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It's Opening Day (Virtually)

As some of you long time AN readers might remember, I'm a big-time video game geek. And since I love baseball and video games, this looks to be an interesting week because MLB2K8 is coming out for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. If you happen to own a PS3 or PS2, you'll have the choice between MLB2K8 and MLB 08: The Show. Xbox 360 owners' only option is 2K8.

In my opinion, there really hasn't been a good baseball game since 2K bought the rights to MLB games and essentially killed the MVP Baseball series made by EA Sports. I was debating for a while as to whether or not to pick up either one of these titles and then it dawned on me that there are a couple of reasons why I should probably just avoid them this year.

First, the designers who make these games will probably have made the A's pretty terrible. It isn't like you're likely going to be able to use Carlos Gonzalez and even if you can, he's not going to be very good, even if he pulls a Travis Buck and has an excellent first full season. I'm pretty sure they're not going to know what to do with Duke and what kind of abilities to give him because we're not sure what we're going to get in the rotation from Duke.

And being honest, I play video games to live out things that you can't do in real life. Like having the A's win a huge percentage of 162 games, win the AL West and eventually win the World Series. I'm not so much into the simulation aspect of things when it comes to video game baseball. I basically have the opposition approach of A's hitters when I play a video game. My intention is to swing the bat and hit the ball. There is literally no fun to be had for taking a walk in video game baseball. My fantasy is to hit mammoth home runs and hard shots off the wall when I'm playing a game. It isn't to exhibit enough patience to make an AI opponent issue a free pass. I suppose it's almost like playing Madden 08. I don't want to run the ball and I can't stand playing defense. I want to launch huge passes down the field and score on 80-yard bombs.

The weird thing is that the best sports game of this past year was NHL 08. I love that game and it's pretty damn close to real hockey. I suppose it's because hockey is such a back and forth sport that you never have to spend too much time doing the boring things in that game. Yeah, you fight for the puck along the boards, but it's never tedious like playing defense in Madden or figuring out how in God's name you're going to score any runs or prevent any runs with the ratings the producers of the baseball games gave your A's players.

I may very well wind up picking up MLB2K8 just because from the reviews it sounds like 2K8 isn't as much sim as The Show is even though the PlayStation game is getting the better ratings. And heck, the guy who is heading up MLB2K8 was also integral in MVP Baseball 2005, so at least I know that he's been a part of a good baseball game before. I suppose I'll just have to tweak the A's players so the team will be able to crush the competition in 2008. Billy Beane probably wishes it was that easy.

How about you? Have any of you picked up the games? What's your first impression? Which game are you getting? And for those of you who aren't into video games...well, thanks for indulging me.