for whatever it's worth for any readers who think the lockup issues I've seen are just my console, I did see some posts on the 2k forums from people who've experienced the franchise crash and others (on multiple forums) who've seen lockups in situations in which I've never encountered them. These problems are real and they're in the game, folks, and the patch hasn't addressed them (at least, not all of them). If you play franchise, I encourage you to keep multiple saves that aren't from the same point in time. (In other words, play a couple games, save your franchise. Play another game and save to a new slot, while leaving the old one as it is. Don't keep your multiple franchise saves at the same exact point in time.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Couple of Quick 2k Notes

Played a couple of patched games this evening. Hurry Up Baseball did not crash on me tonight. Could be fixed. Could be a coincidence.

Also, I did not find that leaving Precision Pitching disabled helped the free-swinging batter issue at all. In a 10-inning game against Toronto, I saw one called strike against the AI. One. (Keep in mind it's not like I only throw in the strike zone. That's suicide in this game.)

Anyway, I've just sent the review off to Bill. 2,000 words. I swear to god I'm incapable of writing a concise review. But hey, there's coherent sentences in there -well, a couple of them anyway- so that should count for something.

RTTS and Online Franchise

Sadly, no time to post right now as I am sure most of you are currently playing one of the two new baseball games and I have to take Ash to the dentist.

I played some RTTS today and will play some online stuff with Todd tomorrow and the review should go up on Thursday. I'll post some RTTS thoughts tonight after basketball, unless I fall asleep.

MLB 2k9 Release Day Perspective

I stayed away from my 360 yesterday to get a review draft worked up and get a small break from actually playing the game in the hopes of restoring some much needed perspective after spending four days constantly looking for what doesn't work.

At this point I have my review written, but I'm sitting on it until I have a chance to play a couple online games tonight and maybe one or two more offline games just to see if they feel any different post patch.

I've read some forum comments that indicate people are seeing hitters take the occasional strike, which still isn't great but better than what I've experienced (where they take none). There's at least one guy speculating that leaving Precision Pitching (basically three step pitching instead of two) turned off helps with having batters take the called strikes here and there. He could be on to something because I enabled that feature early on.

In any case I should point out that despite mostly posting about the stuff I'm not seeing, there's a decent baseball game here. (Crash issues aside.) It really depends on what you want to get from it. If you just want to fire off something that looks and feels like baseball, you'll be able to enjoy this. It's not a bad game by any stretch. There's just a lot of wonky stuff in there that is sure to turn off people who have certain hot button issues, like the balls and strikes thing. If I didn't have another option, I could live with that. But I do have another option, so once the review is turned in, I'm probably done with 2k9. (I picked up The Show on my lunch break tonight. Can't wait to dig into that.)

When all is said and done, I'd say MLB 2k9 is a solid B game *if* you factor out the crashing issues I've experienced. I'm not sure what I'm going to rate it for the review because I do have to account for all those lockups I've experienced. That's not acceptable, but how much to take off for something that may only affect a small percentage of users, I don't know.

MLB 2k9 Patch Notes

Just a quick note before I head out this morning that the MLB 2k9 patch is indeed available now. The big fix in this is the lack of big name free agents signing. I tried it out with some quick sims of both an existing franchise and a new one. My existing franchises did not appear to be affected (fixed), as the long lists of premier free agents stayed on the FA list for multiple seasons. In new franchises, however, the free agency issue does appear to be fixed. I did see Gary Sheffield go unsigned for a season and a half, sitting out all of 2010, but then signing on the dotted line midway through 2011. All in all, a good fix. Just make sure you apply the patch before starting a franchise.

An interesting postscript to the patch is that I am now able to load my locked up franchise. Hurray! Oh wait. It now freezes whenever I bring up the Schedule screen (for that franchise only). ARGH!

