Friday, August 17, 2007

Sports MMOG's: The Next Big Thing?

In the realm of the interactive sports experience there are many options a fan can choose to feel more immersed in a sport or league that they are not actually a part of. There are fantasy sports full of keeper leagues and auction based player selection, all of which allows a fan to "own" their team and guide it to victory in their leagues. The leagues themselves are fun and allow for a lot of social interaction between members with drafting, trading, smack talking, etc, taking place even when its the off-season.

In video games, you have team manager simulation software which allow you to play GM and team owner doing all the necessary things behind the scenes to allow your team success on the field. For those who actually like to play the game, like in the wildly popular Madden series, there is the franchise mode (adding a team manager simulation to actual game play), the superstar mode (allowing a player to control and guide an athlete throughout his playing career, even importing players from the college video game) and even a life simulation game unto itself with the NBA Ballers world of playing the game to accumulate as much stuff as possible. There is even a social aspect to the games with video game leagues, tournaments and online game play growing larger and larger amongst gamers.

It is obvious that sports fans like the interactivity of playing owner, general manager, coach, and/or the players themselves in a variety of formats as well as the enjoyment of the social interaction between other sports fans who participate in the same activities. If anything, look at the sports blogging community for further proof of the latter point.

So after all this comes my question...when is the sports MMOG going to become a reality and if its done correctly, will it be the next big thing in sports fan/gamer community?

The massive success of the World of Warcraft MMORPG has spawned millions copycats, it is only a matter of time before someone sees how much money is being spent and made on fantasy sports, sports video games, and even sports blogging and sees the massive potential for the sports MMOG.

In poking around on the internet, I found there are a few companies who are vying to be the first to successfully market this idea. Before I continue though, you should know I've never actually played Warcraft or Second Life or any MMOG so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

  • Football Superstars: A soccer MMOG which allows its players to create a soccer player, control that player from his perspective, start out training and playing soccer with friends in a park and eventually become good enough to play professionally, earning money "with which you could buy the best that life can offer. Lead the life of a football superstar in a Utopian world...".

    Basically, instead of experience points you earn money, instead of those guilds of online warriors, the players form teams. So this is more of a "Warcraftian" approach at the sports MMOG, only without the missions and tasks I would assume. Seems kind of limited, but for those who cannot play soccer in real life, I guess it could be fun. Kinda like you could go outside and have a real life, but instead you play the Sims.

  • Football Manager Live: Taking the popular Football Manager series and turning it into a MMOG. It seems to be a mix of the original Football Manager game, fantasy sports, and auction leagues all in one. You start a club from scratch, set-up mini-leagues, bid in player auctions and compete in live matches while controlling the tactics of games in real time, balancing finances, customizing your club and stadium and buying and selling players, auction style.

    This seems to be a different approach to the MMOG. Looks to be more like a fake fantasy league, which can be fun, but ultimately appears to be missing the point of the MMOG.

  • Empire of Sports: Finally, not a soccer MMOG. This game encompasses the entire world of sports. You create your character and develop their skills playing in a variety of games including basketball, tennis, skiing and a series of gym and fitness games, with more to be added. They make a point of saying these are not mini-games, but fully interactive and simulated versions of these sporting events. You then can travel around to a bunch of different "city centers" with facilities and services to help develop your character's athletic talents.

    This game seems to be more of a Second Life/Sims way of going about things, in that it is more of a social experience but still has its own way of providing a "leveling up" experience. You don't seem to be a part of any team here, just one person going about the business of becoming very good in the virtual world of sport. They don't make reference to any sort of money or anything, so I wonder what you can do other than develop your character's body by playing games and get good at them, all while meeting and talking to people online. Seems like it needs to be a bit more massive to be a MMOG.

  • Shot Online: A golf MMOG. You develop your golfing character to become a golf pro. If you practice every day and compete against players with different skills your character can to "level-up" their abilities. There are team matches to get money, tournaments, the ability to just purchase in game money, realistic and rare items to find and purchase in their mall, clothes to purchase, quests (to get those items I presume) and item exchanging with other gamers in the virtual world.

    All in all, this one seems to be the most complete MMOG out there...probably b/c its one of the few that is actually active. It has all the basic components of any MMOG out there. Seems like it wouldn't be bad if the golfing was actually good...which I have no idea b/c I didn't download it.

