Tournament Dreams College Basketball Review (PC)
The countdown to March is upon us and every team is battling to stay on that “mythical” bubble. Will your team make it or will they be left to fight for that other championship in New York? .400 Software give you the chance to control your favorite team’s destiny in “Tournament Dreams College Basketball” (TD). TD features all 320 Division 1 college basketball teams in a text-based sim that is a first for the .400 Software family. So how does this game fare in its maiden voyage? Well, just like during Selection Sunday, you will have to sit there, wait, and read on!
I know what you are thinking, John, how can graphics be important or even judged in a text-based sim? Well, graphics are like your Weber States or Butlers, you expect them to be there, but you don’t really notice them unless they get your attention. Does TD do that? Not really. The game menus, standings, coaching, and other backgrounds are nice, but are the same. There are not too many varieties. The actual game is always played with the background picture of Conseco Fieldhouse and the Play-by-Play text is quite small. TD also has some nice touches with the flying text and the graphics in motion in the background.
The meat and potatoes of the text-sim world. TD has it all. The user is able to recruit players, set strategies, substitution patterns, training sessions, schedule games, and hire and fire coaches. What more could a user want? Recruiting is the main focus of any college gamer. TD does this well. At the beginning of the season, you pick which recruiting service you would like to subscribe to get your information from. The recruiting list can be sorted by national rankings, interested recruits, local prospects, and those that you have already contacted. Recruits seem to react realistically to contact, location, and prestige of the program. You are able to recruit high school and college, and players will be academically ineligible and go pro in some cases.
As stated earlier, as the coach, you are able to control the scheduling and strategy of the program. However, you will find a snag in the scheduling. Either the teams in the major conferences are scared of a home game against Memphis or there is a bug in the game. I couldn’t get a game at Vandy, Arkansas, North Carolina, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, or Missouri. WHAT? I guess Memphis is just that great of a road team! The strategy part is great. You can set your starting lineup and store 5 different offensive and defensive sets for your teams to use.
Your season progresses just like real life. You play your non-conference schedule followed by your conference schedule, all for the purpose of making the big dance! Conference tournaments are included in the game and seem to be seeded just like real life. After the tournament, comes the moment of truth!! Do you make the big dance or do you fight for that “we’re number 66” trophy?
The bad? My big men don’t seem to score too much, even when I put an emphasis on pounding it into the big men. No one on my team seemed to want to dominate the game; it would be nice if there was an option in the game to have a “go-to” guy to take control of the game. I don’t think I have had a guy break 30 in a game through 6 seasons and that is with 2 lottery picks playing on my team.
This is a text game, is this joke? Actually, TD does have menu music and during the playing of the game, sound effects are abundant. Nothing groundbreaking here, but TD does a nice job with it.
Overall this is a great first edition and worth the purchase. TD puts the user in complete control over his program and it is his job to sink or swim. TD will get some playtime on my computer, although it is not up to Championship Manager or OOTP levels. The game does have its flaws and a robust feel to it, but knowing the dedication of the .400 software team and their timely updates and dedication to the franchise, I am eagerly awaiting the second edition.