Before I delve in, I'm going to gloat a bit:
HOLY SHIT THE BLACKHAWKS HAVE WON THE STANLEY CUP!
Ok, that's done. So...
Sports and Video Games are pretty much all pre-teen boys immerse their lives around until they discover girls, then they hang on to them because they are one aspect of live that they understand (sorry, ladies).
Right now, we are pretty much at an epicenter of sports activity: The NHL season just concluded (see the picture left to wonder as to who won), the NBA finals are in progress, Baseball is hitting its full stride, NFL training camps are around the corner, college football realignment is changing the landscape of the BCS, and today is the first day of the World Cup, which is a big deal when you live in every country not the United States.
While I've been heavy into Red Dead Redemption (which will have a semblance of a review sometime soon), I wanted to take a few moments and talk about some of the Sports games I've been playing and give a quick breakdown of the game, TL;DR style, as well as some other insights.
I held out on FIFA 10 so I could play the World Cup version, but I kind of wished it was just all inclusive in FIFA 10. You would have had your MLS teams, your international club teams and your world cup teams all in one game. Would it have been that hard to re-skin the players, stats, add a few more stadiums in Jo-berg? That is my only gripe about this game. Oh, that and I royally suck at it. But it kind of says something where you can be totally bad at a game and still enjoy it, and the carry over of everything that's good about FIFA 10 is in this game. Presentation is nice, the control scheme can allow for a two-button or more complex approach (which I really like), and its fun.
On a serious note, Friday in 180+ minutes of soccer, TWO goals were scored. Then yesterday, England and the United States battled for a 1-1 tie. I seriously cannot hold my attention for that long, nor can I be satisfied with a tie equaling a victory. But serious, England; didn't you guys invent the modern game? Weak.
Ok, so this game came out last year, but since the Playoffs practically began then too, I've been putting in some moderate time in the game.
Before I begin, can we all pretty much agree that the greatest sports game of all time is NHL '94 for Sega Genesis? That game ruined hockey video games for me for the next 15 years. This year's version has brought me back, and no, its not because of Kaner here.
NHL 10 has all the practice modes, franchise, playoffs, everything that can keep the most hardcore hockey fan satisfied. I'm kind of pissed that EA's last roster update was right before the playoffs, and that they are racist for making Dustin Byfuglien white, but other than that, its fun, fast paced and very customizable to your hockey needs. Also I didn't take the Kings to the cup with the offsides off. Also, I miss Hartford. Breakfasts come and go, but Hartford, "the Whale," they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (PSP) - I know that the newest iteration of this game just came out, but this game is practically just as good and its less than $20 at Gamestop (also, I don't think there is a PSP version of TW11).
Golf games are best for me when you can play them on the road, and they are one game that the PSP can't screw up. I do play this and Hot Shots Golf regularly but sometimes I prefer to play the big boy courses.
Tiger Woods 10 offers a variety of modes like Wi-fi vs. mode, some challenge modes, and "pick out the hottest blonde in the gallery and give her your hotel keys" mode. Wait, no? Well, they should have put that in the game. I think it would have been more challenging to start out in 'Be a Pro' mode, and try to pick up women at the clubhouse, then you evolve to Ben Roethlisberger status, then you evolve into full fledged Tiger both on the course and off. Make sure you turn off the nine-digit divorce mode off.
MLB 10 The Show (PS3) - I picked this up the other week, because even though baseball is pretty much irrelevant right now (at least it is if you live in my market), I've read a lot of kool-aid drinkers say this is the best game on the market, and maybe the best baseball game in a few years.
MLB 2k9 was a disaster, so compared to that, this is the best baseball game in the last few years. However, MLB10:TS shined against all other predecessors, even its own. Some of the slow motion animations are a bit clunky, but the game play and environments are amazing. The game has a very deep franchise mode, as well as other entertaining competitive modes. They have a lot of the players' batting stances, and pitching motions down very well, with every at bat being a bit of a chess match. You have to try and figure out the CPU's pitching patters as to whether they like to throw in the zone on the first pitch, what pitches they throw, and their tendencies. It took me about 4 strikeouts to realize that Chris Carpenter likes to go fastball, fastball, curve for the out pitch. When I adapted, he adapted. Very good.
In other news, the landscape of College Athletics is about to change. In 1996, the Texas contingent of the Southwest Conference merged with the old Big 8 conference to form the Big 12 (see Big 10? We can actually COUNT).
Anyway, in the Big 12, revenues from TV contracts were not spread out evenly. The University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, and Nebraska get larger cuts of the pie, which makes sense because their athletic budgets are bigger, Texas' market is bigger, and their football program generates more cash. For 14 years, this worked relatively peacefully. However, the garbage Big 12 TV contract is about to expire and given the current economic climate, I don't think the lesser schools were content letting UT and OU get a bigger piece of the pot.
A few months ago, there was speculation that the Big
This flirtation with the two Big 12 schools ruffled some feathers down in the Republic of Texas. All of a sudden there was blood in the water and other conferences were ready to pounce on the soon to be entrails of the Big 12. The Pacific 10 conference, seemingly dormant in the conference expansion conversation off of a sudden wanted Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, OU, and Oklahoma State. Instead of being proactive and looking to either appease its member schools or look to expand into adding schools, the Commissioner of the Conference pretty much sat in his
On Thursday, the University of Colorado decided to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-10. That was a bit of a slap in the face to Texas because Texas had been tied at the hip to Baylor when the Big 12 was formed, and the assumption would be that wherever Texas went, Baylor had to go as well. I think the Pac-10 sent the message of "you don't tell us what to do, UT, we'll take who we want first". On Friday, the University of Nebraska announced they would leave for the Big
I'm not sure we'll ever see a major power conference in college athletics cannibalized like this. Right now, the Big 12 is getting ready to be poached by the Pac 10, the SEC, The Mountain West conference, the Big 10, and the Big East. My school, KU does not boast much of a football legacy but is one of the top 4 basketball schools in the country, with a large alumni fanbase, and national appeal. The problem will be if we are tied to Kansas State and have to bring little brother along wherever we go, and will that turn off a lot of prospective offers.
On Tuesday, the Texas Board of Regents will gather and likely put a stake in the heart of the Big 12 forever. No one knows where they will go and what that means to the rest of the schools and college athletics, but one thing I do know is...
TL;DR- ... Dan Beebe is a stooge. Also check out the other games I highlighted at top. Also Blackhawks.