Also, because Bill has been all hot and bothered on retirement and aging models in The Show, I did a quick scan of the retirement lists in the seasons I simmed this morning. In general, career minor leaguers are retiring in their early 30s. Average major leaguers (guys with an overall rating in the mid 70s) are retiring in their mid to late 30s. And guys with 80+ overall ratings are retiring in their late 30s, early 40s. Guys who are absolutely premier players may hang out into their mid 40s. By and large, their ratings do appear to go down with old age. I haven't seen guys retire with an overall rating above 90. But remember, this may change with a longer season sim as the trend for the bulk of the players is for average ratings to up, up, up. So I think you're still going to see a bunch more 95+ rating guys the deeper you go into a franchise sim and how much they decline with old age I don't know.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Show VS. MLB 2K9: Franchise Battle -- FIGHT!

I have been contracted to do a feature for Crispy Gamer discussing the franchise mode's "accuracy" in both 2K9 and The Show. After 6 seasons of sims now I think I have a fairly good grasp on what The Show does well and what it doesn't do well. I still want to get to 2020 to see how the league looks, though. And I'll most likely start my career in 2020 so I can have a good mix of real and fake players. Hey it's my game; I'll play it however I like.

The short version: retiring, player aging, some roster management oddness, and slightly lower than expected team ERAs are the "bad" things. Everything else looks pretty good. By roster management oddness I mean I see some teams carrying 12 position players and 13 pitchers. Another "in no way is this a huge deal but I'd like to see it a little better" observation. At least everyone has a backup catcher and one backup OF.

But on the whole, The Show's franchise mode is very good. Not *great*, but very good. The player progression, particularly a player's loss of ability due to age, needs to be better for it to get anything higher than a "good" in my view and if I want to play a franchise game I think I'll just stick with OOTP, but for a console game, it's about as good as it gets. There. Now you don't even need to read the feature.

Freelance Check Please!

As soon as I get my copy of 2K9 I'll start messing with it and will likely do so after the "day 1" patch is out.

No way do I take Todd's word for it. That dude is NUTS.

Madden NFL 10 - Improvements to WR/DB interaction

Ian updated the Madden 10 Dev blog with some cool new tidbits.

Definitely worth a read.

Blood Bowl Q&A Part II

Taking a quick break from the trials and tribulations of baseball gaming -- here is part II of the Blood Bowl Q&A with the CEO of Cyanide Studios.

You guys know I want to play this, right? Have I mentioned that?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2k9 Online Play

I did finally get around to trying a game online tonight. As it turned out there was one guy in the game lobby and we were able to get in a full nine inning game; a game I ended up losing 7-1, cementing my rep as the most incompetent sports gamer ever. (I didn't have my headset on so I wasn't able to communicate with the unfortunate soul who had to face my mad skillz.)

With regards to the score... To be fair, I feel there were mitigating circumstances.

Online play was a nightmare in 2k8 last year. It is better in 2k9. It is not, however, good. Granted we're talking small sample size here so bear that in mind. You can ID pitches for balls and strikes this year before you're committed to swinging the bat, which is a desperately needed improvement. But the window for doing so is very small and the timing for hitting a pitch is very different from hitting offline. For me it was like learning to hit all over again.

As for fielding... look I'm struggling with the fielding as it is because -IMO- it's just wonky. But I have been adjusting such that I'm not misplaying nearly as many balls as I was in my first few games. Online, though, the game's on again off again hitches and stutters made it very hard for me to field the ball. I'd say 3-5 of my opponent's runs came as a direct result of my "misplaying" the ball. Now, my opponent only had one obvious case of this happening to him, so you have to factor in the notion that maybe I just suck at it. Nevertheless, I don't have this problem in other sports games, so I'm not giving 2k a free pass with this because I think it takes a chunk of the fun out.

Will I be playing this game online after my review is done? Absolutely not. But if you're a 360 gamer and you want to play online, I think you'll be able to get much more out of the game than last year, so that's something at least. (Does anyone remember if they patched 2k8 to make it playable online? All I remember is that it was flat out busted pre-patch.)

