Arcade style video games occupy a special place in the landscape of sports titles designed for the console. Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder explains this in the adjacent embedded video clip.
The NBA Street series is perhaps the best example of how ludicrous (and gravity defying And1-influenced) tricks could equal hours of mindless fun. Still, the players were mostly scaled true to their real life sizes.
Several years ago, in the days predating the BALCO scandal – just before words like Winstrol or Fainaru-Wada were known by the masses – baseball simulations like EA’s MVP Baseball series had your basic run of the mill major leaguers pumped up beyond reality with bulging muscles and thick necks.
This was even the case for Jon Dowd – not the investigator whose report lead to the banning Pete Rose – but a fictionalized character playing the roll of the Giants’ Barry Bonds whose likeness was not licensed for some of the games.
It always seemed distasteful that true baseball sims would present such over the top depictions of the players. Yet in the days coming out of the Game of Shadows-era, these same digital big leaguers suddenly got a tapeworm or called (800) 96-Jenny.
Now a new plus-size trend has emerged. Making cartoon-like superheroes out of guys working to stay above the Mendoza Line is the stuff of 2K Sports’ The Bigs 2. Since it’s an arcade style game, it’s apparently a completely legit thing to do and just like NBA Street, the players have super human powers.
Which leads to this thought. To have video game characters smashing home runs like the ’97 Mariners, you still need a truly heroic crop of current day mashers like Prince, Pujols or even Raul Ibanez this season (who was briefly on the '97 Mariners team, contributing one home run).
Who do you consider to be modern day baseball’s ultimate real life, larger than life slugger?
Laurence Scott still hauls out the original Xbox to play NBA Street Volume 2 and foundly recalls the heyday of Midway's NFL Blitz in the arcade.