The Ascension of Randy Choate: An FMV Adventure

headerOver the last few months, I’ve used MLB: The Show to play the entire Cardinals lineup out of position, turned Tom Brady into a baseball player, and forced Matt Holliday to play an entire season at first base.

Next up was a smaller feat, which would affect only one player for one game: I was going to give left-handed reliever Randy Choate a start. But how to present this? A Randy Choate start would be barely long enough to warrant a video. So a few gifs, like before? Right?

Or how about a 90’s-style FMV video game you can play in your browser? Yeah, that sounds about right. Currently, it works in Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, but not Firefox for some reason. I realize I’m trying to push HTML5 past what it’s probably intended to do so instability might be expected.

Go play The Ascension of Randy Choate: An FMV Adventure now!

Or, if you’re a firefox user, have trouble with the above link, and/or prefer to download games rather than play them in your browser, there is a windows/application version: Download Here

Notes:

  • I used quick counts because otherwise some videos would have been (a) too long and (b) too large to stream
  • Pitch counts aren’t entirely reliable in quick count mode; the pitch counts on the “results” screen are based off the end of the inning rather than the beginning of the next
  • This was made in less than a day and is mostly ad-libbed, which I feel like is in the proper spirit of 90’s adventure games
  • Yes I know I have serial killer handwriting

The Closer: Game of the Year Edition OUT NOW and FREE

Download (Windows)

itch.io

Mediafire

Here it is, folks: the best game featuring Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek you’ll play in Q3 of this year.

RPGMaker Installers are .exe files so I apologize if your anti-virus raises an eyebrow at the download. I promise that the code is only malicious if you really dislike baseball puns.

So, what is The Closer: Game of the Year Edition? It would be easier to play it than to explain it to you, but if you’re down here in the text rather than up there clicking on a link, I should probably give it a shot. The Closer is an adventure game that takes place between the sixth and seventh game of the World Series. The closing pitcher for New York (you) gave up a massive home run to lose game six and must go on an epic quest to remake himself as a pitcher before he has to pitch again.

Accompanied by your faithful pitching coach, Moose, you will participate in the worst trivia night ever, play an uncomfortable Japanese visual novel, explore an abandoned candy factory, AND MORE.

The Closer: Game of the Year Edition is free to download and always will be free to download, because I’m not enough of a madman to use the likeness of real people and try to make money off of it. The Closer is parody and not intended to be an accurate representation of anything it portrays.

You can download The Closer. Hell, you can distribute it elsewhere if you want, as long as you’re not charging folks for it. Put it on Pirate Bay, for example. Once something is there it can never be destroyed. Just make sure to credit me!

Now that The Closer is released, I am moving on to more polished and commercially viable products. I see The Closer as something of a jumping off point for me. I accidentally ended up learning a lot while making this silly game, and now I’m hoping to make more. To do that, I’ve teamed up with Jenny Gibbons of Woodsy Studio (and the composer of all the awesome music in The Closer) to form Thesis Games, which we will both use to release all of our future projects.

And if you like The Closer enough to want to support my work, check out Woodsy Studio’s previous visual novel Serafina’s Crown. In exchange for the music of The Closer, I did a fair amount of the dialog writing in Serafina’s Crown. If it doesn’t look like your sort of thing, at least give it a vote on Steam Greenlight.

Thanks and enjoy The Closer!

Ed Easley’s Wonderful Day: A Browser-Based Visual Novel

screenshot

Today the Cardinals called up career minor-leaguer Ed Easley for what is sure to be a single-game appearance with Jon Jay returning this weekend. Rather than write a blog post about it, I made a short visual novel. You can play it in your browser or on your phone at this link: Ed Easley’s Wonderful Day

While you’re at it, if you like visual novels, go check out Serafina’s Crown on Steam Greenlight. I wrote about 1/3 of the dialog (the creator of SC is doing the music and portrait art for The Closer). It’s not my usual style, but if you like my video game/sports writing, give it an up-vote to speed up the greenlight process. Thanks!

MLB the Show 15: The Passion of Lance Lynn

On Monday, the Cardinals announced that Adam Wainwright would be out for the season with an achilles injury, which made Lance Lynn the de facto ace of the team. Some people might debate this and say that Michael Wacha headlines the rotation, since he’s been pretty much untouchable throughout his short career. But he’s not proven. Not just yet. Others–crazy people–might elect to call John Lackey the number one starter. While Lackey is perfectly useful, he’s not the pitcher he used to be. He gave up three runs to the Phillies, after all.  And then there’s Carlos Martinez, who has electric stuff but is better known for his NSFW twitter fav skills than his pitching. The ace is Lance Lynn, to the extent the Cardinals have an ace. And that’s terrifying to anyone who has watched the team for longer than a year. Lynn put everything together last year, but he’s hardly been a model of consistency. I like Lance. I’ve always liked him. But the frontline starter? Yikes.

All of this coincided with the Cardinals experimenting with some very interesting defensive alignments. For at least a couple days this weekend, Pete Kozma was the backup catcher. He didn’t play there but the possibility still loomed, with ol’ Petey just a single errant foul ball away from donning the tools of ignorance and demonstrating his #framing abilities. Meanwhile, Mark Reynolds headed out to left field for literally his first appearance in LF and his sixth career appearance in the outfield EVER.

I had to do something. I had to try something–combine these two events into something special. So I fired up MLB: The Show 15 and put the new Cardinals ace, Lance Lynn, into the ultimate trial: a complete game, with an entire lineup designed in the spirit of Pete Kozma the Catcher and Mark Reynolds the Outfielder. So it begins.