The Show 2013; Cool Rooks, Retirement Annoyance

2013 is done, and we are now 5 years into this so we should start to see some new faces popping up on the leader boards. And we are.

Batting Avg: There were 4 players in the top 25 in BA in the NL and 5 in the AL -- these are players 25 years old or less (and one straight up 18 year old rook). However, these were all 1st round picks. I haven't seen many picks of the later rounds do much yet. Again, this reminds me of OOTP a few years ago.

Pitchers: 2 pitchers made the top 20 in ERA in the NL; 3 in the AL. One kid won 17 games in his 2nd MLB season.

The Age model is now officially my #1 gripe with The Show this year. I don't have very many complaints but this is one of them. If you have read my notes below you know what I mean -- this is a pattern at this point.

Pujols just retired after 2013 -- not due to injury. He's *33*. He quits after a 41 HR season where he hit .291. Why? I have absolutely no idea. A-Rod retires at 37 after hitting .296 with 47 homers. Jeter hits .317 and calls it a career.

These players are not getting worse fast enough -- not even close in my view. A-Rod at 37 hitting 47 homers and quitting? The players are retiring not because they can't play anymore (which is what the game should do) but because the player hits some age gap and just quits. It's somewhat frustrating if you're a franchise player and want to see these old vets lose some luster and then quit. 47 homers is a shitload of luster, folks.

This is not a game breaker by any stretch, but I don't think I'm going to be the only person who doesn't like how this works.

More Quick Notes

So 2012 is done now, and I am starting to see game created players cracking lineups and showing good numbers -- I do think the age model is a bit odd and the retirement model, in my opinion, is based too much on age and not on performance.

In 2012 J.D. Drew led the MAJORS in batting average -- Drew hit .341.

And retired.

It can make it tough on a GM when a player who is playing top level baseball just up and quits because he's now 36 and reconsiders his place in life, or something.

Chipper Jones was back again hitting .323 and 39 homers -- showing absolutely no sign of age at all and it would not shock me to see him retire after 2013.

It's not all bad in that the players are retiring anywhere from 35 to 40+ years old, but they aren't slowing down, performance wise, enough for my taste. Madden has always had this problem, too. It's rare that a game gets this right -- you need to look at something like OOTP for that sorta thing, it seems.

But the young kids are getting better and starting to get into the lineups but we are still at the point in the sim (2013) where the vast majority of players are real MLB players, which is to be expected, I'd say.

The Show Franchise Notes

Feel like hell tonight -- my jumper was as smooth as Single Malt Scotch today, but I still cannot shake this head cold I have had for like a month now.

Anyway enough about my congestion issues. Here's some Show numbers for you.

