Author Bio
Ryan Spencer

Home Town: Kansas City, MO
Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Football
Games: NBA 2k8, College Hoops 2k8, MLB 08: The Show, NCAA 08
Teams: Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bulls
OS Username: OS: rspencer86
Tags: PSN: MizzouTigerrr
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
05:52 PM - April 19, 2017. Posted by Steve_OS. Written by Ryan Spencer

First, a confession: other than periodic bursts of Super Stickman Golf addiction, I am not what you would call a “mobile gamer” on any consistent basis. I find Twitter and Twitch much more appealing than trying to deal with phone games with sometimes spotty controls on a much smaller screen than I am used to playing with on console games.

A second confession: I’ve never played a sports text sim. I did buy Out of the Park Baseball 16 when a mid-season sale put it at a price that put little resistance in the way of my curiosity. I excitedly installed it, took one glance at the mind-boggling number of features, menu items and possible ways to play the game and got overwhelmed to the point of no return. Sometimes -- especially without a solid tutorial or walkthrough for new players -- there can absolutely be too much of a good thing. I retreated to the familiar cocoon of MLB The Show and didn’t give OOTP a second thought.

So why, may you ask, am I writing about MLB Manager 17 ($4.99, Apple App Store/$4.49, Google Play) the mobile-friendly MLB text sim from Out of the Park Developments? I’m happy to report that after playing this game for over a week, I have fallen deep into a rabbit hole I don’t want to get out of.

Read More - MLB Manager 17: Baseball Anytime, Anywhere (Written by: Ryan Spencer)

Game: MLB Manager 2017Reader Score: Vote Now
Platform: Android / iOSVotes: 0 - View All
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
10:58 AM - April 4, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer

Baseball season is once again upon us, and as home runs, diving catches and contrived handshakes to celebrate a win begin to fill our television screens, you may be feeling the itch to play some digital hardball as well.

Xbox One owners know the situation well by now: If you want to play an MLB-licensed game with current rosters and don’t own a PlayStation 4, the only place to turn is the R.B.I Baseball franchise.

Read More - R.B.I. Baseball 17: Remarkably Less to Offer Than Before

Game: R.B.I. Baseball 17Reader Score: Vote Now
Platform: Android / iOS / PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 0 - View All
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
03:40 PM - March 15, 2017. Posted by Steve_OS. Written by Ryan Spencer

Last week, the Sony San Diego team detailed an intriguing new feature intended to make each player feel more unique in MLB The Show 17: Player Quirks.

Player Quirks are extensions of the current set of player attributes to set apart those who have special abilities. A few examples detailed last week were “Rally Monkey” for players who excel at hitting when the team is trailing, “Road Warrior” for players who perform better playing away from home, and “Night Player” for those who prefer performing under the lights.

Some Player Quirks have a stacking effect on the batter’s PCI (Plate Coverage Indicator), making it easier or more difficult for the batter to get contact (and quality contact) on a pitch. Pitchers also have Player Quirks as well, which can shrink the batter’s PCI and give them an advantage in the matchup.

Read More - Player Quirks Are a Step in the Right Direction for MLB The Show (Written by: Ryan Spencer)

Game: MLB The Show 17Hype Score: 9/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS4Votes: 34 - View All
Monday, January 30, 2017
04:29 PM - January 30, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer
When playing a franchise mode in any sports game, players often spend much more time navigating menus than on the field playing the actual game. Whether it’s adjusting depth charts, reviewing box scores, catching up on league news, or scouting next year’s crop of draft prospects, the quality of user-interface elements in franchise mode can go a long way in determining how fun -- or frustrating -- it can be.

Let’s take a look at seven areas where EA can make positive steps towards building a better experience outside of the lines in franchise mode.

Read More - Seven UI Changes Needed For Madden NFL 18

Game: Madden NFL 17Reader Score: 8/10 - Vote Now
Platform: Xbox OneVotes: 17 - View All
Thursday, January 12, 2017
11:34 AM - January 12, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer
In recent years, we’ve seen each sports title’s marketing department build a lot of buzz around the unveiling of player ratings in the buildup to release day. Fans debate these ratings on social media, and even players are seen publicly lobbying for better ratings on ESPN and Twitter.

Among all the hype emerges a simple but important question: how accurate are these ratings?

In a recent front page poll on Operation Sports, nearly 1000 sports gamers weighed in and the results were close to split: a little over half think ratings are either “very accurate” or “more good than bad”; a little less than half say they are “mixed” or “inaccurate more than accurate.”

Both sides seem to have valid arguments.

Read More - Community Split on Sports Game Ratings' Accuracy in OS Poll

Monday, December 19, 2016
03:18 PM - December 19, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer

The racing genre is undoubtedly well represented in video games. From AAA mainstays such as Gran Turismo, Need for Speed and Forza, to relatively newer titles such as Driveclub, Project CARS and The Crew, to the truly unique racers such as Trials and Trackmania, it’s hard to find a racing game angle that hasn’t been explored.

Developer Different Cloth aims to thread that needle with its newest game, Drive!Drive!Drive! Set in a low-res, polygonal galaxy that somehow seems futuristic and retro at the same time, Drive!Drive!Drive! has one big trick up its sleeve: players are forced to race multiple cars on multiple tracks at the same time.

Read More - Drive!Drive!Drive! Review (PS4)

Game: Drive!Drive!Drive!Reader Score: Vote Now
Platform: PS4Votes: 0 - View All
10:27 AM - October 19, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer

One of the biggest challenges facing sports game developers is adding new game mechanics to keep the game fresh while moving towards greater control and realism. The goal is to do all that while keeping the game accessible for the batch of players experiencing the series for the first time.

Anyone who has had a friend who wanted to play a friendly head-to-head matchup but has never played the game knows the struggle. “L2 is the precision modifier,” you try to explain. “There are approximately 42 different skill-move combos you can pull off with it.” Meanwhile, your friend accidentally laterals the ball back to no one in particular on an HB Dive play.

It’s tough to be a newb. But Madden has made the learning curve as soft as possible with its excellent (though not entirely new) Skills Trainer mode, along with a practice mode that boasts some great options that make it so useful you’ll often hear some of the best Madden players in the world frequently refer to it as “The Lab.”

Read More - Madden's Skill Trainer Sets the Standard for Tutorial Modes

Game: Madden NFL 17Reader Score: 8/10 - Vote Now
Platform: Xbox OneVotes: 17 - View All
Saturday, September 3, 2016
07:58 AM - September 3, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer

Special teams play a crucial part in deciding wins and losses in the NFL:

-Clutch field goals
-Field-position-flipping punts.
-Electric, game-changing returns

But for more than a decade, special teams have been anything but special in the Madden NFL series. Field goals were near automatic. CPU punters would routinely blast punts through the back of the end zone. And you want to try to block a kick? Forget it, it wasn’t happening.

Read More - Madden NFL 17 Wants to Make Special Teams Special Again

Game: Madden NFL 17Reader Score: 8/10 - Vote Now
Platform: Xbox 360 / PS3 / PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 17 - View All
Thursday, September 4, 2008
01:24 PM - September 4, 2008. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer
In this west coast lunch hour update, Ryan Spencer takes a look at how hardcore fans and casual fans can live in harmony. Spencer takes a look at how developers can bridge the gap between both and make both crowds happy in his article, Happy Together: Hardcores and Casuals Should be Able to Live in Harmony.

"We live in a very polarized world. Black or white. Republican or Democrat. Rich or poor. We are a society of extremes where the terms “gray area” and “middle ground” are foreign concepts.

The same can be said of sports videogames as well. As developers and publishers look for more ways to make their games appealing to “casual” sports gaming fans, the stage is set for an epic battle between “arcade” and “sim” gamers. While the casual gamers make up the vast majority of the market, any attempt to make the game more simple and accessible for these players is met with fierce resistance by the hardcore crowd."

