Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Home Run Derby -- Spiezio vs. Beltre

Well, call me a cheap-o, call me a lame brain, I don't care. I've never been really into games, so investing any dough whatsoever never really crossed my mind.

Until now.

Just yesterday I got the Sony Playstation (PS-1) I bought off eBay for $25, which included the likes of Tiger Woods golf, Star Wars Rebel Assault II, Spec Ops Elite, Nascar 2001, and Sammy Sosa baseball 2001. I went with the PS-1 because my roommate had one back in college, and I was hooked on Wipeout and Extreme Games (both of which I bought on Sunday at a pawn shop for $5 a piece, also adding NBA Live 2000). I also wanted a system that I could actually save my games (I have a few retro plug-the-joystick-into-the-TV games, including Pac-man and Ms. Pac-man -- two of my favorite games). And then there's this whole challenge of wanting to shelter my kid enough so that he grows up normally, yet allowing him to experience life in the modern US culture. He's already got good hand-eye coordination, so video games will help him enhance that talent. And I'm not too worried about getting him hooked, because I don't see anything standing in the way of his lust for playing the drums and reading books. I was looking for something that he and I could do together other than watching Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks/Wiggles/Veggie Tales/Superman videos.

I could've shelled out $200 for a game system with the latest graphics and incredible games, but the thought of how much dough that would take really set me back, let alone my wife. Plus, any games I'd want to buy would cost upwards of $20 a piece, even more for the latest and greatest. So, I checked out prices for used systems, and found a good deal on eBay for the PS-1. $25, Buy-It-Now, including 5 games, a memory card, and two rumble controllers. Under $10 to ship (a lot of sellers wanted $12-15 to ship!). Throw in the $15 I spent on three additional games, and $50 is a much more palatable amount than the $150 for the PS-2 (or other similar systems) without any games. And, not being a huge gamer, the PS-1 is plenty cool enough for me.

The first game to get opened by my 3-year-old (as I was plugging everything in) was, of course, Star Wars. He hasn't seen any of the movies yet, but he's already a huge fan. So, after finally getting everything plugged in, he wanted to play, of course, but I made him wait so I could check out the game. It was fun, but not one I think he's ready for.

I loaded a few of the other games, and found Extreme Games to be one that we could play together. After fumbling through the menus, fighting him with the controller, we started the game. It was perfect! He was laughing his little heart out while crashing into the barrels and trying to figure out how to move. That 5 minutes of laughter was worth every dollar I paid for the system. I cannot wait to play that one with him again.

Okay, so now I've taken up 1000 words explaining myself a little without getting to the baseball-related point. Sorry. I have a tendency to ramble.

I loaded Sammy Sosa High Heat 2001, having read some reviews on it. Of course, the first thing my son wanted to do was to find Ichiro. I had to explain that he wasn't on that game. Darn -- maybe I'll have to try and create Ichiro for him, since you can create players on that game (yay memory card!). However, if a much more experienced gamer has a hack to add him (or recommendations for a newer baseball game for PS-1 that has Ichiro), then I'm all ears.

Wanting to do something easy, I loaded the home run derby. I used Buhner, then Edgar, then Boone, and finally Bonds, trying out a few different stadiums in the process. I was surprised to see both the Kingdome and Safeco Field on the game, as well as a few historic parks and what-not. The graphics are, of course, cheesy, but still. The whole thought of Buhner cranking one out in the Polo Grounds is quite intriguing. And I used Bonds in Modesto.

So after giving it a few rounds myself, I decided to let my son have a go. I asked him who he wanted to be, and he said "Ichiro!" Of course. Well, since I still haven't created him, I asked him for someone else. He said "Ra-UUUUUUUUUUUUL!" I thought -- perfect, that looks promising. Since the game includes the rosters for 2000, I thought he might be on there. I scrolled through the M's, and didn't see him, and went over to KC. Of course, he joined KC in 2001, so he wasn't there either. I'll have to research this a bit more. So, after throwing him a fastball down the middle (no Ichiro) and a curveball (no Raul), I asked him for another player. Know what he said?

Jeremy Reed.


So, finally, I scrolled through my brain trying to think of what player on another team (he doesn't know Griffey, and I'd already played Edgar and Boone) he'd want to play. I scrolled through the Dodgers and found my favorite M's third baseman, Adrian Beltre.


So, I gave him a quick intro to the controller, and told him to hit the "x" button to swing. Of course, he pushed it obsessively for the first 6-7 swings, and didn't make contact until I told him to wait until the ball came. Next pitch -- "Swung on and Beltre'd, deep to center field." No, it wasn't quite a home run, but at least he made contact. In the remaining 12 swings, he hit 2 home runs and 3-4 balls in the outfield. Not bad for a 3-year-old (not to mention that he beat my score for Boone in Ebbets field).

I asked him one more time who he wanted to be next, and the words out of his mouth made me roll over in laughter.


Sure enough, I found him on Anaheim's roster, and let my son have a go. The final result? I'm not sure if it's my son's skills with the Playstation, or if Spiezio's to blame.

Spiezio didn't even make contact.


At 8/02/2005 10:00 AM, Blogger David J. Corcoran said...

You've got quite the smart 3 year old, there.


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