Friday, February 23, 2007

What Would Happen if an American Played a European in Baseball?

On the gloomy and rain filled afternoon of February 22nd, Jonas and Christian settled down in their aerodynamic swivel chairs to determine if an American would have an advantage playing a baseball video game over a foreigner. (For those of you who do not know, Christian is from Europe and, sadly, is soon to be deported from our glorious country. Boo hoo hoo.) What better arena of combat than the best baseball game on any platform, MLB 07 The Show?

We specifically chose MLB 07 The Show because of its reputation, its intuitive playing control, that allows for ease of game play, while not taking away from strategy, and because it was given to us by PlayStation to test out. Christian chose the Boston Red Sox. Jonas chose The New York Yankees. It would be a classic rivalry... and an easy win considering that it was just last week that Christian asked Jonas if his home team was the Connecticut Blue Birds, and Jonas had him believing there was such a team for several days. In Christian's defense, there is a team with a bird, unfortunately it's neither from Connecticut, nor is it blue... because he was referring to the Cardinals.

MLB 07 The Show

The game opened with an impressive title sequence proclaiming that the Yankees would face the Red Sox on their home turf, Fenway Park. Christian, a ex-Bostonian, became quite excitable during the fly through of The Green Monster. He emphatically pointed out the Hancock Tower, the Prudential, and his girlfriend's apartment, The Trilogy. Yes, the game developers did pay that much attention to environmental detail!

As the game progressed through inning after heated inning, Christian would cheer each time his favorite player stepped up to the plate. "I love Coco Crispy," he was heard saying repeatedly, "This is such a clever marketing ploy by a cereal company."

Neither one of these stalwart competitors had ever invested much time in playing baseball video games, but the amazing thing is that it was only one short inning before they were having fun racking up K's and knockin' them out of the park. (Jonas was, anyway.) MLB 07 The Show is designed to be easy enough for the beginner, but rewarding enough for the hardcore baseball gamer who is looking to be challenged and tested.

This was a learning experience for Christian, who at first was confused by the fact that only one player could be on a base at a time. Jonas attempted to use this to his advantage by explaining that you could "stack the bases" with players. In one specific play, Christian exclaimed "The Day is MINE!" like Sean Connery, and attempted to join his players from first and second base with their comrade on third. Naturally, this was a dumb move, and ended his time on offense. Jonas could only smile at his American ingenuity for winning.

Christian was eventually able to strike out three of Jonas's players with the aid of MLB 07 The Show's new API feature. "What is API?" you ask. Adaptive Pitching Intelligence - now the catcher will help call plays based on the strengths and weaknesses of each batter at the plate. Catchers have the ability to analyze the tendencies of the batter and let you know what pitches they are most likely to swing at. You can trust the catcher's suggestions or you can ignore him and go your own way... Christian often chose to ignore him.

CRACK! Jonas knocks another one out of the park. The score is now 4-0. He turns to see the stern and unamused face of Christian starting back at him.

"What?" Jonas asked.

"You are putting in some sort of cheat," replied Christian, and after an awkward pause, "What is it X,Y,Y, R... I should never have played with an American."

"Never challenge an American at his own game," countered Jonas.

The game continued on: strike after strike, stolen base after stolen base, and ridiculous play after even more ridiculous play. There was the one time that Christian "stacked the bases" and claimed to be the "cock-of-the-walk," again said like Sean Connery, only to chastise the Emperors, meaning Umpires, when they called him out at second. Then there was the time when Christian dropped the pop-up he could have easily caught and, as Jonas ran toward second, he threw the ball to home where the catcher missed it, and followed that by throwing the ball to first as Jonas stole third, and finally rocketed the ball to his center fielder, as Jonas made it home to raise the score 5-0.

Jonas appeared to be victorious, as it was the eighth inning and Christian had yet to score a run... or even hit the ball. But sometimes the surest things are also the most temporary, for Christian, that cheeky Norwegian, had lured Jonas into a false sense of security, as he then went on to mercilessly pummel Jonas with "touchdown after touchdown" of "stacked bases."

In the end, it was sad but true that Christian had struck America where it hurt the most by beating it at it's own game 29-5.

For Screen shots check click here!
For Videos of MLB 07 The Show click here!

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