Geek Level: Low

Monday, November 5, 2012

5 Video Games That Made Me A Sports Fan

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Two nights ago, after Alabama scored a touchdown to take the lead on LSU with 51 seconds remaining, I found myself literally running around my house and leaping for joy, whispering (because our six month-old was asleep) all sorts of jubilant curse words. My wife, who was asleep on the couch for entire second half, woke up and muttered something to the effect of, “Good God, Will. Calm down.”

I care about sports far more than anyone should care about ultimately irrelevant contests between teams of people I will likely never meet. Right about the time my wife was asking me why on Earth I had woken her up, I started to wonder how I had gotten this way. Why do I care so much? What has made me such a passionate sports fan?

Well, there are lots of things—weekend trips to visit family in Tuscaloosa, the place of my mother's birth all throughout my childhood, watching UNC games with my father and hearing him scream obscenities at Duke, playing sports since I was old enough to carry a bat, to name a few. Also, though, my sports fan experience has been greatly enhanced by my growing up during the video game generation. I didn't just watch games on TV, or read about them in the paper; I was actually playing them. Indoors. With my favorite players.

While I don't consider myself a gamer, I have certainly spent far more hours in front of a TV with a controller in my hand than anyone should. When talking about my sports video game experience, a few titles stand out more than others. These are the five games that inflamed my passion for sports and, in addition to all of the other reasons, made me the sports fan I am today.

Tecmo Bowl/Tecmo Super Bowl (NES):

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Whenever someone compiles any list of the greatest sports video games ever, said list is dead to me if one of these games is not in the top 3 at least. Bo Jackson, Lawrence Taylor, and Cap Boso are sports game legends. These 3 are literally unstoppable in the original Tecmo Bowl. Tecmo Super Bowl featured an expanded playbook and NFL licensing, which meant that you could actually play as your favorite team. It also featured a full season mode and full statistics, which at the time was absolutely mind-blowing. Seriously, these are the best sports games of all time. It's not negotiable.

Baseball Stars (NES):

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While RBI Baseball gets a lot of deserved love for early baseball games, I would argue that Baseball Stars was more addicting. RBI Baseball had a lot of charm, mostly because of the morbidly obese players and the fact that space for names was short; you'd end up with player names like Clmns (Roger Clemens) and Glrga (for Andres Galarraga). However, Baseball Stars was easily the best baseball game in the early Nintendo years. Slick fielding, full season mode, team creation, and the fact that you could play as Frankenstein and Dracula make this game superior to RBI Baseball.

Tecmo Super NBA Basketball (Super NES):

Tecmo_Super_NBA_Basketball.gif

I spent God knows how many hours in my middle school years playing this game. There are lots of reasons this game stands out, but the main one is Michael Jordan. You could play with Michael Jordan. Easily the most memorable basketball game from my childhood. Because you could play with Michael Jordan.

NCAA Football '98 (Playstation):

ncaa9811-88738_320w.jpg

This game got me through my freshman year of college and probably contributed to my sub-standard GPA. This was the first college game to feature a Dynasty Mode that allowed the player to take control of teams for multiple seasons and recruit. This was right during the heyday of Mack Brown's tenure at UNC, and it absolutely infuriated friends that I crushed with the Heels. They couldn't stand it that I was playing with a basketball school.

MLB 2000 (Playstation):

MLB_2000-PSX-NTSC-US.jpg

Let's just say that Spring Training Mode—the mode where you create a player from scratch and take his career through the minor leagues to the majors—gave me a little bit more hope than I should have about how easy a career in baseball was. My created player always was a huge contributor on MLB teams, while I never made it out of Single-A. I guess that's why I live vicariously through video games.

Without these games, I probably still would have run around my house like a joyful idiot on Saturday night. My love of college football runs deep. Without these games, though, I doubt I would have considered a career in sports media. Games have an ability to immerse us in a world that we have no hope of being a part of normally. These five gave me an escape. What are the games that made you a sports fan? How big of an idiot am I for leaving your favorite game off this list? Let me know!

