Thursday, March 19, 2020

Welcome to the Great Sports Replay

Welcome to the start of what will hopefully become a lengthy and well received site.  What I am setting out to do is to simulate as many major sporting events as possible from the past 100+ years.  Why would I want to do something like that?  Let me tell you, and explain how I am going to be doing this.

From an early age, I discovered that while I loved sports, playing them at a competitive level was soon going to be out of the question.  My lack of hand/eye coordination, coupled with a general absence of speed on my part, ended my playing days at the ripe old age of 13.  Right around that time, I read an article about a new website that was starting up that would allow you to simulate a game between any Major League Baseball team ever assembled.  With my interests piqued, I visited for the first time, and quickly fell in love with it.

Almost 21 years later, I still visit WhatIfSports on an almost daily basis, as they have expanded their baseball simulations to include football, basketball and hockey.  Meanwhile, my interests with sports simulations continued to grow.  Aside from playing every year's version of Madden, MLB: The Show and NCAA Football (RIP), I wanted something more in depth, something that would allow me to run an entire team from top to bottom and play the games as well.

I found that game with Out Of The Park Baseball, or OOTP for short, which I purchased for the first time back on version four.  Out Of The Park Developments, who makes the game, is now up to version 21, and every year it just keeps getting better.  For the first time, not only was I able to run an entire franchise, but I could simulate any historical baseball season and reshape baseball history as I saw fit.  For me, this was the next logical step in sports games.

Since I first downloaded OOTP Baseball, I've found other games that have increased my enjoyment of text based simulations for other sports.  Along the way, I've run many historical simulations for baseball, football, basketball and hockey, but what I've gotten out of it has almost always been my own.  Aside from this thread on the OOTP Developments forum, I've kept my enjoyment of sports simulations mainly to myself.

 With more and more quality sports simulations coming out, and recent world events cancelling all sporting events for the foreseeable future, I've decided that the time is right to make a site dedicated to what will become one of the largest simulation efforts that I have ever done: The Great Sports Replay.  What I plan on doing is turning the clock back to 1901, when the American League and National League first combined to form Major League Baseball.  I've used Out of the Park Baseball to simulate the years 1871-1900, which were the years prior to the formation of the American League.  From the 1901 season on, I'm going to simulate that season, and every season, up to and including the present day.

It's not just going to be baseball that has an eraser run across its history, though.  I'm also going to be simulating the histories of football (both college and professional), hockey, basketball (both college and professional), horse racing, auto racing, tennis, golf and even the World Cup.  As the years advance, more and more sports will get involved, until I have every sport simulating in every year.

Players are going to be different, records are going to be changed, championships that may have been lost on a single play or moment are going to have a chance to be won again.  Everything is going to be different in the sports world as we move through the years.  There are going to be players that you've never heard of become Hall of Fame athletes.  Moments that have been remembered forever will either change, or not happen at all.  In the end, this is going to be a different reality, and it's going to be fun as it gets shaped.

Now, how will I be simulating all of these sports?  I'm going to be using a variety of different sports simulations to act out these events, and I would suggest that all of you check these out as well.

This is the most complete sports simulation out on the market that I'm going to be using.  You can go through every level of the minors and simulate every baseball season ever.

Football: Second and Ten Football, or other options
Second and Ten Football is a text simulation that runs all the way back to the 1932 NFL season, which is where I will be starting.  It has accurate divisions and teams, as well as the ability to run college drafts and operate the AFL during the 1960s.  I will also be using this as a simulator for many of the early college bowl games, and while I am considering utilizing it for all my college football simulations, I may turn to WhatIfSports for the more recent college games.

A perfect basketball simulation has been more difficult to find.  For a while, Grey Dog Software's Fast Break Pro Basketball 3 seemed to be the best option.  It does allow users to begin an NBA simulation from the start of the NBA, and runs through the birth and merger of the ABA all the way to the early part of the 2010s.  However, that is where the problem lies.  The support and updated draft classes for the game stop in the early 2010s, and there is little technical support for the game as well.

