REVIEW: Strat-O-Matic Baseball Daily a great idea with room for improvement

The Baseball Continuum is on vacation, but here’s a bit to help hold you over.

The idea behind Strat-O-Matic Baseball Daily is simple: it’s a computer simulation of the famed Strat-O-Matic tabletop game, but the cards change day-by-day to reflect what’s going on in the real world. For example, if a player is on a hot streak, his card will change to make it more likely (for example) that he will hit a home run and less likely that he will strike out. Similarly, if the team’s ace has been getting shelled, his card will be changed to increase the odds that he’ll be having a bad day.

It’s a good idea, and it definitely has some good points and will no doubt get better in the future, but as it stands right now, it is not as good as it could be. The main reason for this lies in the interface and ease of use- it just isn’t quite up to the standards of the current generations of other baseball simulators that exist right now like Out Of The Park Baseball.

For one thing, it takes awhile to set up. You need to get online to download everything, which isn’t a problem, but you the thing is that everything is separate from each other. There’s the main game, but the Baseball Daily portion is separate from that. And other parts are also separate. There are a lot of games that do similar things to this these days, but it just felt clunky for some reason here. Perhaps it is all in the presentation.

For another, the controls and menus in the game feel like they are 10 to 20 years out of date. Again, it’s hard to really describe this, it’s more a case of feel, but compared to other games in the genre it feels like you need to click through more screens, fiddle with more settings, and the like.

However… once you do get it up and running to your satisfaction, it does exactly what it goes out to do and changes the roster day by day as you move forward and does the same with the player cards. Oh, yes, I’ve seen some complaints on their message boards and elsewhere that sometimes the updates aren’t correct, but for the most part, it definitely changes correctly. Players enter and exit your roster during the season as they did in the real world, and their cards also change accordingly. If you want to see if you could do better in the season than your favorite team’s actual manager, this is where you can do it with the exact same rosters available to them.

And, really, how cool is that?

So, while I can’t suggest it to everyone right now, I can say to keep an eye on it in future years as the game no doubt is refined and improved further.

Note: I was provided a free copy of the game.

FALLOUT 4 BASEBALL UPDATE: “Big Leagues” Microteaser

Note: The following may have minor spoilers about Fallout 4.

Like many gamers, I am eagerly awaiting the release of Fallout 4, the latest in the line of quasi-50s retro-futuristic post-apocalyptic action-adventure RPGs. Heck, I’ve even splurged for the collector’s edition! But it’s not just the opportunity to fight post-nuclear abominations that have me hyped… it’s also due to the fact that this installment of Fallout will be in Boston and will feature a society (“Diamond City”) that lives in a post-apocalyptic Fenway Park.

However, it appears that Bethesda Game Studios, the creators of this installment of the series, have gone even further, and baseball will actually be a part of the game. Take a look at this leaked achievement (you can get achievements for doing special things in-game):

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Yes, apparently, you can hit a homer in Fallout 4 (there’s also an achievement for scoring a touchdown, but this is a baseball blog).

And, what’s more, Bethesda has gotten into the World Series spirit by tweeting this out:

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It appears that there will be a special “perk”, called “Big Leagues”, which will make it easier for you to use baseball bats and other “melee” weapons in combat, perhaps leading to what the game describes as a chance to “grand slam their head clean off!”. Needless to say, this game is rated M for Mature.

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I want that vault-boy baseball uniform to wear for Halloween next year. Assuming, of course, I don’t just go with the BASEBALL ARMOR THAT IS IN THE GAME:

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And, say, look behind the vault-dweller here. It looks like while the Green Monster itself has some holes in it, the hand-operated scoreboard still exists in the Fallout Universe, and there was a AL East, which is somewhat surprising since in the Fallout Universe most cultural progress (music, television, fashion, car design, etc.) ended around 1960, so I would have thought that they never would have implemented divisions in baseball there and oh-my-god-I’m-considering-the-pre-apocalyptic-baseball-set-up-of-a-fictional-post-apocalyptic-video-game-universe-this-is-the-geekiest-thing-I’ve-ever-done.

Oh, and the guards of Diamond City look like catchers or umpires, albeit ones wearing helmets that look like they just walked off the set of a Mad Max movie:

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I wonder what other sort of baseball references they will have in Fallout 4? Will some Red Sox greats have voice roles (don’t laugh, Wayne Newton did voicework in the game that was set in Las Vegas)? Will there be a big friendly green monster named Wally who lives in Diamond City? Apparently the plot involves your character being put in a cryogenic freeze, so maybe they will make a Ted Williams joke?

Time will tell. Time will tell.