Thursday, July 17, 2008
12:29 PM - July 17, 2008. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer
Ryan Spencer checks in today and offers up a bit of a summer school lesson for arcade sports game developers on what exactly constitutes a great arcade sports title. He uses the holy grail of arcade sports titles, NBA Jam, as his guide. Check out Spencer's article, Summer School: What Arcade Titles Could Learn from NBA Jam.

"Perhaps no one is more in need of summertime schooling than makers of arcade sports video games. Recently, arcade publishers have been flunking test after test. Midway’s NBA Ballers: Chosen One was an absolute bomb (which is much different than being “Da Bomb”) and EA Sports’ NFL Tour was equally as bad."

Thursday, July 3, 2008
11:26 AM - July 3, 2008. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer
Ryan Spencer checks in today with a look at what is going wrong with NBA games and their portrayal of the draft. Check out his article, Drafting is a Drag in NBA Games.

"The importance of the NBA Draft is undeniable. So why do basketball video games treat the NBA Draft as an obstacle rather than a crucial event for the future of a franchise? Though ESPN has increased and improved coverage of the NBA lottery and draft throughout the years, NBA-licensed video games have insisted on keeping the draft a dull, tedious experience. This article is dedicated to presenting ideas on how to better represent the spectacle that is the NBA Draft."

Game: NBA Live 09Reader Score: 7/10 - Vote Now
Platform: Xbox 360 / PS2 / PS3 / PSPVotes: 37 - View All
Saturday, June 21, 2008
11:23 AM - June 21, 2008. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer
NBA Live 09 is still a few months away, but our very own Ryan Spencer has all the details on the upcoming edition in our first NBA Live 09 preview!

"The NBA Live team has three main focal points for this year’s game: great gameplay, the NBA Live Academy, and a “super secret feature” that is yet to be unveiled."

Game: NBA Live 09Reader Score: 7/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS3Votes: 37 - View All
Monday, June 9, 2008
01:10 PM - June 9, 2008. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer
This week, Ryan Spencer checks in with an article detailing various users' thoughts of how to improve fielding in baseball games. Check out his article, Where's the Fun in Fielding?

"A little over a week ago, I saw a thread in the MLB The Show forum that caught my attention: “Ways to make fielding more fun?” The thread, created by OS member metallidevils, argued that fielding in all baseball games -- past and present -- was boring and tiresome."

Game: MLB '08: The ShowReader Score: 8.5/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS2 / PS3 / PSPVotes: 97 - View All
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
01:38 PM - May 28, 2008. Posted by Steve_OS. Written by Ryan Spencer
Ryan Spencer checks in today with an article entitled Videogame Coaches Deserve Some Respect. Often forgotten in the sports videogame world the coach is a vital part of any real world sporting event, whether it be from a tactical or presentation perspective.

"There are several things that developers need to do in order to better capture the importance and influence of coaches. First of all, coaches should resemble their real-life counterparts in appearance, skills and tendencies. In NBA 2k8, there is a stark contrast between the appearance of players—with photorealistic faces, tattoos, and body types—and coaches, who, aside from skin tone and hair color, don’t look realistic at all. In NCAA Football, coaches don’t have ratings other than “prestige” and “experience,” which only come into play while recruiting."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
03:27 PM - May 20, 2008. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ryan Spencer
In his Operation Sports writing debut, Ryan Spencer takes a look at an often overlooked aspect of sports video games, the audio. Check out his article here.

"Attending a sporting event in person—or even watching one on television—is a spectacular aural experience. Sometimes, the crunch of a bone-crushing hit or the thundering roar of the crowd after a big play is more memorable than the play itself. In the world of sports videogames, advances in technologies have allowed incredible progress in terms of providing stunningly realistic visuals. Audio, for some reason, has seemingly been left behind. From shoddy announcing to lifeless crowd noise, sound in sports games almost seems like an afterthought."