Fortunately, Wolverine Studios has stepped in with Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball.  Their simulation allows historical play starting back at the NBA/ABA merger, and runs through present day.  The game itself is very well constructed, and is one that I enjoy using.  The only issue that I have is the lack of historical play from the end of the 1940s through the mid-1970s.  At the moment, I am thinking that I may in fact use Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball once I reach the 1970s, and replay the playoffs for the NBA and ABA using WhatIfSports and their basketball sim engine.  While I would have far less control over the season to season results and transactions, I would at least be able to transition into a more modern, supported game.

If anyone has any additional ideas on what a good course of action would be involving a professional basketball simulation, I am open to suggestions.

For college basketball, the plan is much more simple.  I will be utilizing Action PC Basketball to simulate the NCAA Tournament from 1961 until 2000, and then I will use the WhatIfSports sim engine to run the tournaments from 2001 through current day.  I would like to be able to simulate prior to the 1961 Tournament, so if there is someone that has a way of doing that, please reach out to me.

Another product from Out of the Park Developments, Franchise Hockey Manager 6 allows users to manage your favorite hockey team from anywhere in the world while sitting at your desk or on your couch.  If you would like a run a KHL team, you can do that.  Feel like starting with an ECHL franchise and then making your way to the NHL?  You're more than welcome to do that as well.

FHM 6 also allows for very good historical replays starting with the 1917-18 season, which is where I will be starting in this simulation.

Horse Racing: Top of the Stretch
A solid horse racing simulation.  All you need to run through the Triple Crown races is the racing charts for the event, and you're all set.  I will be simulating the Triple Crown races from 1901 until the present.

World Cup Soccer: Dream to End All Dreams Soccer
To simulate the history of the FIFA World Cup, I will be using Dream to End All Dreams Soccer, a text based game created by Roberto Chiavini.  Roberto has created several text based games that I will be utilizing throughout this simulation, and I have found that his games lead to accurate, easy to follow results, with some surprises as well.

This is another quick play simulation by Roberto Chiavini, and it starts auto racing back in 1949, and runs through the present.  This is the only historical racing simulation that I've found, and I have enjoyed playing it, which is why I have decided to add it to the fold of games that I will be using.

I have also found an Indy Car simulation that will allow me to begin running the Indianapolis 500 every year, starting in 1911.  I will be utilizing it until the 1990s, at which time I will find another method to use for the remaining races.

A very good tennis simulation, Time Travel Tennis is made by ASG Games, and has over 280 men, and 120 women rated and available for use in historical tennis simulations.  The competitors go all the way back to the finals of Wimbledon in 1901, which is where I will be starting the simulation.  As the competitors of other tournaments, both male and female, become available, I will be starting simulations of those events as well.

One last simulation from Roberto Chiavini, Heroes of the Majors is a text based golfing simulator starting in 1934, which was the year of the first Masters.  I've taken Roberto's lists of golfers and added an Excel formula to help speed the simulation up, and it's given me good results so far.

Other Sports: I do have ideas and options for other sports as well.  Right now, I am planning to run the replay including Mixed Martial Arts beginning in 1993 by using WMMA 5 from Grey Dog Software.  There are a few good mods for this game that will allow newer fighters to populate as they become active, and it is a very easy to run game.  Grey Dog Software also runs another game that I am likely going to use as a fun simulation as well: TEW 2016 and soon, TEW 2020.  What is TEW?  It is a professional wrestling simulator, and it is very fun and immersive.  There are mods that can start you in almost any era, and I am going to begin running the game in 1985, right before the first ever Wrestlemania.

I would love to find a solid historical boxing simulation, but that has been easier said than done.  If you do have any suggestions, please let me know.

So, that's what's on tap for this site.  It's going to be a long project, but I know that it's going to be worth it.  I will have the links to all of the simulations that I mentioned along the side of this site, so feel free to click and take a look at what's out there.  I think that some of you are going to like what you see.

Thank you for reading, and enjoy the ride.

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