  • Ultimate Baseball Online: A baseball MMOG which allows a player to build their own character or become part of the community by creating teams, joining leagues, playing in tournaments, becoming a reporter(?), or managing the game as a GM (Game Master). If create your own team you make a team name, hometown, team motto, and preferred game times so that players can see what your team is all about. Then, you must recruit players (other gamers in the virtual world) and improving your team page with a team logo and news for people to read. Once the team is done, you can join a league for league play and play against people of similar skill levels. You can also develop your player's skills through practice, pick up games, and joining a team and playing in league games.

    My first impressions are that this doesn't seem as involved as the golf game and appears to be more like an online version of any baseball game you can play on an Xbox or PS3 only with a bit more control over things. Far less social as well I would think.

That's all I could find, anyone else have any out there (text-based games excluded)? Is anyone going to come out with a football or basketball game out there that would take over the market? We have many successful versions of the parts of what goes into a successful MMOG, but will someone put them all together for a genre changing sports MMOG? If the Warcraft, fantasy sports and sports video game market is any indication, surely the interest is there...its only a matter of time. Better yet, when it does happen...who will be the sports MMOG Leroy Jenkins (see below)?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Alex Trebeck Is A Potty Mouth Drunk

Classic footage (NSFW language) of Jeopardy's host Alex Trebeck drunk and swearing in outtakes that drive home just how drunk and angry Alex can be when he's not smiling and giving backhanded compliments on television. I guess being a game show host will drive you to drink, must be how they can maintain that glassy eyed, smiling demeanor all the time. I know i'd be lit up like a Christmas tree if that were my job, hey, it worked for Richard Dawson. Sometimes, we have to post these non sports videos. Enjoy

Cowboys Fans Know How To Use Teh Interwebs

The fans of the Dallas Cowboys are an intelligent lot. I say this not because my crack head cousin is a Cowboys fan, no it's because I realize now that they now know how to use computers. This is a fact I know because when I checked out the Redskins Wikipedia page today I noticed something was amiss...there was a giant freakin' Cowboys star at the top of the page along with this:

"The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington, D.C. area. The Washington Deadskins suck. Go Cowboys."
Don't believe me? Go to the page and see for yourself, but here's a screen shot I took of the cached page edit (red highlights at the bottom added by me for emphasis):

I'm typing this at like 4 in the morning and the page is still up. There's a Wiki-War going on and apparently its not the first time the Cowboys fans have defiled the Redskins Wiki page. Its happened on August 2nd, July 21, June 20th and probably a lot more, I just stopped looking there. I expected some sorta retaliation on the part of Redskins fans on the Cowboys wiki history, but there wasn't much except someone replaced their page with
"Worst team ever!!!! HAMBURGERS ARE AWESOME!!!"
which either is a brilliant, sarcastic and half hearted attempt to change the page...or just lame. Luckily, no Redskins fan has attached themselves to the Cowboys page recently...just some Philadelphia Eagles fan on August 8th rudely spouting off with incredibly bad spelling, which makes sense for those mouth breathers.

Its quite a battle that is going between the NFC East foes, who knew so many geeks actually watched football? Lets hope that the Redskins fans can actually retaliate on in a more interesting way than the Cowboys & Eagles fans have done.

What's good is that the rivalry is still somewhat alive in this Joe Gibbs II era...and that Dallas Cowboys fans are both somewhat literate and can actually use computers. No child left behind is working I guess. Good for them. Go Skins.

We Do Bike Races Better Than The French

Here in the good ole U.S. of A. we like to create our own, bastard versions, of sports. Let us add the bike race to the list. Up at the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition's annual biking festival, held in Concord, Massachusetts, you can now participate in a bike race AND a pie eating contest all in one. Thats right, its a pie race.

What the deal is, the race is a 6 1/2 mile race with 3 pie eating stations placed along the race route. When you reach a "pie stop", you must eat a slice of pie before you can move on, there can be no pie left on the plate or in your mouth. Obviously the faster you eat the pie, the better you will do in a race, so now bike racing is not a battle of endurance and dehydration, no its also a test of intestinal fortitude.

