Thursday, May 29, 2008

Did EA Get it Right?

Video-game dork alert. You've been warned.

EA Sports will be releasing the newest version of their stellar NCAA Football series, NCAA Football '09, in mid-July. Part of the hype surrounding the release has some web sites with an early build of the game, and they have been showing off some screens of what things will look like this year. For WSU fans, I have to say it looks promising.

For the first time on the "next generation" machines (Xbox 360 or PS3), Martin Stadium will make an appearance. For the first couple of releases on the new machines, they went with a "generic" stadium that really looked nothing like Martin. But this year they've finally got it right. Part of the issue is that EA really took the next step with these stadiums, where in some interviews claiming they personally went to as many D-1 stadiums they could and took tons of photos from every conceivable angle. Even to the extent that they say the setting within 1 mile around the stadium would be accurate. So did they get Martin Stadium right?

First, this shot facing the practice field. You can see that they got the stands right, and the entrance is in the right spot. But it looks like they missed the Cougar Pride banner over the tunnel. Oh well. Still, it looks pretty accurate. You can even see the roof of the Field House.

Here's a shot facing stadium way.

Look to the top-left, and you can see the practice bubble. The press box looks pretty good as well (compare this shot with the shot in the header of our site and you can see they did a good job). The WSU banner is gone in reality, isn't it? Has that thing ever been recovered? It doesn't look like they got the renovations into the game, as this year things will look drastically different on the Stadium Way edge.

Another look towards the practice field (Florida at Martin Stadium?? WTF?).

Again you see the press box and that looks perfect. They also got the CUB, and you can even see some lights reflecting off the windows. Pretty cool. Unfortunately they have our old scoreboard as well. Oh well, maybe next year.

Another look towards Stadium Way.

To the bottom-right, you can see a group of fans in Florida blue. Nice touch, having the visitors section in one area. But they are on the wrong side of the stadium. SO FAKE!

Now for a couple of in-game shots. First, Andy Mattingly leaps into the air to try and knock down a pass.

This is where you can get a good look at the stadium. You see the lights off the CUB, you see the scoreboard, heck, you even see the lighting standards lining the practice field. Very cool. Unfortunately, you also see some mistakes here. Grey/gray helmets on the road uni's? We haven't done that since 1999, except for the Apple Cup road games. Maybe it's a limitation in the game and they can't have various helmets per team. Personally I am not a big Crimson helmet fan, so I wish we would go back to the one helmet at home and on the road. I LOVED our look in the Apple Cup! But not only the helmet on the road uni, but you can see something else in this last shot:

Again, a good look at the stadium and it looks good, even though the scoreboard is outdated. You can see the Field House to the top-right as well. But the numbers on the shoulders are odd. I must have missed how we moved those around, unless we're changing things this year? Weird. They had it right last year.

Finally, according to EA, we're GOING TO THE ARMED FORCES BOWL! We'll face off against the hated San Diego State Aztecs, the 3rd seed from the Mountain West. It'll be SO ON.

So there you have it. It's not perfect, but it is better than it has been in years past. It is nice to see them giving WSU a little love.

So why a post about video games? Because it's May, that's why. What, do you want to rehash all the off-field garbage that has been the off-season of '08? Neither do I. But I also bring this up because we'll be simulating each game this season, the week before each game is played. It should be interesting to see how things play out in the video game realm and compare it to reality. We will upload a few videos from each game as well. I know ESPN does this sort of thing with the biggest games of the week, but we'll do it for our Cougs.

FINALLY, saw Indiana Jones over the weekend. In a word: "Meh". If you are a fan of the Indy series, you might get a rise or two out of it. But for the most part, I thought it missed the mark. And that's from someone who LOVES the original. Believe me, I really wanted to love this one too. But it missed. It's hard to say why. Maybe because he's 65 and has lost a few steps, maybe the story wasn't that great or the villain wasn't anything to fear (Cate Blanchett with a Katie Holmes hair cut and bad Russian accent?). Maybe Shia Lebouf pretending to be Fonzie was a mistake. I don't know. Maybe it was the lame ending. Or worst of all, maybe it was all the CGI that Lucas and Spielberg mixed in. That was one of the beauties of the previous movies, in that they were gritty, dirty, and full of great stunts and excellent acting. Sure it was fake, but it felt somewhat "real". Not this movie. It might be worth a matinee if you are looking for something to do, but I wouldn't go with a premium time to see it.