My sim season sits on opening day, 2012 right now. So that's three seasons in the books and the off season heading into 2012 finished. Some notable items, in a seemingly random order because I am literally typing this from the notes I took which tend to be all over the place, sorry about that.
  • The Braves beat the Angels in 2011 -- finally a playoffs with the Yankees.
  • I wish I could see the team that each player had played for when looking at career stats. We call this High Heat Baseball Disease.
  • in 2011 ERA started to creep back up with 2 teams over 5.0 ERA and the average being about a 4.1. It's not 100% authentic to today's game but I really like where the stat model is right now.
  • I wish we could play with all fictional players. I'm sure I'm in the minority on that.
  • Top Notch FAs are getting 15-20 million a year deals.
  • A few too many "solid" players (not stars) wallow in the FA pool. No one can use Matt Lindstorm? 35 saves and a 2.98 ERA in 2010 and no one wants him?
  • If a player is not signed during the FA period the odds of them being signed during the year are...not good. Teams (CPU AI) rarely do that in this game.
  • I wish we could view CPU team lineups and rotations and not just their basic roster. Seems like an odd oversight or a weird decision to limit that.
  • I wish we could view the retired players list and see just the MLB players and not every AA ball player who went back to working at Denny's.
  • A lot of retired players are calling it quits with a lot left in the tank. Thome retires at 40 but in 2011 hit .271 with 35 HRs. Lidge retires at 34 (?) after saving 37 games. Hoffman finally quits at 43 after another 40 save season. Reds MR Mike Lincoln retires at 35 after another sub 3 ERA year appearing in 65 games. Ordonez retires after hitting .301 at the age of 37. Too early to tell, but these dudes are aging -- slowly.
  • Chipper Jones in 2011 hit .317 with 39 homers after having a 20 HR season in 2010. Nice bounce back. I'm a guy who prefers a faster aging model than this, but it's not a huge deal. But I'd like to see these players hit the age wall a bit quicker and only retire when they can't do it anymore. Not too many players will quit after hitting 35 homers or saving 40 games with a 2.77 ERA. Not too many guys today have the DiMaggio outlook on greatness. If today's player (generally speaking) can still perform and get paid -- they will.
  • Time to see the rookies / youngsters.
  • The Number of Players on a Major League Roster at the start of the 2012 season who are "game created players" and were taken in the draft: 8 players.
  • 6 of those 8 were taken in Round 1 of the draft, 1 in R2 nd 1 in R3.
  • However, there are a number of players around the ages of 20-23 who are on a Major League Roster at the start of 2012 but were acquired via Free Agency -- not in the draft. (There is a handy screen that tells you how each team acquired each player.) How did they get there? Undrafted players? There are not a TON of these guys but each team looks to have one (some 2). None of them are stars, but many are solid "B" lvl players. Make of that what you will.
  • Still too early in a test sim to see what any of this means, really. I just find it interesting. Curious what the teams will look like in, say, 2020.

Lockup Scenario #4

I just completed my third attempt to complete Detroit's four-game opening series against Toronto, playing each game of franchise mode. (If you recall from previous posts I've multiple in-game crashes with Hurry Up Baseball enabled and a franchise crash that forced me to re-start after four games.) In this latest attempt, I win 9-4 in a game that wasn't even as close as that score may look. (I was up 9-0.) When a game ends it goes to the usual summary menu where you can check stats and highlights. I bring up the right-stick menu to Quit. It goes to a loading screen for the main menu and locks up... again. (Hurry Up Baseball was not enabled for this game.) The better news? The game progress didn't save, so I STILL haven't been able to finish this series against Toronto. Counting crashes while in the middle of a game, I've now played Detroit vs. Toronto 11 frigg'n times. It would almost be comical if it weren't so mind-bogglingly frustrating.

Today's Show Agenda

--Basketball game at noon



--Some quality time with the family because they made me breakfast in bed today for reasons unknown. I think it's a trap.

--Continue to season sim test. I'm in 2011 right now and I want to see how the league looks by the year 2015. New players, aging bets, that sorta thing and to see how the stats hold. So, more later today.

--After that, Road to the Show.

Lockup Scenario #3

We can now add to the two weird insert reliever crash on the next inning change issues (both with Hurry Up Baseball enabled) and the magically delicious try to load this franchise and watch your 360 freeze up like Bill trying to drain an uncontested three. There's a new third extra tasty crispy lockup. I'm in my final game of a 4-game series, in the top of the 7th and winning 10-1. This is the first time I've managed to put a real drubbing on the AI on All Star. There's a close play at the plate and I immediately hit replay to get a look at it... something I do reflexively now given some of the weird play at the plate scenarios I've seen. (Note that you lose the ability to watch a replay of the last play as soon as the next hitter comes up to the plate.) The replay HUD comes up and the console locks. (Hurry Up Baseball is, once again, enabled, by the way. Though, not on purpose. I must've accidentally flipped it on when configuring options.)

Game lost.

Patience lost.

I really want to give this game a decent review score because there is fun to be had in playing it, but this is just getting ridiculous.