For any of our Massachusettes readers, there is still time to register. The race is on August 25th, register by heading to their site here.

Bike racing, it is now as American as apple pie. Personally, I think they should've made the riders eat a whole pie, just so i can see someone spew like Davey "Lardass" Hogan (see video).

Sorry Injury Rate...we had to do it. Nice slip n slide post though

WNBA Can Be An Eye Popping Experience

In this case...that can be read literally. Those in attendance for Tuesday night's Chicago Sky/New York Liberty game were in for a horrifying sight, Chicago forward Chasity Melvin's eyeball was gouged out of the socket by New York's Shameka Christon after accidentally poking Melvin in the eye with several fingers while going for a rebound.

Melvin had this to say after the game:

"It was kind of traumatizing. I really felt my eyeball coming out. I felt it coming out and I felt it outside of my face. It's going to take some time to get over this."
No kidding? It might take me some time to get over this and I only read about it. Lets all not forget that this isn't the first time this has happened in a ball game...Allen Ray, we will never forget you.

From WBBM 780
True Hoop did this earlier...but without the snazzy photoshop and video.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Monkeys Can Do More Sit-Ups Than Kevin Durant

The Ancient Mystic Society Of No Caseys

Tiger Tiger Woods y'all hates him some cripples. Either that or he hates golf carts. Either way, Casey Martin's not playing a round at Tiger's new golf course anytime soon.

Tiger is designing his first golf course in the mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. This comes on the heels of the first year of his successful golf tournament the Chocolate City Classic officially known as the AT&T National. The course named The Cliffs of North Carolina will not allow carts "which Woods said was key to the deal".

The 31-year-old said he will gradually grow his design business, selecting projects that fit within his crowded schedule.

But he pledged to come to the site as often as necessary to get the job done right.

``As you know, I'm kind of a perfectionist,'' Woods said.

Tiger should talk to his boy Michael Jordan about showing up to the job. Maybe he'd keep jobs longer and not draft donkeys like Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison. Then again, Morrison does have a sweet ass molestache.

Wayne Rooney's Metatarsal

One weekend down. Spurs are getting relegated and Sunderland's gonna win the league. Who says there's no balance in the Premier League? Two roundups in one week. It's like a gang sweep in LA except no innocents are beaten unless you count Spuds fans.

Yay! Wait...I Like Stuff but These are Things

It's not enough that Posh Spice annoys us with her excessive preening and desperation for media attention. Now she's started a blog and "writes" like a valley girl from an 80s movie.

Hope you are all well? Well we have finally unpacked our boxes and I am loving our new house - it is totally major! ... The boys are really looking forward to starting their new school so we've got to make sure they are all kitted out with new schoolbags and pencil cases - you remember what it's like going back to school, you've got to have a new EVERYTHING!
David and myself attended a launch last week in Bel Air (very swish) for the launch of our latest fragrance Intimately Beckham ...
I'm also just starting work on my new dVb denim collection - I'm really excited about starting the next project - it's going to be totally major so keep your eyes open for that.
I'm so totally dumber for having read that.

I didn't have to share that find but what good is pain if you can't share it?

McClaren: Top Formula One Team or Assclown Manager

I'll take B for 1000.

Steve McClaren shouldn't feel bad. It's not his fault that the FA couldn't choose a decent England manager if the lives of the English people depended on it. Someone as incompetent as him never should have been put in the position of managing a national team let alone a chip shop. Nothing says competence and skill like having a fan run on the field, tear his season ticket up and throw it at you.

McClaren banished David Beckham from the national squad only to have him inspire Real Madrid to a La Liga title and look like a world beater. He was forced to go crawling back and beg Beckham to rejoin the team. One would think he would have learned from that experience but...

Fast forward to Jamie Carragher. He's been left in the cold in favor of Ledley King and Wes Brown. One would be hard pressed to find a number of fans who would rate him below those two donkeys.

Carragher, rightfully sick over how he has been treated, declared he was finished with international football. A couple injuries later, McClown has been forced to drop to his knees and beg him to come back. He would be right to tell McClown where to stick it.

It's not all doom and gloom so buck up, England! Sol Campbell's getting a recall.

