Fantasy Golf

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Posted by bender 04/09/2009 @ 21:13

Tags : fantasy golf, fantasy, sports

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Tiger Woods is a gimmie but who else should you be thinking of picking in your fantasy team for this week's US Open? To enter your team click on the link under the photo. It is free to join and there are fantastic seasonal prizes on offer....
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Fantasy Golf Breaking News -
Fred Funk was one of seven golfers to successfully navigate the 36-hole US Open sectional qualifier at Woodmont CC in Rockville, Maryland. After finishing at 5-under-par 139, Funk, Chris Kirk, Jeff Brehaut and Drew Weaver clinched berths in the major...
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By Ross Devonport If you submit a Fantasy Golf Challenge lineup and column from another time zone when you're jetlagged, they shouldn't count. Yes, last week was bad. I even forgot to submit a pick for the experts league I'm in -- a move that cost me...
Mark Eddie: Comedy, it's all part of his rock 'n' roll fantasy - Tarentum Valley News Dispatch
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Fantasy golf: Where to find US Open info -
In the world of fantasy sports, golf doesn't get much attention. So it was interesting to read Bill Pennington's take on the growth of fantasy golf earlier this week in the New York Times. For those who do engage in fantasy golf, there's no better...

Fantasy golf

Fantasy golf is a game in which the participants each assemble a team of real life golf players and then score points based on those players' performance in golf tournaments.

Usually players are selected from a budget and if you have a squad of players you pick a team each week, although there are many variations. Typically the games follow the US PGA Tour and the European Tour.

Playing Fantasy Golf games adds enjoyment to the watching of golf and provides competition against other participants.

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Fantasy sport

A fantasy sport (also known as rotisserie, roto, or owner simulation) is a game where fantasy owners build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by individual players or teams of a professional sport. Probably the most common variant converts statistical performance into points that are compiled and totaled according to a roster selected by a manager that makes up a fantasy team. These point systems are typically simple enough to be manually calculated by a "league commissioner." More complex variants use computer modeling of actual games based on statistical input generated by professional sports. In fantasy sports there is the ability to trade, cut, and sign players, like a real sports owner.

It's estimated by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association that 29.9 million people age 12 and above in the U.S. and Canada played fantasy sports in 2007. A prior study by the FSTA showed 19.4 million people age 12 and above in the U.S. and Canada played fantasy sports in 2006 and 34.5 million people had ever played fantasy sports. A 2006 study showed 22 percent of U.S. adult males 18 to 49 years old, with Internet access, play fantasy sports. Fantasy Sports is estimated to have a $3–$4 Billion annual economic impact across the sports industry. Fantasy sports is also popular throughout the world with leagues for soccer, Australian-rules football, cricket and other non-U.S. based sports.

The concept of picking players and running a contest based on their year-to-date stats has been around since shortly after World War II, but was never organized into a widespread hobby or formal business. In 1960, Harvard University sociologist William Gamson started the "Baseball Seminar" where colleagues would form rosters that earned points on the players' final standings in batting average, RBI, ERA and wins. Gamson later brought the idea with him to the University of Michigan where some professors played the game. One professor playing the game was Bob Sklar, who taught an American Studies seminar which included Daniel Okrent, who learned of the game his professor played. At around the same time a league from Glassboro State College also formed a similar baseball league and had its first draft in 1976.

The landmark development in fantasy sports came with the development of Rotisserie League Baseball in 1980. Magazine writer/editor Daniel Okrent is credited with inventing it, the name coming from the New York City restaurant La Rotisserie Francaise where he and some friends used to meet and play. The game's innovation was that "owners" in a Rotisserie league would draft teams from the list of active Major League Baseball players and would follow their statistics during the ongoing season to compile their scores. In other words, rather than using statistics for seasons whose outcomes were already known, the owners would have to make similar predictions about players' playing time, health, and expected performance that real baseball managers must make.

Because Okrent was a member of the media, other journalists, especially sports journalists, were introduced to the game. Many early players were introduced to the game by these sports journalists, especially during the 1981 Major League Baseball strike; with little else to write about, many baseball writers wrote columns about Rotisserie league. A July 8, 1980 New York Times Article titled "What George Steinbrenner is to the American League, Lee Eisenberg is to the Rotisseries League" set off a media storm that led to stories about the league on CBS TV and other publications.

