Category Archives: Gaming

Diatribes about video games of all sorts

Girls & Video Games

I have to hand it to Miss Possible for her tolerance of video games.. not only does she let me play games periodically, but she’ll often jump in and play with me. This tends to happen with racing or puzzle games (she’s not exactly a fan of MLB 2K7 or Madden, if ya know what I mean.

I bring this up only because I recently discovered an article about , and in it was this great tidbit:

Teach her how to uncramp her hands, because they will get tired during her first few sessions. Show her how you usually stretch out your hands, because if she equates video games with sore and stiff hands, she won’t want to play any more. Maybe you could give her a hand massage to make her feel better.

I couldn’t help but share, because I find this pretty humorous.

Fun with Google

One of the most addictive games on the web now comes from Google as well. It’s called , and the object is quite simple. Log in, and pair up with another anonymous player.

Then when you’ve been paired up, images will begin to appear. The object of the game is to “tag” or identify the image using the same word as your partner in order to score points. It’s an extremely addictive and fun game, that both Miss Possible and I have found quite enjoyable.

The “game” helps improve Google’s ability to add metadata to images, allowing them to be more accurate with image searches. My only complaint is that you’re unable to choose who your partner is. Often, due to my mad typing skillz, I’ll be paired up with someone who types 5 wpm. So, I’ll have listed 5-7 words, while my partner has only guess once or twice.

Check it out!

Nineteen Eighty Six

I will openly admit that when I was growing up I was a New York sports fan. I lived in Western New York and had no association with any particular team — so I became a Yankees fan, just because. In that same vain, I rooted for the Mets in the 1986 World Series, and not my beloved Red Sox. Say what you will, but I’m being honest.

I stumbled upon this link last night, which is the complete bottom of the 10th inning of the imfamous Game 6 of the World Series re-inacted using Nintendo’s RBI Baseball.

I don’t mean to bring up bad vibes on the Diatribe, but I found this amazingly compelling. It’s about 8 minutes long and the detail is unbelievable. Thinking about how difficult it must have been to re-inact the inning, let alone get it set up so that the box score lined up correctly, the pitches were fouled off in to the right directions, and balls and strikes were called. Unbelieveable.

Here is the link directly to the smaller WMV file or you can visit the original site and watch the YouTube download.

Is the Price Right, Really?

While watching The Price is Right last week, I was struck with the thought of the season – taxes.¬† Taxes are just a dirty little bitch.¬† Those who win cash and prizes from game shows, lotteries, and the like must report those winnings to the IRS.¬† Richard Hatch failed to report his $1 million Survivor 1 winnings to the IRS to avoid paying over $200,000 in taxes and now he’s on trial.¬† Umm, Richie, why don’t you just pay the fucking taxes and move on?

Sure, taxes suck, but if I won a big cash prize, I would be okay with paying the taxes.¬† I’d just consult with an accountant and make sure I put enough money aside for taxes before doing anything fun with the money.¬†

This brings me to¬†game show¬†contestants.¬† What if a regular schlub like me wins $50,000 in prizes from TPIR?¬† Then what?¬† It’s not like the show gives me a check.¬† They give me the bedroom set, grandfather clock, set of golf clubs, trip to Perth (and, by the way, all flights are out of LAX;¬† I live near Boston; am I supposed to pay for a flight from Boston to LA just to take the free trip I won that I then have to pay taxes on?), and¬†Ford Mustang I just won.¬† And then the IRS expects me to pay about $10,000 or $20,000 in taxes???¬† I’m not exactly sure how it works with winnings, but where are we supposed to come up with this money?

I remember that the IRS treated¬†as¬†prize winnings all those cars that Oprah Winfrey gave her audience that day a couple of years ago.¬† She¬†tried to say they were¬†gifts and probably didn’t know her fans would be walloped by taxes due.¬† So, it’s probably better to just win ca$h or else winning $50,000 in prizes might just ruin your life.¬†¬†¬†

The baseball pricewars

No.. I’m not talking about ticket prices at Fenway (unfortunately) nor do I really care to rant and rave about how much baseball players get paid to play a game that I love (whilst doing drugs, not having to show up in court, etc..). Rather, I’m talking about Sega’s pricewar with EA Sports.

I think it started about a year or so ago, when Sega’s ESPN Video Game series took EA Sports head-on in a challenge to win marketshare. In order to fight on the same playing field as John Madden Football (the most notable football game on the market, Sega dropped it’s price from the typical $39.99 to $19.99. This showed the players that they didn’t need to spend the extra $20 to get a game just as good as Madden. Some people took advantage of it, some didn’t.

Last year I purchased Sega’s Baseball game: MLB 2K4 for this reason, and felt content. This year, EA Sports has taken the hint and reduced the cost of MVP 2005 to 29.99 to compete with Sega’s low price point. When I bought Sega’s newest version of the game for $19.99, they claimed that they had totally re-vamped the game, all brand new — many great features and loads of options, which is true. I enjoyed playing it — last weekend.

Friday, I did something bad. I went online and read reviews comparing Sega’s ESPN game to EA’s MVP game. MVP won by a landslide. For the extra $10, it really is that much better.

While both games have changed the pitching style, MVP really does a much better job. Rather than just choosing a pitch, location and strength, it actually requires a little skill ( or luck) for both games in order to hit the area you’re aiming for. ESPN uses a cross-hair method, while MVP uses more of a action bar similar to that of most football games for place kicking.

MVP also has better fielding. The ability to choose how hard you want to throw (And potentially make an error) adds to the difficulty of the game. You’re not given the option to use “speed burst” like you are in ESPN, but it was a difficult habit to get out of. It makes it more realistic and challenging to make some of those diving catches. ESPN also gives the ability to make a “in your face catch” — which will do a fancy trick while catching. While cool, these really serve little purpose in the actual gameplay.

MVP’s coolest feature is the new “hitter’s eye” — challenging the player to try to spot the pitch before it’s seen. The ball will change color for a brief moment while the pitch is in motion and just after he releases the ball — that you have to try to pick up in order to gain an advantage. Some players such as Bellhon or Youkilis have a better eye and can see the direction of the ball , making it easier to pick balls and strikes, while other players can’t really tell much about the pitch before it’s in the zone.

ESPN does win on one count, however, and that’s the abiltiy to play the runner. It’s fun to try to get the rhythm and motion of the pitcher and spy his pick-off move, then make a mad dash towards second. MVP doesn’t allow this. They both do, however, give you a number of different ways to slide into the base. New for both games, I believe.

Lastly, the interface for MVP is just better. Owner mode gives you the ability to pick concession prices, promoptional days, and other cool stadium features. You need to build your own ballpark when playing in this mode, but I just choose Fenway every time I play a home game — not the default “LTJ Park.” MVP also gives you the option to fully control the Minors, even play minor league games (I know you’ve been dying to play the Portland Seadogs). ESPN only gives you knowledge of your farm system to pick up players. One of the greatest features of MVP is the “pre-series inbox” that sends you an e-mail telling you all about your upcoming series. How to play the pitchers (swing away or be patient at the plate), how to pitch to them, and how to best score. Pretty cool.

So, overall, I say get MVP if you’re comparing the two. The $10 is worth it, if you’re anything like me and planning on playing all 162 games of the season. It’s hours of amusmement that you might as well get the most from — Right?