Toilet Seat Thieves Don't Cut It Anymore

Chelsea have reportedly landed Brazilian right back Daniel Alves from Sevilla for over £21.5m. He was held out of Sevilla's Champions League qualifier with AEK Athens yesterday so that he would not be cup-tied in case he made the move to Chelsea or another Champions League team like Real Madrid.

If the reports are true, Chelsea will have a world class right back and can banish toilet seat thief Glen Johnson to the salt mines for his shockingly awful play.

"You're just a fat Eddie Murphy" for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink? Brilliant.

It's Worse Than Opening The Ark of the Covenant

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

OJ's Book Will Be Released

Many news outlets are reporting that OJ Simpson's book "If I Did It" is going to finally be released. The book will be repackaged and republished with "additional commentary". From the press release:

"The family and publisher have pledged to leave Simpson's manuscript entirely intact, but they will also add key commentary."
The family, the family of victim Ron Goldman, were granted the rights to the book last month as part of the $33.5 million in damages that OJ still owes them...and now the book is getting released. The public outcry over this book getting published in the first place was off the charts, but now it's supposedly "ok" because they get to add their own commentary and they keep the money?? America...what a country.

A spokesman didn't say who the publisher was, nor did they specify when the book was actually going to be coming out, instead opting for more hype by saying further details about the book are going to be released today.

I always wondered how much the price of a human soul is worth...apparently we're all about to find out.

From TMZ and ABC News

The Constitutional Vol. 16

Oh, how the slightly better than average have fallen. We somehow managed to drop from 14 to 29 in the Ballhype blog rankings, all while actually having the biggest month we've ever had on the Deuce. We've somehow have like tripled the hits on the blog since we left Epic and concentrated hard on the posting here but dropped 15 points in the rankings. Strange how these things work. Keep reading folks, and if you're reading, hype away, and if you're hyping, comment away, and...ah screw it, do what you want, we don't really care...Welcome to the Constitutional.

  • The WaPo's Express Interviewed Aaron Schatz of The Pro Football Prospectus and it is a must read. Washington Express

  • The Olympics symbol promotes has some hidden meaning. 100% Injury Rate

  • The Story Behind The NFL Green Sticker. Pacman Jonesin'

  • What happened to that Redskin player that was carted off the field? Mr. Irrelevant wants to know. Mr. Irrelevant

  • A long post about why people hate Tiger. Sons of Sam Malone

  • Vegas Watch crunches some numbers and figures out the odds of Bobby Jenks continuing his streak. Vegas Watch

  • Joe Torre rocks a pinky ring. Home Run Derby

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff and Dan Steinberg...separated at birth?? Rumors and Rants

  • Hilarious find for the Big Lead...Pedro almost missed Barry's big home run. The Big Lead

  • The NBA's new slogan SUCKS. Awful Announcing

  • Screw Steroids, HGH, the cream and the clear...Sharapova is going to Chernobyl to get a dose of the gamma rays like the Hulk! Lion in Oil

Willis McGahee is Looking for Love

Willis McGahee ran for 20 yards on 5 carries last night while the Ravens beatdown the Eagles in a pre-season stinkfest...but to run like that all season for the Ravens, he's gonna need a little "love".

"I need to feel the love,"
"I want it noisy and loud. If I feel the love, I can go out there and do what I got to do."
Who knew that Willis was such a sensitive guy? Sure we'd all like to have a little love in our lives, we'd all like to have that love be noisy and loud and to really feel it, but sometimes, its not noisy and loud and you gotta do what you gotta do anyway. Man up! Sometimes the love is meek, sometimes the love is a little quiet, but you gotta power through that and show them what you can do, then maybe, they'll let their guard down and open up to you.

Also, I'm sure the Ravens fans out there want to have a little protection since they've loved another before you (ie: Jamal Lewis) and he left them, so you probably wont feel as much love as you felt it when you were at the U and they loved you unprotected. Remember what happened up in Buffalo when you loved unprotected? (hint: 3 kids)

Take it easy there Willis...I'm sure you'll feel the love soon enough, just be patient, work a little for it. Try to stimulate your fans before you rush into that love, I'm sure those Ravens fans will appreciate it before you break your knee again and screw them.

Quote from: The Baltimore Sun