If you’re as obsessed about baseball as I am, or many fanatics of the game, you likely already know about the baseball simulation franchise Out of the Park Baseball. Now in it’s thirteenth iteration (OOTP13), the game has evolved from a one-man operation into a major yearly release.
As a regular OOTP player (my focus is more on an online league that is near and dear to me, rather than solo play), the game has brought me hours upon hours of enjoyment. As such, we’re always honored each season when the folks at Out of the Park Developments offers us a review copy of the game in order to check out the new features, put the engine through its paces, and inform our readers about the latest version of the best baseball simulation on the market.
This latest iteration of the game has not disappointed. With each version, user interface (and more importantly, interaction) is improved. The game features a historical replay option when starting a new game, or you can proceed fictionally – the game creates draft class upon draft class of made up ballplayers that turn into your very own Stan Musial or Bob Gibson.
While no simulation is ever perfect – OOTP struggles, and has for a long time, at recreating true AI reactions to game-time situations (but let’s be honest, as much as we all complain about managerial moves on Twitter and the like, how could any artificial intelligence replicate the day-to-day of baseball managerial decisions?) – OOTP is clearly the leader in the clubhouse, and it’s not even close.
I *have* seen through the many seasons of gameplay both in solo, and more so in the online league play, that the engine is continually improving. AI managers make better decisions with every year’s release. Player development from draft, through the minors, to everyday big-leaguer is more accurate. Injuries still decimate a season for several teams – tell me that’s not realistic? – but there are also the breakout youngsters that surprise in an injured player’s stead.
OOTP is, without a doubt, my favorite computer baseball simulation. If you’re inclined to give fake baseball a shot – and during these winter doldrums, I’d expect you are – download a demo version of OOTP. You can give the game a trial run, see if you can get sucked into a Cardinals career within a simulation month or so.
Thanks again to the OOTP folks for the chance to review OOTP13, thanks to you for reading, and please don’t blame me for the hours lost in front of your computer after starting an OOTP career with the 1967 Cardinals.