This week’s edition of Surviving Sunday features my annual review of the best video game series on the planet: Out of the Park Baseball. But before we get to learning more about Out of the Park Baseball 16, let’s cover the Packers news and notes from this week.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- It’s decision time for the Packers on Sean Richardson. The safety signed a $2.55 million restricted free agent offer sheet with the Raiders, and the Packers must decide if they want to match it by late Monday. If they do, Richardson would be the 13th highest paid player on the team based on 2015 cap numbers. That’s a lot for a backup safety, but let’s not forget Richardson’s special teams experience. If the Packers really want to improve on special teams, they should want Richardson back — event if they have to pay up to keep him.
- Don Barclay will be back with the Packers next season, assuming he’s all healed up from his knee injury. I thought Barclay was a tad overrated when he got extensive playing time in 2013, but (if healthy), he should be a much better backup/depth option at tackle and guard than what the Packers had last season.
- With Barclay back, the Packers offensive line is shaping up to look like this: David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, T.J. Lang and Bryan Bulaga starting. J.C. Tretter and Barclay coming off the bench. Is it September yet? Seeing the Packers offensive line return in tact, with Barclay added to the mix and Tretter with a year under his belt, makes me want to watch this team right now.
- The Packers will play the Patriots, Steelers, Eagles and Saints in the 2015 exhibition season. That’s a brutal preseason schedule. I bet McCarthy is fired by week 3.
- Here’s a nice summary of who various analysts have the Packers taking in several mock drafts.
- Some interesting insight here from Tex at Acme Packing Co. on how the suspension of Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell could set the standard for whatever punishment the Packers’ Letroy Guion will face.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
Every year that Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) releases a new version of its baseball management simulation game, I say the same thing: “This year’s version of OOTP is the best one yet.” Well, call me a broken record, because OOTP 16, released a few weeks ago, takes an already great game and makes it even greater.
With each new version of OOTP, I search hard for game-breaking flaws that would give me a reason to discourage people from buying the game. Every year I don’t find any. And believe me, I look. Closely. A game shouldn’t be this close to perfect, but OOTP 16 is.
If you’re unfamiliar with OOTP baseball, it’s a baseball simulation game that makes you the general manager and/or manager of a baseball team. To put the game in Packers’ terminology, you become Ted Thompson and/or Mike McCarthy — making roster moves, setting team strategies, drafting and developing, signing free agents, building team chemistry, working with a budget – to try and lead your team to championships.
Unlike console baseball games on Xbox or PS4, you don’t mash buttons or use a joystick to achieve success. In OOTP 16, you use your brain and baseball management IQ. OOTP 16 is a thinking man’s game.
The first noticeable improvement in OOTP 16 is its official MLB license. All real player names, modern-day and historical team logos and ballparks come with the game. No more having to download and install user-created mod files. A real-life MLB setup is possible right out of the box.
You’ll also notice several small additions that add to OOTP 16’s immersion. If you play a management simulation game for a certain amount of time, it can feel like you’re staring at spreadsheet instead of playing a videogame. Not the case with OOTP 16. The game’s graphical interface is second-to-none and keeps the game’s appearance fresh and interesting.
New features like improved playoff coverage, player info popups, better-written news stories and manager/coach personalities and traits completely suck you into whatever baseball universe you create.
My personal favorite mode is the random debut feature. You set up a new baseball universe, complete with however many teams, divisions, minor leagues and postseason slots you want, and the game creates a draft pool of players from throughout the history of baseball. When your initial draft is complete, you might end up with Ryan Braun in left field, Bob Uecker behind the plate and Mickey Mantle in center field.
If I had to find one gripe about OOTP 16, it’s the fact that it’s become too immersive. There are so many options to tinker with and features to explore that the game can be intimidating for new users. Heck, sometimes it’s even intimidating for me, and I’ve been playing it for 15 years.
If you read ALLGBP.com, chances are you think a little harder and deeper about sports than your average fan who might read the occasional newspaper column or tune into Sports Center. If that’s the case, you need to try OOTP Baseball 16.
You will get addicted, and before you know it, this period we’re experiencing now with no Packers football will fly by in no time at all.
You can find out all you need to know about OOTP 16, including purchase information, at ootpdevelopments.com.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .