February 17, 2013 - GM Games, a simulation game review website founded in 2011 dedicated to quality reporting and reviews of the simulation genre, is branching out in its second phase of the website's growth; the hosting only the best simulation leagues running today. In this pursuit, GM Games is thrilled to announce a new partnership with what we believe is the best baseball, if not the best simulation league in operation - MLB Pro.
MLB Pro is a baseball simulation league that runs on the Out of the Park engine and will serve as our flagship league in the pursuit of expanding our stable of cutting edge leagues, as well as raise the bar for new leagues being formed in the entire sports simulation community. Most notable is the ESPN style website created to handle journalistic content from all General Managers.
MLB Pro was created in June of 2012 with a single overarching mission: create the most immersive simulation league and through that, come as close to replicating the real general manager experience short of earning a paycheck. It does this in many ways but the most of all is it is the only league to sim one day, every single day, replicating the MLB schedule and the MLB pace. General managers live and die by every day instead of blazing through the season in a few months and only caring about the result of the season.
MLB Pro is so much more than a unique sim schedule and that is the reason why we are so proud to have it as our flagship league. MLB Pro also has the most supplementary material of any league. Twitter is used extensively, from a league account to a trade rumors feed, not to mention most of the teams operating their own Twitter accounts. MLB Pro Radio is the umbrella of radio shows about the league, from 'The John Comey Show' who keeps you up to date on news of the league, to the 'Jabs' Game of the Week' with play-by-play by Justin Jabs. MLB Pro also has beat writers for every division and a league for of GM who write articles about their teams. The league also watches all of the games live through OOTP's real-time sim feature.
MLB Pro has also incorporated the Nippon Japanese Baseball League. General Managers on the waiting list are given a team in Nippon and they compete against the rest of the waiting list, fighting to have the best record when the next team in the MLB opens up. While they do this, they spend the time getting comfortable with the league and its members, writing articles, and joining in the festivities like any other general manager. Nippon is no second-tier system here.
"The staff at MLB Pro and it's General Managers provided the perfect playground to make a cutting edge website to best simulate a SportsCenter ESPN themed website. We feel this next level of league management adds a dimension and fun factor that is unparalled in the baseball simulation community. More importantly we bring a great group of managers to our community and forums that will help continue to make GM Games the destination to read about and talk sports simulation.", said Chris Valius, Web Admin and Founder of General Manager Games.
Commissioner Andrew Sowders of MLB Pro says "MLB Pro is a labor of love and anyone who shows the same passion and aspiration is going to have my attention. Chris not only has that passion for GM Games but shares the same vision for MLB Pro and sees the franchise it is and can be. Chris understands what makes a good simulation league, the potential they possess, and I couldn't imagine a more perfect home for MLB Pro or any other league."
MLB Pro is the finest league going and a magnificant ambassador for OOTP is and what it can be. GM Games could not be happier about our partnership. We have no doubt it will be a beneficial one for all parties.
About GMgames.org - Founded in 2011, GM Games is a game review organization oriented to non-arcade sports games. Our visitors are a community with the dream of becoming a 'Sports General Manager'. GM Games is inclusive of all team sports that require a successful General Manager to shape the direction towards a championship franchise. General Manager based games have been created on multiple platforms that simulate reality with a role playing experience. GM Games is inclusive and encourages growth of all developments and companies designing games to best simulate this reality experience. With GM Games - there is no longer the confusion to find reputable reviews at a website oriented towards arcade console gaming. GMgames.org is the source for Game News, Discussion, Developer Blogs, Online League News and building your General Manager reputation on our social network.
November 3rd, 2012 - I'm a virtual virtual sports community lifer.
While I was unaware of the vast world of mail leagues (that's antiquated, your-grandpas-snail-mail mail leagues, where you rolled dice to see who got a hit, not hit a button), I became quite in tune with the world of online sim gaming. My first taste, which happened to be the only online league run by OOTP dynasty legend DreamTeams, came in December of 1998. I was a freshman at Bloomsburg University, and being a freshman that spent the majority of my time at the Rec Center and not at the frat houses, I had a lot of evenings to kill. Finding the MLEB (Major League Electronic Baseball) filled a creative void. I took over the league a year later, and then merged with another league, moving to High Heat as the base, in 2000. That league, the eMLB, still runs today. It is one of the longest-running leagues around, with a core of guys comprised of those two leagues from fifteen years ago.
Throughout the years, that core group has engaged in several ventures together, including a couple I have been fortunate to run. One, the American Baseball League, was a bit ahead of its time; it had a history played out before we took over. The owners helped shape the course of events, adding in players they had enjoyed watching throughout their own solo leagues. It was a very simplistic, very successful league, predicated on the axiom that immersion draws people in. It is a virtue by which the most successful leagues operate; if you don't have a fourth wall, you're going to soon realize that you're just playing a computer game.
Other concepts have had various degrees of success. However, one idea had long been on my mind.
The daily league.
In 2001, while suffering from summer classes and pneumonia, I began to piece together the idea of running a complete sports world, along with an ESPN-esque site, to keep everything together. Eleven years later, that idea is closer to fruition...though it is still a long ways away (having a pro and college football sim combo would go a long way towards alleviating that problem, to any developers reading this).
However, I have been fortunate enough to encounter, join, and immerse myself in one league that is achieveing such an endeavor. That league is MLBPro.
The league, formed in June, has embraced the day-by-day model. It has a very dedicated core of owners who participate daily; some write articles about their team. There is a chat room on the website (shill alert: http://www.mlbpro.net) that is generally always busy. There are nightly live sims using OOTP's tidy Live Sim feature. There is a podcast or two, run by yours truly, as often as possible.
Rivalries are formed. Bonds are made. Competition is fierce.
The beauty of this kind of league is that you can basically select your level of participation. If you want to micro-manage your team in every facet, and utilize the seven-day lineups, as well as check the waiver wire and your minors every single day, well...that's how I run my group of gritty Phillies. If you wish to be more laissez-faire in your approach, well, you can check in every few days. There's a mix of both in MLBPro; however, there is no shortage of participation. The league is operating at 85% league participation (in this case, that means multiple exporting each week); this will grow shortly, as the inevitable new blood enters the league to replace those who discover this format isn't for them.
To that end, I recommend trying any format you think you may be even remotely interested in; you never know what may click for you. Some like the pace fast, and seeing their plans come to a quick resolution. Others prefer building the story. I'm generally in the latter camp, but it took me awhile to understand that.
If you are someone that loves talking trade, well...I can assure you...this league is for you. I have never witnessed a trading deadline like this one. It honestly felt like what I imagined the real deadline to be. I turned three deals myself, moving Cliff Lee for several players, while securing a couple of smaller deals in the process. I'm still processing all of the news from that day for a column this weekend.
Anyway, while this, my introductory column here at GMgames, has somewhat devolved into a shill for the league in which I play, there are two bigger points to make:
1) We are heading towards the day when our gaming environment can mirror the current news environment. The day of a collection of guys getting together, each taking a sport, and creating a universe in which all of the sports exist on the same plane, and people operate under that working premise, is coming. And it's coming sooner than you think. For those of you who have had a chance to read Tiger Fan's breathtaking multi-sport dynasties at FOFC or the OOTP forums, you know just how incredible such a concept can be, when done right (and that's the underlying point...if you're going to do a project, any project, you can't do it halfway).
2) If you are new to the community, and we are currently in the ebb-and-flow of seeing more new blood enter the atmosphere than in the past, play around with many different formats, before deciding what is your wheelhouse. You may surprise yourself.
And, while you're deciding, stop by MLBPro, and say hello. You may decide to stay awhile.
November 2nd, 2012 - Football Manager 2013, announced today by Sports Interactive and SEGA, marks a seismic shift in the development of the best-selling series.
In addition to offering an array of improvements and enhancements over its predecessors, the new release also incorporates a series of radical changes and new game modes which, for some, will revolutionise the way the game is played.
Perhaps the most noteworthy of these is the introduction of the all-new Classic mode… or 'FMC' as it’s become known within Sports Interactive. FMC offers, for the first time in Football Manager's long and successful history, an alternative, less time-consuming way for players to approach the game. The new mode simplifies the way players manage their club and allows them to focus on the nuts and bolts of taking their team to the top.
"The introduction of FMC is a major step forward in Football Manager's evolution," says Sports Interactive’s Studio Director Miles Jacobson. “In recent years it's become clear that there's a large group of people who would like to play Football Manager, but simply can't devote the time required to get the most out of the game – in fact, now that they have families and other commitments, even some members of the SI team have found themselves in this position. We decided, therefore, to try to find a way to accommodate players with limited free time, without significantly diluting the experience. We believe that FMC achieves this beautifully."
"I would, however, like to stress to our many, many fans around the world that the introduction of FMC will not impact in any way on the game that they've come to know and love. For those who still want the full, 'hands-on' experience, FM13 offers exactly what they're looking for – a bigger, better and even more immersive version of the world's greatest football management simulation."
As well as streamlining the manager's role – to the point where a full season can be played out in eight to 10 hours – FMC also offers its players two distinct ways to play; they can either embark on an open-ended career or test their mettle in the new Challenge mode.
In Challenge mode the player faces a particular scenario which is designed to test his or her management skills over a set period of time - usually half a season. The challenges replicate a variety of real world circumstances… is it possible to achieve success with a squad consisting entirely of kids, for example, or can a team that’s bottom of the table on Christmas Day be saved from relegation by the end of the season?
Challenge mode was first introduced to Football Manager in Football Manager Handheld 2012 (for iPhone and Android) and proved so popular that it has been incorporated into the PC and Mac game. FM13 will ship with five challenges included, while more will be made available throughout the year, depending on the level of demand from players around the world.
Alongside Challenge mode, FMC also incorporates a number of 'unlockable' features which, if used, make the game a little easier to play – managers can remove the need for work permits, for example, or add a few million to their transfer budget. Players can 'earn' some of these unlockables by reaching in-game milestones, while all are available to purchase if the player chooses to do so.
FM13 also sees the introduction of a range of all-new features and significant enhancements to some of the game's existing elements. Some of the highlights include:
Improved 3D match engine
Perhaps the most visible enhancements to FM13 will be those that have been made to the 3D match engine. In this year’s release, everything on and around the pitch will look more realistic; from the stadiums and crowds through the players' movements and the way the ball moves through the air. A variety of new and improved animations give matches a more realistic feel, while a revamp of the camera system makes the matchday experience more 'televisual'. These visual enhancements are underpinned by a dramatic improvement in the match engine’s artificial intelligence system.
New staff roles
FM13 sees a significant restructure of the manager's backroom staff and a revamp of their roles. This includes the introduction of a Director of Football who will (if required) take on some of the manager's workload, such as contract negotiations or the disposal of unwanted players. In addition, the number of specialist coaches has increased and the manager has greater flexibility to choose which coaches to seek advice from and when to do this, as well as more specialised coaches and the ability to improve coach's skills as they qualify for their coaching badges.
Improved media interaction
The interaction between the manager and the media has been revamped. One significant aspect of this is that managers can now adopt different tones when dealing with the press – choosing between a number of moods ranging from 'calm' to 'aggressive'.
FM13 sees a huge revamp of the multi-player game, which now makes full use of the Steam system’s network functionality, allowing players to set up and enjoy games against other managers far more easily than before. The improved network game also includes a number of bespoke, one-off league and cup options alongside the standard career version, including one mode which allows the player to take the team that he or she has built and developed in their single-player game and test it in the multi-player environment.
FM13's deeper integration with Steam also sees the introduction of worldwide leaderboards which means, for the first time, that players can see exactly where they stand compared to their fellow managers across the globe. In addition to the full global ranking ladder, there will also be a number of individual leaderboards covering the game’s different modes and every playable nation and division. The leaderboards use a sophisticated scoring system that takes into account a variety of factors including the level a manager chooses to compete at, his or her club's financial performance and even their in-game wages – making the new manager contract negotiation feature a really important addition to the game.
FM13 boasts a new interface and skin for 'career' mode, and a fresh new look for 'classic' mode, as well as lots of work on navigation, an animated interface and a new search system means that whichever mode you go for, FM13 will be the easiest to use and best-looking game in the series to date.
In FM13 managers will have the ability to go deeper into their team's training and choose a schedule that suits their needs. Training is now managed through a simplified overview panel which combines general coaching with more detailed preparation. Managers can now choose where they want to focus their team’s training, whether that is on more general routines or in preparing for specific matches.
Realistic tax regimes
One of the major factors which influences real world footballers when they come to choose which club to sign for is the different level of tax which is payable from one country to another. This is now reflected in FM13, which includes up-to-date tax regimes for each of its featured countries – something which the in-game footballers will take into account when deciding which club to join.
Football Manager 2013 will be published by SEGA for Windows PC and Mac before Christmas 2012. Many of the game's 900-plus new and enhanced features will be outlined in a series of video blogs which will be released over the coming weeks.
November 1st, 2012 - The PFS player universe has been updated with 2012-2013 players and rosters.
There is also a rough draft class in for 2013-2014.
Pro Football Simulator now has players and rosters from 1950 all the way through 2013. There are also league formats that cover just about every professional league in history, including NFL, AFL, CFL, WFL, and the USFL. There are several formats that you can use to recreate the entire history of the NFL, including expansion. This also helps online leagues expand and contract based on the popularity of the league.
November 1st, 2012 - Gary Gorski of Wolverine Studios has distributed his newest major release for Draft Day Sports - Pro Basketball 3. Some of the major changes of version 1.3 include a complete update of rosters for the 2012-2013 season. This includes the James Harden trade to the Houston Rockets.
In addition, Wolverine Studios has enhanced the AI logic on how they behave with restricted free agent offers. Graphics have also been improved for scoreboards.
To stay up to date on Basketball simulators, visit our forum and be prepared for a review of DDSPB3 from GM Games in the near future.
When I broke open the box with Randy Johnson on the cover and installed the Sierra Sports classic, I played it like you were “supposed to” play sports video games, meaning I mashed buttons on the keyboard and played arcade style. To my 16-year-old mind, the game didn't seem all that different from RBI Baseball on the NES or World Series Baseball on the Sega Genesis.
Then one day – and I can’t remember why – I started using the simulate game option instead of the usual button-mashing. The family computer wasn't the fastest machine in the world, so it still took an hour or so to sim a couple weeks of games, but I was fascinated.
The stats were realistic. Transactions resembled real-life. Righty/lefty splits and player ratings actually seemed to matter. From there, I discovered the fantasy draft option and – despite taunts from my brother -- became hooked on GM sim-style gaming.
I eventually discovered an early version of Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) and became instantly addicted. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted in college playing OOTP. A 10-page paper due in two days? Eh, I’ll sneak in a few games of OOTP before getting started.
Four hours later, I’d be lucky to have 10 sentences of my paper finished, but it didn’t matter because my stud first-baseman in my OOTP world was well on his way to the home run crown.
Along the way, I also discovered games like Front Office Football, Fast Break Basketball, Eastside Hockey Manager, Dave Koch’s Action PC Games and many, many more GM sims that ended up occupying way more of my life than they should have.
I still have a hard time explaining to people why I’d rather simulate a game on Out of the Park Baseball instead of play one out on PS3's MLB: The Show. Maybe text-based GM sims are something you have to experience on your own before fully understanding what they’re about and how much fun they can be.
Sideways looks from my wife and blank stares of confusion from my friends haven’t deterred me from continuing to dive deeper and deeper into the GM sim world. I’ve lost track of how many GM sims I own. Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf…heck, even pro wrestling and horse racing. If there’s a text sim for it, I’ve probably owned it at one time.
I’m going to mainly focus on basketball here at GMgames.org. Basketball recently underwent a bit of a stat nerd revolution and numbers and metrics are becoming a bigger part of how players are evaluated. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with my interest in GM style hoops games, but I think it means only good things for the future of the genre.
I look forward to interacting with everyone, answering questions, diving deep into discussions, and maybe even arguing every now and then. There are a few upcoming or recently released basketball games to discuss, so be on the watch for my first review.
Finally, don't be shy. If you have a topic you'd like me to discuss or a hidden-gem of a game, let me know I'll gladly look into it.
October 25, 2012 - There are two things I've always loved to do. Follow sports and tell stories. From an early age -- as soon as I could walk, really -- I was playing sports, watching them on TV, and using my imagination to create worlds of my own. I loved playing the early console games: your early Maddens, the NHL 94 type games, Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball and so on. I played them so much that I wore out the cartridges. At some point though, there was something about the lure of text-based simulation games -- PC sports, really -- that drew me away from the standard console fare.
While my friends were spending their junior high years trying to score 90-points-per-game in Madden or breaking the 200 point barrier in NBA Live, I was hard at work on meticulously crafting my own worlds in text based simulations or even on paper. I was always searching for a perfect balance between realism and the way I thought things should be. I kept detailed paper logs of extracurricular things that happened -- steroids scandals and accidental deaths, coach firings and shocking-but-realistic player movements. I made all the personnel changes that I felt were obvious for every real life team to make. Then, I took it further. I created my own leagues in my own worlds. I drew out maps of imaginary bodies of water and land, constructed towns with their own key imports and exports, their own population and financials. I created fairy tale super hero players and villains. Gave names to the biggest stars (Andrew McAnders remains the greatest cornerback in MSFL history).
Before long, I was only really playing console games for something to do. I was only doing it because it was what everybody else did: drop $60 on the latest roster update and game feature retread and get bored with it in two weeks. And then I'd go right back to my simulation worlds. As games have gotten more advanced, the amount of work I've had to do on paper has decreased. I've had to keep track of far fewer things in my 'world' then before. More of it is now done by the games themselves.
Over time, Out of the Park Developments and their tremendous line of OOTP Baseball games have come to be the peak of this, for me. I've lost, seemingly, days of my life in my own world, where I create the rules and watch these tiny pictures of men... these complicated arrangement of 1's and 0's live their artificial lives out through the example I've set. I've attempted (and failed) to take the Cubs to a World Series victory. I restored the Yankees to dominance in 2007 when it seemed as though their dynasty was finally over. And currently, I'm embroiled in a wonderful campaign with the Seattle Mariners, in the year 2018. In 2016 we lost Game 7 of the ALCS to the Cleveland Indians, and then in 2017 fell to the Milwaukee Brewers in the World Series in six games. Can we return to the Series and claim the trophy before the window on our carefully built roster closes? Can we do so before our owner becomes frustrated with us and we are forced to move on to other shores? Time will tell.
And that's the beauty of the simulation to me. The story is all inclusive, totally expansive, and whatever I want it to be. I've played, by hand, over 1,000 games in this Seattle Mariners dynasty alone. The story is rich. I have a personal connection with so many of the characters now. When I traded my (on paper) team Captain, SS Dustin Ackley, in the 2017 off-season, I felt a legitimate sense of remorse. The emotion was real because to me, the story was. And if the real Dustin Ackley never becomes more than a mediocre infielder on a middling team, so what? The Dustin Ackley I know -- the Dustin Ackley of my world, is a captain and a hero.
What OOTP brought to baseball games, hockey has missed for several years. Sports Interactive's release of Eastside Hockey Manager 2007 is the closest we've come to the type of open-ended game I expect from a strong sim. But it was clunky, riddled with bugs and not very intuitive to a user who wanted to tell an expansive story over lots of years. There was tons of micromanaging.
As hockey has, for about a decade now, been the sport with which I have the strongest connection and by which I find the most illuminating stories, you can imagine then that I've been fairly disappointed that no one has stepped up to create a game of OOTP's scope for hockey. And then, swooping down from the clouds came OOTP in the spring of 2012 to announce their next creation: Franchise Hockey Manager. If, in your head, you imagine me dancing through my house to parade music when I heard this news, you wouldn't be far off.
Finally, a chance to create my own world in Hockey, as I've always wanted. Now, Franchise Hockey Manager won't be out for a few more months and so who knows exactly how great it will be, but when you are talking about the absolute class of the sports sim industry, you don't look much further then the guys at OOTP and this has left me very excited.
So what will I be doing at GM Games? Well, as you may have guessed, I'll be writing a lot of hockey simulations, particularly Franchise Hockey Manager. Aside from just a standard review, I hope to immerse you in a user's true experience with the game once it comes out.
QUEBEC, Oct. 12, 2012 - Due to the NHL's lockout, the 2012-2013 hockey season is definitely taking a hit. Hockey fans worldwide are, unfortunately, penalized by the entire situation.
Web Sim Hockey, the popular online hockey simulation game that enables users to put themselves in the shoes of the GM of a professional hockey team, will satisfy hockey fans' thirst for everything that is ice, goals, and stats. We're going to simulate the 2012-2013 season as though it was still on!
Every day at 8:00 pm ET, games will be simulated according to the schedule that had been originally set up by the NHL. The page www.websimhockey.com/lockout will let you view all virtual matches, standings, and statistics for all league players.
This data is public and available to the media. It is a new source of information for sports journalists that are looking for hockey news during the lockout.
If you have any questions, interview requests, or require further information contact:
VP Communications and Marketing
Web Sim Sports INC
QuebecCity,Jan. 25, 2012 - The company Web Sim Sports INC., specialized in online sports gaming, launched a unique hockey simulator inJuly 2009,Web Sim Hockey. (www.websimhockey.com)
Web Sim Hockey is a multiplayer strategy game played entirely on the Web.
The goal of the game is to manage a professional hockey team in every aspects : finances, drafts, trades, lineups, on-ice strategies, etc.
Web Sim Hockeyis on the rise since its launch with more than 7500 teams being managed every day in over 315 virtual leagues.
The site generates no less than 275,000 monthly visits and 4.25 million page views.
Partnership with Laurentian University in Ontario
As part of the Sports Administration program, offered by Laurentian University (www.spad.ca) in Ontario, Web Sim Hockey is being used for educational purposes to provide a realistic management experience for the students.
« We are very impressed with the extent of the simulation and believe it is a very valuable tool for our course - The Business of Hockey. » saidDr. Ann Pegoraro, director of the School of Sports Administration in the Faculty of Management.
With the help of Dr Pegoraro, the experience will then be exported to other universities inNorth Americaso that other students can experience this simulation as a real-life learning tool.