Will Askew has more than a decade of experience in sports media. You can follow him on Twitter @waskew for his thoughts on sports, history, politics, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He has a patient wife of over two years and a lovely six month old baby boy named William, who will also care way too much about sports.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tal Frankfurt's Top Online Apps

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Hey, my name is Tal Frankfurt and I am the Founder and CEO of Cloud for Good, a Memphis based company that works with organizations to create and implement strategic solutions based on cloud technology. We specialize in Salesforce.com and Google Apps implementations.

I will explain what the cloud is and why you should consider it in my next blog post. Today, I want to share with you some of the applications I use on a daily bases to manage both my life and business. Here are some of my favorite online applications:

• Google Online Tools: At Cloud for Good we use Gmail for all our email communications, Google Calendar for all of our meetings, Google Docs and Spreadsheets when we need to collaborate on documents, and Google Hangouts for our staff meetings (our team is spread across 8 states and Google Hangout allows us to see each other every day!).
Salesforce: We are all about Salesforce! Salesforce is one of the most powerful cloud databases available on the market today. Our clients are using it to cultivate donors, manage volunteers, track events, students, trees, cats, and more. Best of all, The Salesforce Foundation donates 10 free enterprise licenses to nonprofit organizations.
SlideShare — This is a great tool that enables you (and your team) to share your presentations online.
Evernote — It helps me remember things, find things, and access them from anywhere at any time.
Dropbox might make you want to get rid of your USB! It is the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online. It makes online storage and sharing of files dead simple — as simple as dragging files into specially market local folders.
Mozy — All the important information in your life/business is now stored on a computer. Whether it is photos, music, business documents, or financial records, everything is digital. Mozy offers a great “backup to the cloud’ service that will help you sleep at night because you will know that your digital life will always be there when you need it.
Doodle and Tungle.me — both tools let you easily schedule meetings and other appointments.
Rapportive brings social media to your email, is a little browser plugin that provides you with information about the people you talk to via email. This app changed the way I interact with people!
Remember the Milk is a great personal task manager. It allows you to create “to-do” lists in the easiest manner possible as well as being able to access those lists from pretty much anywhere. If you need to share tasks, projects, and files, check out do.com.


There are many more great online tools out there. What do you use? Please share with us in your comments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nibletz: Ridin' Dirty

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Nibletz is a young digital media company that provides the “voice of startups everywhere else.” In this case, "everywhere else" means tech-based companies located outside of the famed Silicon Valley.

You’ll learn much more about them in weeks to come, but the short version is that co-founder Kyle Sandler visited Memphis this past June for our 48 Hour Launch weekend, and was so impressed with our entrepreneurial energy and with our city that by August he and co-founder Cameron Wright agreed to make Memphis the official Nibletz HQ.

And there’s more: on February 10-12, 2013 Nibletz is hosting their inaugural EverywhereElse.co The Startup Conference at The Peabody Hotel. Focused on startup companies outside of the Valley and NYC, the conference is expected to draw 1000+ entrepreneurs, tech companies, investors and startup media giants from around the country for three days of keynotes, panels, expos, a Startup Village- and killer parties!

Today Nibletz publicly announced their teaser round of keynote and panel speakers. And seriously- it’s big! Check out their video announcement, or scroll below for details:

Startup America CEO and founding CTO of Priceline Scott Case will keynote at the event. Grammy award winning hip hop artist and startup investor Chamillionaire will also speak as will MC Hammer, serial entrepreneur and the first hip hop artist to achieve diamond status.

The conference is sponsored by Baker Donelson, .co, Startup America, LaunchTennessee and LaunchMemphis. If interested in a single ticket or startup booth, please visit everywhereelse.co for details.

Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference will continue to announce speakers over the next two months. And we’ll continue to share the news here at Ones and Zeros!

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