Baseball and videogames have usually been a happy union. This blog has commented previously on the joys and addiction of the original RBI baseball for the Nintendo 8-bit system. My family used to joke: You know what is worse than playing RBI Baseball for 6 hours straight? Watching someone else play RBI Baseball for 6 hours straight. But how times have changed. On August 20th, the kind people at Nintendo invited some of the SoSG writers to attend a Dodger game in an event suite, eat Dodger Dogs, and try out the new Nintendo Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii coming out on August 25th. So there are TWO game experiences that I have to review.
First the Nintendo one. We had a quick demonstration by the Nintendo reps showing us how to use the Wii controller to hit, run, and pitch. There are different modes that you can play too. Of course the classic player-vs-player and even 2-vs-2 players against each other. There is also an ingenious one player mode in which you could go through the various kingdoms and learn the "special moves" as you battle various bosses. But, as everyone knows, the fun of the Wii is taking on your friends mode in a fierce battle of baseball. I guess I have to mention that Orel beat me 4-1, luckily we weren't playing for money. The game is fairly easy to pick up too which is the fun of pretty much all Wii games. One of the downsides of the game is that there is no online play, but you can't have everything. Overall, the graphics are crisp, the concept is great, and the game play is fun and would recommend the game for baseball fans that just want to have a great time playing with their friends (except watch out for Orel, he's good).
Now for the Dodger game experience. The Hollywood Event suite is, well, sweet. We were in the first suite next to the Stadium Club restaurant in right field. The first thing that catches your eye is the Dodger pool table complete with logo and Dodger blue and white light over the table. Over on the far wall there is a large print of the the Hollywood sign and the wall is decorated with various celebrity pictures, mostly from the Hollywood Stars Night games, as well as a 40" Sharp LCD TV that we used to play the game.
On the other walls there were bigger pictures of celebrities including one with Frank Sinatra in a Dodger hat. There were also two of those Dodger recliner chairs with drink holders that for some reason I couldn't get to recline all the way back. Comfy, but I couldn't see it in my living room. However, I did like the Dodger stools (that swivel!) and bar tables located throughout the room which looked shiny and new. And of course there were the 2 rows of seats outside with nice mesh chairs and a ledge to put your drinks. The game itself was pretty much a let down. Bills looked to be dealing early and the offense gave us a lead, but all of those errors by guys playing out of position just killed us. I think the experiment is over - if you are going to rest 'em Torre, just sit 'em. Orel and I also didn't understand why Ethier didn't come in at the end of the game and hit for Ardoin. Pierre had his obligatory one hit for the game (Juan for four right?). So take him and his weak arm out, move Martin to catcher, and have Ethier take Ardoin's place in the lineup for another chance at a walk-off. I guess Torre knew something that I didn't, but we still ended up with a loss.
Overall, it was a great experience, both gaming and Dodger-related. Thanks so much to Conor for his invitation to this event. I had a wonderful time - would have been better if the Dodgers won - but we can't have them all. Oh, and if the Dodgers need another bat, that Mario guy is pretty good.