Tag Archives: Video Games

A College Town in Facebookia

Greetings readers,

Today’s post will be a little different. I’m going to be reviewing “ESPNU College Town.” It’s an application for Facebook users who can build their very own campuses and take on their friends.

To start this review right off the bat, I love this application on Facebook. It’s similar to Farmville (which, weirdly enough I don’t play) but is very well geared towards the college sports fan. You build a campus, try to get students in and keep them happy, as well as upgrade venues, academic buildings, and the like. You can challenge your friends and crush your enemies to see if your university can stand the test of time.

I’m going to review this application properly with a fair and just review. Your experiences may vary.

Gameplay– The action is fantastic if you are a big fan of FarmTown or SimCity. Like I previously mentioned earlier, you build your campus from the ground up. Granted, ESPNU will give you a few buildings, decorations, items, and two sports venues, but the rest is up to you. The goal is to get as many students as you can as well as recruiting athletes to your campus. You gain levels every time you fill up an experience bar, which gives you more options to buy. You can help your friends or challenge others to games.

Music/Sound– I’m going to be blunt here again, I turned the music off after it looped a few times. Granted, the music isn’t horrible but it repeats over and over again. The sound is good, as there are a few sound effects like moving people in or finishing an event gives you a horn. You also have a noise for construction or renovation projects. This isn’t a major part of the game, but there’s a nice array of sounds for you to hear.

Options– This is where the game shines. You have a ton of buildings and decorations to choose from, along with upgrading most of these. You’ll need to buy dorms, academic buildings, recruits, sports venues, and much more to keep your students happy and interested. (Do I sound like a broken record yet?) Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of options when it comes to picking a college to call alliance to. At first, I thought the selection available was just public universities. However, I look and I see Providence College available. There are a few colleges missing from some of the big conferences, like Southern California (Pac-10) and North Carolina (ACC). If you go to a mid-major school, don’t expect your team to be on there (Wright State and Dayton don’t make the cut.) While there are a lot of colleges to pick an alliance with, if you don’t go to one or you’re at a rival school, prepare to be disappointed. So the options in buildings is nice but there could be more colleges to pick from.

Graphics– Of course, this isn’t something you judge a game on but it is worth a mention. The graphics on College Town are beautiful. However, if your computer can’t handle everything happening at once, this is an option to improve performance which stops all animations. Needs are shown by bubbles above the respected buildings. Need something cleaned up? There’s a broom over the venue for that. Students can move in? There’s an icon for that. Just keep an eye on your campus.

My final thoughts- This is a very nice game. The attention to detail is nice and I like the ability to move things for free. I’m not a fan on how long it takes to load or how it will hiccup on occasion, but that’s to be expected. Like I previously mentioned, there is an option to stop animations to make the game run smoother. So far, I’ve forgotten not to right click several times, because I’m used to Sim City 2000’s style of deleting and building things (yes, that’s probably the most current game I own for the PC.) Waiting for events can be a pain if you are impatient like myself, but that’s also part of the game. The entire game is fantastic, and I recommend it for anyone looking for the next Social Media game or for anyone that loves college sports.

If you have Facebook, you can find it there. To read the story about it from ESPN, click the image.

Until next time,


Sweetest Gifts for Sweetest Folks

Hey folks, it’s Sweetest Day (well, almost.) It’s time to get that someone special a little something. What can you get that someone that has stuck by you when you are yelling at a TV screen during a sports game?

Well, since this is “Sports in the Mowen Years”, this is going to be a list for sports fans. Since I am a male, I’m going to start off this list with a list of goods for the females. I will cap this article off with a list of things that the male species would like.

Keep in mind this isn’t going to be “chocolates and roses” type of charade, but this is intended for sports fans. Your tastes will vary. Okay, let’s start this list:

Gifts for Females

  1. Team blankets. What’s better than cuddling with your girl? Cuddling with your girl…with your team’s logo on that said blanket. Most places carry local teams, some websites (like this one) carry most teams. It shouldn’t be difficult to find her team on a blanket. If you can’t, there’s always making one or the interwebs.
  2. Pink Jerseys. This depends on your girl. Is she not into pink clothes? Is she not a big NFL fan? If you answered “No” to any of those, then skip on down to Number Three. I know I previously said some girls just want a team jersey without the flashy pink substance, but some women do like the look. While it doesn’t exactly match color-wise, it does match up in spirit wise. Cheer on for your teams (or separate teams, if it so fits), together in a jersey.
  3. Merchandise of their favorite player. Do they worship a certain player on a certain team? Get them some merchandise with them on it. Not just jerseys, but framed pictures and other gifts will do just fine.

Gifts for Males

  1. Sports gear. No, not jerseys. I mean actual padding, helmets, gear. Did they break a bat while playing a nice friendly game of “Send the ball over the fence” while crushing one? Did they lose their football helmet somewhere and they can’t find it? Get them something some the sporting good shop that they’ll use time and time again.
  2. Personalized glasses/mugs. It’s a fact that most men like beer. It’s a fact that we need to drink liquids to survive. How about either getting glassware with their favorite team or their name on it? What better way to show off your team by having a mug of your favorite beverage with your friends?
  3. Something to watch sports on. Most sports fans love watching the games on TV. Why not upgrade from that television set from 1995 and get a brand spanking flat-screen! Not a television fan? There’s other medias to get. iPads, iPod touch, and other mobile devices have video capabilities. If they already have a device, there do exist other applications to watch any game at any time (like the MLB At-Bat.)