Anonymous said...

1) looks good
2) who cares
3) slow offseason huh?

David said...

looks too full.

Sedihawk said...

Anony, not slow off-season in the least. But something different, that's all. This off-season has been a drain with the stuff going on so why not focus on something else? And yes, we did get our first commit for next year's class yesterday, but why regurgitate what is already on Cougfan? No, I'M NOT BEING DEFENSIVE! :)

And, yeah, it does look full. But they are playing Florida in many of those screenies, and I would think (hope) we could sell out for them?

CougarJen said...

Martin Stadium looks photo-real. Very very cool. The unifroms look off however. hey, you guys should do a WSU uni-watch. We are getting new ones after we become a nike school next year. maybe have a vote or poll on the best combination. I love the Apple cup uni's myself. just say no to the quack monstrocities or the beaver jog bra look. both Nike schools.

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

Great post, Hawk.

I'm glad that someone else sees as as a lowest tier bowl possibility. I sure do.

And Indy is awful. My 8 year old loved it, but if you aren't 8, it really sucks. Lucas does all he can to insert Ewoks into this pitiful attempt at a Star Wars-Indy merger.

Don't see it until it comes out on videa.

But Ironman is pretty good!

medinabooster said...

Games = lame. now excuse me as I go pleasure my 'Wii'.


TP said...

Bring back the "Cougars" script Helmets....that is the look that makes me say that's my team...the helmets of Leaf, Bledsoe, Rosenbach, Rypien-Porter-Mayes...the Return to the rosebowl...the upset of Troy Aikman and UCLA...the snow-bowl, the Glenn Harper tackle, the Blocked punt, the Palouse Posse, the 97 party in the endzone at husky stadium...All under the "Cougars" domes.

Hooty McBoob said...

Mega dittoes, tp.

Sedihawk said...

Thanks medina. You here all week? Or did you just fly in (and boy are your arms tired)? How's the nanny?

TP, I hear ya. We know Wulff has an appreciation for our history and those lids saw some great moments. I have been hugely in favor of the logo, though, instead of the script, just because it's so easy to recognize. You can't forget that we generally toil in obscurity out here. Fans don't know a whole lot about us, but many of them could pick out our logo in a second. We've got a great logo and I think it belongs on the helmet.

Hmm, maybe a 'uni watch/poll question' is a good idea for an upcoming, filler-type post. We are getting new ones after next year, so, good call Jen.

BH, Iron Man was good wasn't it? Pleasantly surprised with that one. And yeah, the more I think about Indy IV, the less I like it. You are probably right with the Lucas interference, with his CGI infatuation combined with weak dialogue. That said, it should make your day to know that they are already in negotiations for TWO MORE Indy films! It made over $300 million worldwide over the weekend. The focus would have Harrison Ford shift to the background and Shia would become the next lead guy. Maybe they can ruin this franchise too?

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

First of all, welcome back, Medina!

And where's our good buddy St. Louis Glenn????

Re: Indy. In a word, "Yuck."

It wasn't the techno stuff, it was the interaction with the monkeys (or was it Ewoks) en route to catching up with cars moving 45 miles an hour without a diagonal to enable the catch up (e.g. Young Indy swings on the vines with the monkeys "allegedly" at a speed of 45 mph and then lands in a moving car WITH the monkeys--ewoks-- in order to derail the badguys...) The only thing that was missing was some monkey-ewok language and 3PO being a God.

Then, Indy, king of the biblical lore, goes South American lore on us with a flying saucer plot as the apex of the story? And what's up with the Dex dude? Come on.

So no more, Indy I say. Instead:

"Has he lost his mind? Can he see or is he blind?........"

Sedihawk said...

How could I forget the dumbest scene ever, Shia swinging through the jungle with a swarm of CGI monkeys? Thanks for the reminder. That was beyond stupid. I think there is a clip of it on the web already to show just how laughable the whole thing is. I will track it down.