Open Thread: Win $1,000,000 (not from us)

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my all-time favorite past times is baseball video games. Going back to RBI Baseball to MVP to the crazy in-depth stuff we have these days (I mean seriously, I have to decide who to protect from the Rule 5 Draft in a video game?!), they were all a great way to sit back and unwind. I prefer The Show, but if you’re into the 2K series, here’s your chance to take home a seven-figure payout thanks to your (joy) stick skills.

From Asylum:

All those Dew-fueled gaming marathons and the sleepless (dateless) Saturday nights will all be worth it when “Major League Baseball 2K10″ drops on March 2. That’s because the first person to pitch a perfect game — no hits, no walks, no errors — between then and May 1 wins a million bucks.

Compete on Xbox 360, Xbox Live, PlayStation 3 or PlayStationNetwork in the MLB Today mode, select from the available matchups, then highlight the “MLB 2K10 contest” option and have at it. You’ll have to document your greatness — keep a camera or DVR rolling because you have to send your flawless game to 2K Sports on DVD.

Don’t even think about cheating: 2K Sports has partnered with Twin Galaxies International — the worldwide authority on video game records and provider of scores to Guinness World Records — to keep things on the up-and-up.

For the record, I kinda suck at baseball games. I have thrown no-hitters and perfect games before, but it’s been a mad long time, since the days of EA Sports’ MVP series. My problem is generally offense, probably because I tend to use sucky teams like the Padres for my franchises and stuff. The game gets too easy with the Yanks because they have all the best players, and I like a little more of a challenge. Anyway, if you’re into 2K, good luck in your pursuit of a million bucks.

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Here’s your open thread for the night. The Nets, Devils, and Rangers (with their new pickups) are all in action tonight, but talk about whatever you want here. Just be cool.

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Previewing MLB 10: The Show

It seems like every year, baseball games get better and better. Back in the day we had a tremendous selection. Nintendo featured RBI Baseball and Baseball Simulator 1.000, two excellent titles, plus the playable Bases Loaded. (Though I was always partial to Base Wars.) Super Nintendo brought Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball, one of my favorite all-time baseball games. But with the introduction of the Sony Playstation, it seemed like baseball games slid in quality. Developer 989 Studios, a division of Sony, produced their MLB series, which I found unplayable. In order to finish a game in a reasonable amount of time I had to reduce to six innings, and that screwed over my players as they raced for stat tiles. Triple Play Baseball was kind of fun, but it still didn’t catch my attention.

Then came Playstation 2 and MVP Baseball — though it was nothing more than a rebranding of EA’s Triple Play series. Everything changed. The gameplay went faster, so you could play a full nine innings in a reasonable amount of time. The pitching system was better, too, making for a more fun game all-around. Then came the 2K series. For the 2006 season MLB/MLBPA granted 2K an exclusive (non-Sony) license to develop games. I loved the 2K6 game, though it seems like the game degenerated every year from there on. I got 2K8, but didn’t enjoy it at all. Thankfully, the Sony replacement for their MLB series, The Show, progressively got better and better. In 2009 it blew the 2K game out of the water.

As the season approaches, so does the release date for MLB 10: The Show. GameDaily has an early preview, and it looks pretty damn cool. The article starts off talking about the extras, like the Road to The Show feature and Home Run Derby mode, but I’m more interested in the actual game play. After all, that’s what the game’s all about, right?

According to GD, we should see some significant improvements in this year’s version.

The developers added 1,250 new gameplay animations, 1,000 presentation animations and 400 personalized pitcher and batter animations.

To me, animations can make or break a game. My biggest complaint with older Madden versions was that poor animations led to unrealistic gameplay. More animations means the computer can more accurately identify the most realistic option. It might not be as relevant in a baseball, where the main animation issues arise when there’s one defender chasing down a ball, as in football, where all 22 men are in constant motion, but it still matters in terms of playability.

Another excellent improvement: base running. Maybe it’s just me and my lack of skill with a controller, but I had a terrible time running the bases in MLB 09. Any improvement on that front would be greatly appreciated.

The game comes out on March 2, with a deserving player gracing the box.

Check out the article for more information on changes in MLB 10: The Show. This video also provides a quick, cursory rundown.

Official MLB 09: The Show Plug

If you’re an RAB regular then you know I’ve made no secret of my affinity for video games, especially sports games. I’ve always found them to be a great way to mellow out and blow off some steam, but I also enjoy them because it’s chance to do things we normally never would be able too. Right at our fingertips is the ability to run a baseball team, or battle an army of Nazi zombies, or jump off the Empire State Building after a long night of stealing cars and killing hookers, or literally countless other possibilities. Needless to say that when we received an email from the crew behind MLB 09: The Show asking to plug some screen shots of the game, I jumped at the chance.

The game has a ton of new improvements this year, including fielding and pitching/hitting upgrades, and even has some new training modes. If you’ve ever played The Show, then you know it’s attention to detail is unmatched. You probably remember the New Yankee Stadium and CitiField clips we had last month, but if not here’s the link. The game is scheduled for release on on March 3rd, and will be available on PS3, PS2, and PSP (sorry Xboxers).

After the jump are some screen shots of the game on each console, courtesy of Playstation’s Press Center. Click the images for a larger view.

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Review: 2K Sports MLB Front Office Manager (PS3)

We all think … no wait … we all know we can be highly successful Major League General Managers. It’s a piece of cake. Sign this guy, trade these guys for that guy, cut that dude, deal this guy for a bag of balls to free up money, so on and so forth. It’s never as easy as we make it sound, but most of us will never get a chance to find that out for ourselves. Until now.

2K Sports’ MLB Front Office Manager is basically the baseball version of NFL Head Coach. It puts you in the GM chair and bombards you with all the team building stuff every real life GM has to deal with. (Luckily you don’t have to deal with the shareholders or marketing people or politicians though.) Billy Beane and Brian Cashman both consulted on the project, and the game is true to life in almost every way possible. There’s waivers, the arbitration process, 40-man rosters, the Rule 5 Draft, no trade clauses, performance bonuses, Type-A and B free agents, unhappy superstars, pissed off owners, you name it.

As you can probably imagine, the game is menu heavy. You’re kept up to date on all the major news around the league via email, although you’ll have to dig around for the smaller moves yourself. Beane also acts as your “advisor,” emailing you with advice and instructions for some of the more complicated parts of the game. The filing system for the emails is a little stupid, but it’s not terrible. I’ve seen come complaints about the intricate menu system, but I don’t have any problems with it. I think it’s pretty easy to navigate, actually.

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Review of MLB ’08: The Show (PS3)

It’s not often I find myself eagerly awaiting the release of a video game, but this year The Show couldn’t come out soon enough. I had read previews online, watched trailers and flipped through screenshots all winter, and I got sucked up by the hype. The game is set for official release today, but I found a mom ‘n pop joint that was selling the game early, so I managed to get my hands on a copy this past weekend.

The gameplay is relatively unchanged from the 2007 version, although there are some minor tweaks to the Adaptive Pitching Intelligence thingy and baserunning controls. There’s a new Pitcher/Hitter Analysis feature, where you can look at what kind of pitches a guy likes to throw to a RHB in his third at-bat with two men on–stuff like that. You can basically go back and see a boatload of tendencies for both the pitcher and hitter based on data stored by the game. Frankly, I think it’s a bit of an informational overload for just a video game, but it’s cool that it’s in there.

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