Being A Dad

You could keep your Mario Brothers, your Halo and your Sonic Hedgehogs - my video game addiction was all about Madden and MLB The Show.  My game system of choice was the Playstation 2 and my intervention came in the form of having kids where I learned to value sleep more than scouring the free agent market for a middle infielder at 3:30 in the morning.  

And so my PS2 sat dormant, collecting dust until about a year or so ago when Jackson started to show interest.  Not surprisingly, he showed the most interest in baseball video games and while he's played them all, MLB The Show remains the king.  

The game offers tons of features to keep adults playing deep into the night, but I'd like to focus on some of the kid-friendly features that Jackson enjoys the most.  

First and foremost, each team is represented with a pretty accurate roster and each ballpark is rendered in super detail (for an additional fee, you can have a smelly fat guy sit in front of you when you play).  

Each team offers several different uniform options including some awesomely hideous throwback choices from the 70s and 80s.  

Virtually every part of the game play is adjustable - automatic or assisted fielding, base running, sliding and throwing all limit the frustration possibilities for the kiddies.  

Kids, like chicks, dig the long ball so the Home Run Derby option is a popular choice.  

Old Timers are well represented with two teams from the Golden Era (Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, etc) and Silver Era (Bench, Gwynn, Seaver, etc) available for play as is a selection of vintage stadiums including the Polo Grounds and Forbes Field and not so vintage stadiums like Shea the Metrodome.  It's the perfect opportunity for your kids to make you feel really old when they pepper you with questions about players you grew up watching.  

One of Jackson's favorite features is to reset all the rosters via a fantasy draft - he prefers the game's auto draft so he can be surprised to find out which players wound up on each team (he accomplishes this by closing his eyes as tight as he can while dad presses a button).  

From a financial standpoint, you can't go wrong with the PS2 - MLB 10 brand new is less than 30 bucks while the same game for the PS3 is closer to 60.  Yes, you sacrifice features like virtual jock itch, but the savings are worth it.  

Speaking of savings, if your child doesn't know or care about accurate rosters you can get a previous edition of the game for anywhere from $5 to $15 - the older the game, the cheaper it is.  Of course Jackson is such a freak for baseball that he likes to play as many previous versions of the game as possible so he can appreciate the nuances of Jose Valentin's swing from the 2006 season.  

Probably the best feature of them all is that I get to play too and rationalize it as good old fashioned father-son bonding time.