Ahh … spring is here. Breathe in the sweet air of freshly cut grass. Feel the light breeze tingle across your face. Got that out of your system? Good. Now shut the damn windows, pick up your controller and turn on the TV. Video games will give you all the exercise you need.
Ahh … spring is here. Breathe in the sweet air of freshly cut grass. Feel the light breeze tingle across your face.
Got that out of your system? Good. Now shut the damn windows, pick up your controller and turn on the TV. Video games will give you all the exercise you need.
Golf, tennis, baseball and a bevy of other sports are synonymous with being out in the sun and having fun, but 2008 will be a great year to enjoy these activities while exercising nothing but your thumbs. For the athletically lacking, various game design studios offer a way to participate in these springtime traditions without all that god-awful sweating (or awkward purchasing of support-based undergarments).
Summer Sports: Paradise IslandPlatform: Nintendo Wii
Nintendo loves making ham-fisted party games (Mario Party, anyone?), and that’s not so bad as long as the games utilize the Wii remote to its fullest. And Paradise Island does just that. The controls take full advantage of the Wii remote and are an evolution beyond Wii Sports, meaning timing and placement are actually important in this game.
Paradise Island isn’t breaking any new ground, but the presentation, graphics and sound are all decent as long as you like a tropical theme. And with a lineup that features croquet, lawn darts, badminton and horseshoes, most of the traditional spring sports are represented.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic GamesPlatform: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS
The Wii edition has been available for some time now, but the recent release of the DS version revisits the first title to bring one-time rivals Mario and Sonic together. Olympic Games is a pretty enjoyable collection of track and field events, and the arching and fencing games are strangely addictive. The Wii controls don’t stand out against other titles on the console, but the DS controls are tighter and well-suited to playing on the go.
The graphics, presentation and sound are all solid, though the players don’t offer much differentiation. Controlling Mario is almost the same as controlling Sonic the Hedgehog, and that’s just tragic given that one is a fat plumber and the other claims to be the world’s fastest critter. So the competition is down to player talent–and not the character. Invite some friends over and sprint, row and fence to your heart’s content.
Sega Superstars TennisPlatform: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS
Holy franchise crossover, Batman! In the wake of the wildly popular Super Smash Bros. trend of bringing various characters from several titles into one game, Sega serves up a chance for gamers to pit its most popular characters against one another on the tennis court. Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS (the androgynous jester from Nights Into Dreams) and Aiai from Super Monkey Ball all make appearances.
The game play feels a bit uninspired. But then again, Pong set the tennis game template decades ago. What’s left to add on after that? Superstars Tennis adds good graphics, nice sound, a wide swath of characters and a few mini-games, so check it out and show tennis gaming some love (40-love, baby). The game came out two weeks ago, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find online or at a local game shop.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 08Platform: PlayStation Portable, PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows, Mac OS X
For the serious sports gamer, EA Sports crafts games focused more on simulation and attention to detail than on wacky game play. PGA Tour will give you a real sense of the Scottish national pastime as you play through courses modeled after world-renowned greens with international golf champs like Paula Creamer, Vijay Singh and of course Tiger Woods.
The menus are easy to navigate, the graphics are pristine as well as accurate and the sounds are very realistic. However, this doesn’t change the fact that golf is the most boring sport ever. If you like golf and don’t want to play in April showers, this game is a hole-in-one. If you’re not privy to the technical aspects of golf or don’t like repetitive, methodical game play, don’t waste your time.
MLB 08: The ShowPlatform: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP
Now this is how a baseball game is supposed to be! There’s an extensive scouting mode, franchise team creation, MLB endorsement and licensed use of real players. Not to mention a rockin’ soundtrack spanning A Tribe Called Quest to ZZ Top. Batting and pitching game play is top-notch, the multi-player mode is a lot of fun and the commentary, though sometimes a bit dry, has its moments of humor.
If Sony and Nintendo can reach an agreement and release a Wii version, baseball gaming will be just like the real thing. If you enjoy baseball games, this is one to buy immediately–it was released in March, so it should be easy to track down.