MLB® 15 The Show™_20150427202749

The rules were simple. The lineup above would backup Lance Lynn, Cardinals ace. No one was at their proper position. Lefthanders were positioned in the infield. Chaos. Absolute chaos. To make matters worse, I set the game in Petco Park, the largest ballpark in baseball, so each out of position player would have to cover the most ground possible. The weather would be rainy, surely a boon to drought-blighted southern California, but yet another obstacle for the Cardinals ace. Obviously, this could go real bad real fast, but Lance Lynn would have no way to escape. He was going to pitch the entire game. I turned off injuries so even a strained oblique couldn’t save him.

MLB® 15 The Show™_20150427212307

This is the passion of Lance Lynn.

Continue reading

MathenyQuest, a Playable Teaser

MathenyQuest

If there is any creed that I strive to live by, it is this: do as Hideo Kojima would do.

So when I was presented with the question of how to continue to promote my upcoming game, The Closer: Game of the Year Edition, there was only one thing to do. I needed to make a playable teaser.

Last year, Hideo Kojima rocked the world of video games with P.T., a brief and mysterious free game released on PS4 with little-to-no explanation.

Despite the fact it was only a promotional tool, P.T. was so effective and weird that numerous reviewers ended up naming it one of the best games of the year. It’s a great idea for promotion: a short game that is entirely divorced from the story of the main title, but can express the themes and ideas in an easily accessible (and free) manner.

To follow in Kojima’s footsteps, I had to distill the humor and existential weirdness of The Closer into something that could be played and understood by anyone. A text adventure, maybe. Or just a Twine game.

I made a Twine game. Go check it out.

MathenyQuest

 

The Closer: The Official Trailer

Do you like trailers? Are you the kind of person who doesn’t believe something is real until you see it on YouTube? Has the magic worn off between you and still pictures, and now you need something more exciting, like video, to really get you excited?

Well, I have good news for all of you! Presenting the first official trailer for 2015’s most anticipated free RPG Maker adventure game about baseball for Windows PCs, The Closer: Game of the Year Edition.

Stay tuned for more information and probably some kind of website in the near future.

(Music by Jenny Gibbons )

I Can’t Support John Smoltz For The Hall Of Fame Because We Don’t Know He Didn’t Kill A Drifter In An Applebees Bathroom in 1997

It’s that time again, when the BBWAA announces its annual inductions into baseball’s hallowed Hall of Fame. This year’s ballot is packed with talented players, with more than a little controversy surrounding many of its potential inductees. But there is one name that won’t be on my ballot. And, yes, it’s for the reason everyone won’t stop talking about but no one wants to hear.

My conscience won’t allow me to support John Smoltz when it is possible that he murdered a drifter at an Applebees on February 3, 1997.

Yes, I know that Smoltz was never convicted–or even charged–with the brutal killing of a teenage hitchhiker in the bathroom of a Georgia casual dining establishment. But here’s the thing: Because Major League Baseball did such a terrible job of policing the behavior of its players during Smoltz’s career, we are left with questions that can never be answered. We are left to speculate whether the hard-throwing right-hander attacked an innocent young man in the bathroom of the Smyrna Applebees Bar & Grill just to know what it felt like to end a life.

What are we supposed to think? Just take a look at pictures of Smoltz before and after the 1997 offseason. You can see a confidence in his posture that could only come from using his bare hands to snuff out the existence of another human being, as well as a weariness in his eyes that looks, perhaps not without cause, like the weathered gaze of a young Charles Manson. His supporters are already rolling their eyes, and muttering to themselves that a thousand-yard stare means nothing. Maybe he just wasn’t getting enough sleep. But in the context of the era, when illegal activity was running rampant, signs like these can’t be ignored.

Maybe his supporters are right. Maybe Smoltz was doing something on February 3, 1997 other than brutally choking another human being to death mere yards from oblivious diners enjoying a generous serving of mozzarella sticks. Maybe, as over 18,000 murders occurred in the United States in 1997, Smoltz merely looked the other way and relieved his curiosity about the fragility of the human condition in other ways. But where was he, one of the most prominent pitchers in baseball, in protesting these thousands of killings. Smoltz never did a thing to stop a single murder in 1997, even if we suspend credulity and agree that he may not have been involved in one?

To date, Smoltz has not even addressed the accusations that he carefully placed an “Out of Order” sign on the mens restroom at the Smyrna Applebees so that he would not be interrupted as he strangled a complete stranger until he could no longer breathe. Like most of the other murderers of the era, he has chosen to stay silent on the matter. Where is the accountability from a professional athlete who says that these suspicions are “baseless” and “silly?”

I don’t care how many times you tell me that no one saw John Smoltz at the Smyrna Applebees on February 3, 1997, or that fibers from the floor of the bathroom matched clothing found in the home of an area serial killer. This isn’t a court of law, this is a Hall of Fame ballot, and my standard of evidence is a bit lighter than the burden of the state to convict.

Sure, Smoltz has a good case if you just look at the stats. But voters have a right–no, a responsibility–to consider the possibility that he used his greater size and physical ability to commit the most brutal of crimes.

Did John Smoltz murder a drifter in the bathroom of an Applebees on Feburary 3, 1997? I don’t know. But can I ignore the suspicion? Can I fail to weigh it against his MLB career? No, that would be a disservice to the Hall of Fame and I will have no part in that.