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Pub date August 8, 2006
SectionArts & CultureSectionTrash

Playing with his balls
MLB 06: The Show
(Sony; Sony PSP)
GAMER This was supposed to be a review of the FIFA World Cup game, but I hate soccer. So instead I am covering this totally awesome baseball game. The Show is something like the 10th generation of these games from Sony. So if you’ve been keeping up, there are few changes in the playing of the game itself. Instead there are some cool new features.
First of all, when custom-creating a player, you can load in personal photos and put your own face or someone else’s on the player’s head. Or maybe you would like your player to have a giant beaver instead of a face. The possibilities are endless.
There is also a rivalry mode in which you can track the jillions of stats from games you play against a chosen friend. I have no friends, so I have not tried this particular feature. But if I had the Show back in 2002 when my friend and I were locked in a mortal, daily war with Dreamcast World Series Baseball 2K1 (Pedro Martinez on the cover — also the best baseball video game ever made), this function would have come in handy. I don’t know that I’ve ever been as angry at a person as when my “friend” — Guardian hack and self-defense nut Jason Boronski — incessantly ran up the score with something he called “chaos on the base paths,” a.k.a. cheating. One time during a very tense seventh inning when the wheels just came off and the Cheater made an impressive nine-run comeback, a deadly silence fell on the room. Staring straight at the TV, playing the game out in smoldering, angry silence, I waited for the last straw so I could throw my controller as hard as I could — at the wall, at the screen, at Boronski’s face. I honestly didn’t know where it was going. I just knew I was approaching total madness. Boronski’s response: “I’m actually afraid of you right now.” Good times, good times.
The makers of the Show have added a really amazing number of cuts to the play — including batter walk ups and pitcher reactions. I used to click right through these, but the other day my shortstop, Alex Gonzalez, hit a three-run homer and the cut showed him walking into the dugout where he was totally ignored by his teammates who customarily would be congratuutf8g him. These irreal video beings were messing with his mind! Incredible. Now I watch all the cutaways to see how much more exciting my life can be. Thank you, game makers.
You do have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this game fully. Just a warning. (Mike McGuirk)