Bowl Bound College Football (with apologies to Steve @ OS)

I have not been to OS in what seems like years. Actually the login screen said that I was last there in September ’05, which has to be the equivalent of years in the digital age. Man I hate that term, but you get the context.

Thank goodness for popup blockers. I do not remember it being that bad the last time I braved OS.

This goes in line with my last post, but where in the world have all the reviews gone? I respect Steve. I really do, but why oh why did he allow this review of Bowl Bound College Football (PC; Grey Dog Software) to be posted?

“Grey Dog has become the premier sports text-based simulation company, and their games such as Total Pro Basketball and Total Extreme Wrestling are top-notch games. Bowl Bound is Grey Dogs attempt at college football, and it’s continues the tradition.”

The premier sports text-based simulation company? I think not, but different strokes. My real problem with this review? The reviewer only briefly touches on the simulation engine. Where is the discussion of the actual statistics generated in a game, in a season, over a career? What about the CPU play calling? How does the game work when playing or simulating across multiple seasons? These things are certainly vital in a text-based simulation. How do I make a purchase decision base on this review? What does the 9/10 review rating really buy me? Hopefully Steve (or the reviewer) sees this and realizes that sports fans really do want more depth in a text-based sports simulation review.

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10 thoughts on “Bowl Bound College Football (with apologies to Steve @ OS)”

  1. Wow Jonathan, nice to have you back :-). I don’t read Operation Pop-Up, or at least not in many years, but that statement you quote is about as ignorant as any ever written in a text-game review.

  2. Chris, it is really frustrating reading this type of "review." It is not like I put much stock in reviews, but when I am curious about a game I would like to read something that is not only well written, but informative. Actually I would prefer to read 2-3 quality reviews, but I know that is asking too much.

    I am at a point in my life where I have the money to burn on games I want, but I do not have the time to burn on a crap game. Time is much more important to me, which makes the lack of quality reviews all the more disappointing.

  3. [b]The on-field simulation is rock-solid.[/b] As the head coach, you have access to every important stat and the ability to substitute players during the game. This may not seem like a big deal, but there were previous text-based football games that did not allow you substitute players during the game. [b]The simulation engine is spot-on and it strikes a decent balance between the blowouts when major teams play the lower-tiered teams and the upsets that occur in college football.[/b] The playcalling aspect is handled well. The game features fifteen offensive formations, ten defensive formations and over 350 offensive and defensive plays. In the future, I would like to see team-specific play books based on your teams offensive formation. Teams like Navy that run the option will not have Shotgun or Spread offense plays in their play book, but in this game the Midshipmen do. This isnt a huge problem, but I would love to see more variety in the next version.

    [b]Did you even read the review?[/b]

    I must say the answer is no?

  4. Right, bugger it – I’ve held off from commenting on this for long enough.

    The slab copy/pasted above *is* the review, or the only part of it that’s any use, and with the best will in the world it can’t be classed as in-depth. None of the issues JC raised are covered either in the copied section above or in the rest of the review, save for a brief mention of failure to sub out starters ruining simulated stats (though even this doesn’t address the questions Jonathan put forward, and surely merits much more discussion than given in this review), and all of the questions raised cover things that ought to be given at least a passing mention in a review.

    It’s a brave man who makes a purchasing decision based on that review. That’s what reviews are there for – to help you make an informed purchase. Given that this one isn’t seeking to entertain, surely it fails almost completely to provide what is required? Hell, maybe it’s us – maybe the days have long since passed when gamers read a review to find out about the entire gameplay experience rather than bite-sized chunks of the sim engine. The OS piece is closer to a press release than a review, as far as I can see.

    Comments, brickbats and general responses welcome.

  5. Koloski, thanks for the comments, but of course I read the review. It was really a frustrating read, which is why I posted my comments. The questions I listed in my comments were not answered. To say that the simulation engine is "spot-on" but not discuss the results of the generated stats is very disapointing. Do QBs throw for 5K and 50TDs season after season? Do any multiple HBs run for 2K yards each season? These are just a couple of questions that touch the surface of what gamers looking for a text-based college football simulation would want answered in a reveiw.

    Thanks again for the comments. If you want to post a more detailed view of the game, including some of the answers to my questions, please feel free to email me (jonathan@calvertgames.com) and I will be more than happy to post your comments/impressions.

  6. Adam, good to hear from you. I really do think the golden age of reviews have passed us by. A shame really, because I actully enjoy reading a good review, even if I am not using it to make a go/no-go decision on a game.

  7. It is difficult to get an in depth review of a text based game. Most reviewers are not into this style of game, so it is probably pretty difficult for them to review a product like Football Manager, EHM, or Bowl Bound. Their review is geared towards a fun factor. Is the game fun for them to play… Not everyone is into the depth of stats.

    Personally though, I would agree with the reviewers comments about Greydog being a premier text sim developer. They have the number one rated College Football game, number one rated College Basketball game and the number one rated Pro Basketball game. Their Text Sim wrestling products do very well and have a strong following.

    Though, SI Games in my opinion is the very best company in this genre bar none.

  8. Please look up the word "premier" and think abotu if this describes a company that has existed for abotu two minutes. Yes, they do produce good games, but companies like Diamond Mind and Sports Interactive who have existed for quite some time deserve the "premier" description. Grey Dog is an up and comer. When you have the only career College Football game and College Basketball game, being number one is sort of moot, IMHO.

  9. Actually, The College Years has been out for a long time. Fast Break College Basketball has been out for about 2 to 3 years also.

  10. Yes, but published by the artists formally known as .400 Software Studios which certainly was not a "premier" company. I’m not saying that Grey Dog isn’t a good company. But a company that is "first and foremost" among all text sim developers? I don’t think so.

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