EA Sports release Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters

The Augusta National Golf Club has long been viewed as the mecca of modern-day golf. Sure you have St. Andrews across the pond, and the breathtaking panorama of Pebble Beach, but there has always been something magical about Augusta, home of The Masters golf tournament. And for decades Augusta National has only allowed a select few to actually play its course; and that may never change. But what we have to celebrate in the golf world this week is the release of EA Sports’ annual release of the Tiger Woods golf video game. This year Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters will feature the prestigious Augusta National as one of its courses. So while most of us mortals will not be able to actually ever play the famed course in person, the wonderful world of technology and EA Sports will let us experience it through the virtual world.

I just finished reviewing my copy of Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters for the Nintendo Wii platform, and it truly is spectacular. Though I mainly got the game for the Augusta National feature, I am happily surprised with the new features and incredible graphics. The laser scanning technology that the folks at EA Sports used to create the Augusta course is “eye”-mazing. This technology allows players to experience every ripple of water at Amen Corner, every whispering pine, and every twist and turn of the famed-Georgia greens.

Available for PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, and Wii, Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters doesn’t throw you on the course by yourself. New to the game this year is the use of a caddy to help you analyze your next shot, right down to the direction of the Augusta breeze and break in the green. With the game’s Career Mode players can progress through the game at their own pace, saving their games as they go. Players can also select to play as one of nearly two dozen PGA tour professionals.

Aside from the spectacular graphics and playability of the new Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters, EA Sports has added long time CBS Sports announcer (and former college roommate of PGA pro Fred Couples) Jim Nantz as the voice of the game this year.  Also new to this year’s release is the ability to replay the great moments at The Masters and attempt to match Tiger’s four winning tournament scores against the champion himself.

Though I can’t imagine myself getting tired of playing the Augusta National course, after waiting for over a decade for this day to come, Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters does feature other classic layouts such as the Atlanta Athletic Club, the Royal Melbourne Club (in Australia), and yes, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews as well.

Though Tiger Woods himself may be in a slight slump, EA Sports once again proves that it is at the top of the golf gaming world with their latest release Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters.


Super Bowl XLV Sim has Steelers as Champs

Every year since the Madden video game has been in existence, I’ve always run a simulated game of the upcoming Super Bowl. Having never been exceptional at playing the game, as my son or the computer would always win at least 75% of the time, I figured going the sim route would be the most realistic. For the years in the 80s and 90s, I would run through the sim-results on my weekly radio show. However during the past decade I’ve kept the results relatively quiet, sharing them only as conversation pieces amongst friends. PS- the sim that I run has picked the last five Super Bowl winners.

So now, after a 10 year reprieve, I’m prepared to share with the world, or those that care, my sim-results of the upcoming Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. For the simulated game I used the Madden ’11 video game for the Nintendo Wii gaming platform. I also set the host stadium of Dallas Stadium as the backdrop for the big game. I programmed the game to have all typical NFL rules apply, and away things went!

The opening coin flip was won by the Packers. As QB- Aaron Rodgers led the Pack in their first possession, it appeared that Green Bay would move the ball fairly well, until a catch by WR- Donald Driver and subsequent fumble at the 20 yard line gave the ball to the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger quaterbacked the Steelers in their first possession but after a half-dozen plays they were forced to punt. The first score of the game came with about 5 minutes to go in the first quarter when the Packers’ Rodgers connected with WR- Greg Jennings for an 18 yard TD pass. The Steelers answered that score with a field goal of their own by Place kicker, Shaun Suisham. At the end of the 1st quarter it was the Packers 7- Steelers 3.

The second quarter saw Roethlisberger start to catch fire with a balanced running attack from RBs- Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore.  The Steelers scored twice in the quarter with a 8 yard TD run from Mendenhall and 32 yard hook up between Roethlisberger and TE- Heath Miller. Before the Packers knew it, it was Steelers 17 – Packers 7. The Green Bay offense seemed to struggle most of the first half, but with under a minute to go before half, Rodgers connected with Driver for a 25 yard touchdown, making the halftime score: Pittsburgh 17 – Green Bay 14.

Now if I really wanted to add to the real life experience of America’s special day, I could have logged onto YouTube and played a Black-eyed Peas video during halftime. But instead I got a fresh Diet Pepsi, and settled back in to view the final half.

The Steelers opened the second half by scoring on the fourth play of the half on a Mendenhall 54 yard run. The play put the Steelers up 24 -14. After a couple punts the Packers had the ball and seemed to be driving until Steeler defensive specialist Troy Polamalu picked off a Rodgers pass and returned it for another Steeler TD. Score: Pittsburgh 31 – Green Bay 14. The Pack did get a 45 yard Mason Crosby FG in the third quarter, but after three the Steelers held a commanding 31- 17 lead.

With a lot of running by the Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall, the black and gold controlled the clock for much of the fourth quarter. With only seven minutes to play in Super Bowl XLV, the Steelers seemed to ice yet another Super Bowl ring for the historic franchise when Mendenhall found the end zone again giving the Steelers a 38 – 17 lead. The Packers  converted on a couple fourth downs and managed a Rodgers to Jordy Nelson TD just before the 2-minute warning, making the score 38 – 24. After not recovering an onside kick, the Steelers ran down the clock and punted with under a minute to play. Green Bay’s last play of the game was a completion to the 5 yard line, as the clock hit 0:00. Final score: the Pittsburgh Steelers 38 – the Green Bay Packers 24.

The Player of the Game was awarded to Steeler RB- Rashard Mendenhall. He rushed for 134 yards and 3 touchdowns. Roethlisberger ended the day passing for 215 yards and 1 TD. On the Packers stat sheet, Aaron Rodgers passed for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, with the green and gold running backs rushing for only 78 yards.

In the end, the EA Sports Madden ’11 sim game has the Steelers collecting their NFL-record 7th Lombardi Trophy, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger solidifying himself as one of the game’s most succesful QBs to ever suit up.