MLB 2002 for Sony PlayStation, $60. Rating: NNNN
GRAPHICS: The flag flaps in the wind, and players get dirty when they slide into second.
ADDICTIVENESS: Nine innings is a long time to sit in one place, but a full season just slips by.
ANTI-SOCIAL FACTOR: The computer always wins, so bring a friend.
PROXIMITY TO THE REAL THING: My rotator cuff hurts.
the game creators at 989 studios
have picked an odd time to release the 2002 model of their excellent MLB baseball simulator.
Now that the weather's warm and chalk base paths are appearing on open patches of grass, why stay inside and play a video game when you could be outside playing real baseball?
The game is great, though, so to get the best of both worlds we hauled the television and the PlayStation outside and spent some quality time playing MLB 2002 on the deck. Blinding glare aside, it was an afternoon well wasted.
MLB 2002 has most of the nifty attractions of past versions, including total control hitting: if you guess the correct pitch and location, you can essentially hit the ball anywhere you want to put it. Players also look and act like they do in real life, and the Expos get hammered game in and game out.
One of the cool new developments here is the spring training function. You create a prospect from scratch, controlling everything from his skin colour and speed on the base paths to the length of his goatee, and then try to make it into the majors by playing a string of pre-season games.
Excellent regular season players are rusty at the beginning of the season, and all spring training games take place in the appropriate bare-bones parks, where windmills and ocean vistas replace seats behind the centre-field wall.
It isn't as good for you as running around in the great outdoors with a bat and a glove, but it's almost as fun.