I knew there was something wrong with me right around the time I bought Front Page Sports Baseball Pro ’98.
When I broke open the box with Randy Johnson on the cover and installed the Sierra Sports classic, I played it like you were “supposed to” play sports video games, meaning I mashed buttons on the keyboard and played arcade style. To my 16-year-old mind, the game didn’t seem all that different from RBI Baseball on the NES or World Series Baseball on the Sega Genesis.
Then one day – and I can’t remember why – I started using the simulate game option instead of the usual button-mashing. The family computer wasn’t the fastest machine in the world, so it still took an hour or so to sim a couple weeks of games, but I was fascinated.
The stats were realistic. Transactions resembled real-life. Righty/lefty splits and player ratings actually seemed to matter. From there, I discovered the fantasy draft option and – despite taunts from my brother — became hooked on GM sim-style gaming.
I eventually discovered an early version of Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) and became instantly addicted. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted in college playing OOTP. A 10-page paper due in two days? Eh, I’ll sneak in a few games of OOTP before getting started.
Four hours later, I’d be lucky to have 10 sentences of my paper finished, but it didn’t matter because my stud first-baseman in my OOTP world was well on his way to the home run crown.
Along the way, I also discovered games like Front Office Football, Fast Break Basketball, Eastside Hockey Manager, Dave Koch’s Action PC Games and many, many more GM sims that ended up occupying way more of my life than they should have.
I still have a hard time explaining to people why I’d rather simulate a game on Out of the Park Baseball instead of play one out on PS3’s MLB: The Show. Maybe text-based GM sims are something you have to experience on your own before fully understanding what they’re about and how much fun they can be.
Sideways looks from my wife and blank stares of confusion from my friends haven’t deterred me from continuing to dive deeper and deeper into the GM sim world. I’ve lost track of how many GM sims I own. Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf…heck, even pro wrestling and horse racing. If there’s a text sim for it, I’ve probably owned it at one time.
I’m going to mainly focus on basketball here at GMgames.org. Basketball recently underwent a bit of a stat nerd revolution and numbers and metrics are becoming a bigger part of how players are evaluated. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with my interest in GM style hoops games, but I think it means only good things for the future of the genre.
I look forward to interacting with everyone, answering questions, diving deep into discussions, and maybe even arguing every now and then. There are a few upcoming or recently released basketball games to discuss, so be on the watch for my first review.
Finally, don’t be shy. If you have a topic you’d like me to discuss or a hidden-gem of a game, let me know I’ll gladly look into it.