Ive been hearing little birdies chirping in my ear this week about Out of the Park Baseball 2006. At first, they could only hint and nudge, nudge about their official beta tester status. It seems that the decision was made to allow the beta team to identify themselves as members, so now they really, really want to tell me about the game, but cant because of the all powerful non-disclosure agreements. And they dont want to risk making Marc Duffy mad as hell again.

Reading in-between the lines, folks are liking what they see. There are at least two beta testers in the online league that I run, so I know who to blame if the game is broken when its released. Ok, Im only kidding. Well, a little bit.

Meanwhile, the twitch crowd is all up in arms about the state of MLB 2K6. I havent played an action baseball game for more than a couple of days since the sudden demise of High Heat Baseball because, seriously, that was the last action baseball game ever made worth more than five minutes.

According to The Blog for the Sports Gamer, Bill Abner is taking heat over at operation pop-up, I mean Operation Sports because he dared to criticize MLB 2K6 in the OS forums. Mr. Abner and I dont agree on many things, but I do know that he knows what a baseball game should be and is a long-time member of the old guard that killed off the abomination known as Triple Play Baseball. So stay strong brother, there will always be lemmings in the gaming world. To hell with them and their tolerance for crappy baseball products.

This is truly going to be the golden age of management sims if OOTP 2006 works as advertised. I hate to be a spoil sport, but theres never been a great, truly great, career baseball twitch game. Each, including the much loved High Heat Baseball, had significant flaws that were sometimes smoothed over by fan initiative. In the console age, I knew action baseball gaming was doomed because the people who make twitch games dont understand baseball, now that 3DO is dead to us. And you can’t create fan mods of any significant nature on a console.

Meanwhile, text-sims are booming. This season there are three viable baseball career sim products on the market. Thats three more than twitch games, for those keeping score at home.

It doesnt get much better than this as far as I am concerned.


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