In March 1981, Dan Okrent wrote an essay about the Rotisserie League for Inside Sports called "The Year George Foster Wasn't Worth $36." The article included the rules of the game. Founders of the original Rotisserie league published a guide book starting in 1984. In 1982, Ballantine published the first widely-available Bill James Abstract, which helped fuel fantasy baseball interest. Fantasy fans often used James' statistical tools and analysis as way to improve their teams. James was not a fantasy player and barely acknowledged fantasy baseball in his annual Abstract, but fantasy baseball interest is credited with his strong sales.

Soon the hobby spread to other sports as well and by 1988, USA Today estimated that five hundred thousand people were playing.

In the few years after Okrent helped popularize fantasy baseball, a host of experts and business emerged to service the growing hobby. Okrent, based on discussions with colleagues at USA Today, credits Rotisserie league baseball with much of USA Today's early success, since the paper provided much more detailed box scores than most competitors and eventually even created a special paper, Baseball Weekly, that almost exclusively contained statistics and box scores.

Among the first high-profile experts were John Benson, Alex Patton and Ron Shandler. Benson became perhaps the most famous name in the business in the late 1980s, publishing his first book in 1989 and developing one of the first draft-software simulation programs. He had a 900 number at $2.50 per minute (He charged $150 per hour in the mid 2000s).

Patton published his first book ('Patton's 1989 Fantasy Baseball League Price Guide ") in 1989 and his dollar values were included in USA Today Baseball Weekly's fantasy annual throughout the 1990s.

Ron Shandler published his "Baseball SuperSTATS" book in November 1986. At first the book wasn't meant for fantasy baseball fans, but rather as a book of Sabrmetric analysis.

But it wasn't just baseball that saw new businesses and growth. Fantasy Football Index became the first annual fantasy football guide in 1987. Fantasy Sports Magazine debuted in 1989 as the first regular publication covering more than one fantasy sport. Fantasy Football Weekly was launched in 1992 (later becoming and had $2 million in revenue by 1999. A large number of companies emerged to calculate the stats for fantasy leagues and primarily send results via fax.

In 1993, USA Today included a weekly columnist on fantasy baseball, John Hunt, and he became perhaps the most visible writer in the industry before the rise of the Internet. Hunt started the first high-profile experts league, the League of Alternate Baseball Reality which first included notables as Peter Gammons, Keith Olbermann and Bill James.

The hobby continued to grow with 1 million to 3 million playing from 1991 to 1994.

But the seminal moment for the growth of fantasy sports was the rise of the Internet in the mid-1990s. The new technology lowered the barrier to entry to the hobby as stats could quickly be compiled online and news and information became readily available.

While several fantasy businesses had migrated to the internet in the mid-1990s, the watershed era for online fantasy sports was in 1997 when two web sites made their debut that forever changed the fantasy sports industry: and launched in January 1, 1997 and first offered a fantasy baseball commissioner service that changed the nature of fantasy sports with real-time stats, league message boards, daily updated box scores and other features -- all for $300 per league. was sold to Sportsline late in 1999 for $31 million in cash and stock in a watershed moment for the fantasy industry. The sale proved fantasy sports had grown from a mere hobby to big business. By 2003, helped Sportsline generate $11 million from fantasy revenue. is now the fantasy sports engine behind's fantasy area (after Sportsline was sold to CBS). also launched in January 1997 and published its first player note on February 16, 1997. RotoNews revolutionized how fantasy sports information was presented on the web with the innovation of the "player note" which were snippets of information every time a player got hurt, traded, benched or had a news event that impacted his fantasy value - all search-able in a real-time database. Most sites today follow how RotoNews had a "news" and "analysis" element to each player update. Within two years RotoNews had become one of the top ten most trafficked sports sites on the web, according to Media Metrix, ranking higher than such sites as was sold to Broadband Sports in 1999 and later survived as

It wasn't long before the larger media players got involved. added fantasy sports in 1999 and offered most of its games for free - a largely new business model for fantasy sports. A trade group for the industry, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association was formed in 1998.