Gifts for Both Genders

  1. Tickets to a sporting event. What better way to spend this holiday…together. See a team you like (or at least, one of you), then cap it off with a nice stroll around. If you wanted to stay in, there’s always those sports packages on satellite or cable.
  2. Gift Baskets. If you say in and watch sports underneath a soft, warm team blanket, what is the ultimate snack to watch sports? How about something from these gift baskets? Of course, you can pick gift baskets from just about anywhere, but these are the themes of sports teams. Find the one you want, find the snacks you want, and wait for the shipping. Is it too late for this list? Probably, but sharing a snack together underneath a blanket sounds pretty romantic.
  3. Sports movies. After the game, what’s on TV? Oh look, a re-run! Come on, pop in the movie you got. A little Hoosiers by a fireplace? How about some Major League with a warm blanket? Rookie of the Year? Rudy? Any movie with your special someone is worthy of some time together.
  4. Sports video games. Remember awhile back when I wrote about video games a month ago? It’s a perfect gift idea! Spend some time together, make a few interesting bets, and it’s some good time together. Try to pick a sport you both like, however.
  5. Pictures with Frames. When I say pictures, I mean a picture of them playing their sport with a frame that runs with the theme of sports. What if they don’t play sports? How about one of both of you, together at a game or anyplace else?
  6. Clothes or Jerseys. This idea is for anyone. This is such a simple idea, you might write it off. Don’t. Who is their favorite player? Get them a jersey or a shirt with their name and number. What about if you play a sport? Get them one with your name or number. Either way, they’ll remember you either way. As an added bonus, add a spray (NOT the entire bottle)  of your favorite smell (cologne or perfume) onto the material so they’ll have you on them.

Well, I certainly hope this list was helpful. I had to trim down the list as well as repeat some of the things previously mentioned. To be fair, you can get these gifts for pretty much anyone in your life. I tried to recreate a list where people can appreciate sports and each other, which brings me to my last point:

Always make sure that love comes first. Sure, sports are great, but isn’t having the feeling of being love better? Also, if you don’t like my suggestions (which is perfectly fine with me), check out this site for gifts having almost nothing to do with sports. Remember too, each person is different. Listen to those little hints about stuff they want. If you need more help, search online for some relationship advice.

I hope you do like this list, and I hope your Sweetest Day is absolutely wonderful. Until next time,


This isn’t your ordinary Fantasy Sports League

Greetings readers. I present to you a topic that I actually wanted to write last month, but I couldn’t figure out a way to deliver my information. So after much delay, here goes something that is common today: Sports Video Games.

What’s the first franchise that you can think of that deals with sports in video games?

There’s the Madden series (and the always-popular Madden curse that happens to athletes that shine on the cover). You have the NHL series, Tiger Woods golfing, and the FIBA series; all mad by Electronic Arts Sports (EA Sports is the popular way to say it). There’s also 2K sports and ESPN even had some games before signing that huge deal with EA Sports.

There’s video games for football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, soccer, and many others. There are more games on professional sports out there, but there are NCAA college games as well. There are even games where you are in the front office, more on this later.

Why are these games popular? Is it for the online play on some games? Is it because you want to live out your dream of controlling a team in action? Is it to pummel teams and/or players that you dislike for your own reasons? Do you play it for the controls? The teams? The graphics or the roster upgrades? What exactly do we love about these games?

Of course, you don’t need to be a fan of sports to be a fan of video games, or visa versa. I know some people that are huge fans of video games, but not the sporting variety. It does help to be a fan of sports to understand these games though.

These games, usually upgraded annually with new features and roster upgrades, do their best to make the action as close to the game as you can get. Of course, playing with a controller does not equal playing the actual sport. With the Wii, you do have some physical activity by moving the Wiimote around. This works great when you try to swing your tennis racket, throw a pass down the field, swing a bat, and the like.

While these games might not take the place of playing the actual sport, they do provide us with a pain-free (well, hopefully it is because you’re hitting buttons) way to be in the game. There are also games based on managing a NFL team in the front office. I think that is a stretch thinking people just want to be in charge of teams and not actually play the game. When I say “play the game”, I mean take control of a player and control how many yards you pick up. Maybe there is a niche for that though.

We also can’t forget about the old days of these games. I think my favorite old-school sports game is Ice Hockey (for the NES). Others include Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out (NES), the NHL series (Genesis, Sega CD, SNES), and Blades of Steel (NES). So these types of games are not a new concept. Also remember, players names weren’t used. Teams names weren’t used as well.

This is just barely scratching the surface on sports games. You have the Nintendo sports games designed for anyone to start playing. These games are great for multiple people to claim bragging rights. They are also good for people that like unlockables, such as great teams (like for the NFL: the 1987 Denver Broncos or the 1988 Cincinnati Bengals) or legendary players, or old jerseys worn by the teams of yesteryear.

All in all, I think these games are great. Some people might not like the rehashing of games on a yearly basis, but they still bring us the sports we love.