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Posted on Sep 15th 2015 at 09:01:29 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC

Out Of The Park Baseball 2007

Metagaming is a series where I force myself to play through Metacritic's highest rated PC games, working my way down the list one game at a time. There's no real goal other than giving myself an excuse to experience these critically acclaimed games. Sometimes I'll beat the games, and sometimes the games will beat me.

The #3 game on Metacritic's PC games list is outside my comfort zone. Like, way way outside. Out Of The Park Baseball is a baseball sim. And I'm really not much of a baseball fan. I mean, I can enjoy the sport. But really I think playing it is more fun than sitting and watching it. Or better put, playing a baseball game where you swing a bat is a lot more fun than reading about the stats of those little computer players. But this is a sim. One where you don't actually play in any "action" oriented sense. Nope, this is all stats. It's like baseball is a very complicated text adventure. It's all pen and paper stats. And yet there it is: #3. Looking at reviews, this series has been praised for years. And the 2007 edition has actually sat pretty at #2 until just this year even. Luckily for me the publisher has made this particular edition of the game freeware through their website. So let's give it a chance...

After installing the game (which works just fine on Windows 10, by the way) and creating a new profile, I was greeted to a menu. There was a whole lot of text. It basically looked like a spreadsheet. I sat there for several minutes just staring at that menu, wondering how to get started. I didn't have a clue. But hey lucky for me, OOTP8 (as it's also known) came with a free PDF manual. I figured that should get me started, right? ...Right?

The manual was over 500 pages.

Ok, no. I can do this. I'm a relatively smart dude. I can figure this out. So I started clicking around in that big menu. What started to really scare me was that every tab I clicked on the menu brought up its own drop-down which inevitably brought up its own new menu page. There were boxes to be checked and unchecked everywhere. There were rosters of players - including minor leaguers and prospects and I don't know who else. I started to feel overwhelmed. And yet I somehow figured out how to start a game. (Alright, in fairness it was a pretty obvious picture of a baseball).

So I started up the season - oh, wait. The game has alerted me that I can't start the game because I had a player waiver that I had to make a decision on. I had no idea what that meant. But it said something about going into the DFA list. No idea what that means either. So I fumbled my way around through more menus and I think I found the right one. So which player am I supposed to be dealing with? Um... well there's a couple listed in orange. Maybe that's it. I click on them and more menus come up.

This is getting frustrating. It's then that it occurs to me that maybe I can just automate some of this stuff. Maybe I can ease it up so that I don't have to tweak every little detail myself. I dig around some more menus. Eventually I find a section that lists responsibilities. I set things like trades and drafts and contract decisions et al to be handled by the computer rather than me. I figure this should alleviate the problem. Absolutely not. I try to start the first game - and again - am told that a player's waiver is set to expire and I've got to handle it first.

Now I'm definitely starting to get frustrated. I'm looking at the clock. I've already wasted over an hour and I don't know how to even start playing yet. So I try to search through the 500 page manual. Eventually I find the right section on waivers and DFA's and so on. It tells me that I won't get that message if I disable waivers and DFA's. So I fumble around some more and finally find the menu where I can set these things. I disable both after combing through pages of menu options for rules. So now I should finally be ready to play the game after nearly an hour and a half of trying to get started. I click the little baseball. I'm told that I've got a player who's waiver is going to expire soon and until I've sorted that out, I can't play a game.

This is the part where I exit the application. The game autosaves by default when you shut it down. This is to preserve my team as it is from session to session. I won't need this failsafe, OOTP8. I can assure you that my evening spent trying to even initiate a game was more than enough for me. If just "pressing play" is this time-consuming and exhausting then I can promise you that this is not a game for me. I'm sure that for folks who enjoy these kinds of in-depth management sims that this level of complexity is hardcore and awesome. For me however, it appears to be the opposite of fun.

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I was laughing as I read this post.  I am pretty sure the exact same thing would have happened to me, I've never even attempted any sort of coaching sports games before, and after reading this, I'm glad I never did.  Thanks for the read/laugh!

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