Other entries during this era included, launched in 1999 by the parent company of Fantasy Football Weekly.

The first survey of the fantasy sports market in the U.S. in 1999 showed 29.6 million people age 18 and older played fantasy games. However, that figure was reduced in later years when it was determined the survey also included people who play NCAA bracket pools, which are not exactly fantasy sports (where you pick individual players).

While fantasy sports were fueled by the dot-com boom of the Internet, there was a turbulent period when many of the high-flying Internet companies of the era crashed in 2001. went bankrupt in 2001 (later to re-emerge in 2001).'s parent company, Broadband Sports, went belly up in 2001. The company would re-emerge as

There were also wide variations on business models. launched the Web's first free commissioner service in 1998, quickly becoming the largest league management service. became the first major media company to offer games for free in 1999. Due to the rising competition,, which had charged as much as $300, offered its commissioner services for free starting with football in 2000.

Two years later the trend reversed. Sportsline moved back to a pay model for commissioner services (which it largely still has today)., a free site since 1997, started to charge for information. moved from a free model to a pay model in 2001 as well..

Despite the economic instability, fantasy sports started to become a mainstream hobby. In 2002, the NFL found that average male surveyed, for example, spent 6.6 hours a week watching the NFL on TV; fantasy players surveyed said they watched 8.4 hours of NFL per week. "This is the first time we've been able to demonstrate specifically that fantasy play drives TV viewing," said Chris Russo, the NFL's senior vice president. The NFL began running promotional television ads for fantasy football featuring current players for the first time. Previously fantasy sports had largely been seen in a negative light by the major sports leagues.

Fantasy sports continued to grow with a 2003 FSTA survey showing 15 million people playing fantasy football and spending about $150 a year on average, making it a $1.5 billion industry.

With the growth of the industry, fantasy has branched out to include non-sports related games focused on politics, celebrity gossip, movies, and reality TV.

In 1996, STATS, Inc., a major statistical provider to fantasy sports companies, won a court case, along with Motorola, on appeal against the NBA in which the NBA was trying to stop STATS from distributing in game score information via a special wireless device created by Motorola. The victory played a large part in defending other cases where sports leagues have tried to suppress live in-game information from their events being distributed by other outlets. The victory also accelerated the market for real-time statistics which were largely fueled by the growth of the fantasy sports industry.

The development of fantasy sports produced tension between fantasy sports companies and professional leagues and players associations over the rights to player profiles and statistics. The players associations of the major sports leagues believed that fantasy games using player names were subject to licensing due to the right of publicity of the players involved. Since the player names were being used as a group, the players had assigned their publicity rights to the players association who then signed licensing deals. During the 1980s and 1990s many companies signed licensing deals with the player associations, but companies did not. The issue came to a head with the lawsuit of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, MLB's Internet wing, vs. St. Louis-based CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., the parent company of CDM Sports. When CBC was denied a new licensing agreement with MLBAM (they had acquired the rights from the baseball players' association ) for its fantasy baseball game, CBC filed suit.

CBC argued that intellectual property laws and so-called "right of publicity" laws don't apply to the statistics used in fantasy sports. The FSTA filed an amicus curiae in support of CBC, also arguing that if MLBAM won the lawsuit it would have a dramatic impact on the industry, which was largely ignored by the major sports leagues for years while a number of smaller entrepreneurs grew it into a multi-billion dollar industry, and a ruling could allow the MLBAM to have a monopoly over the industry.

CBC won the lawsuit as U.S. District Court Judge Mary Ann Medler ruled that statistics are part of the public domain and can be used at no cost by fantasy companies.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in October 2007. "It would be strange law that a person would not have a First Amendment right to use information that is available to everyone," a three-judge panel said in its ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 8th Circuit Court's decision by declining to hear the case in June 2008.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which was an amendment to the larger and unrelated Safe Port Act, included "carve out" language that clarified the legality of fantasy sports. It was signed into law on October 13, 2006 by President George W. Bush. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act makes transactions from banks or similar institutions to online gambling sites illegal, with the notable exceptions of fantasy sports, online lotteries and horse/harness racing.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association was formed in 1999 to represent the growing industry. The Fantasy Sports Writers Association was formed in 2004 to represent the growing numbers of journalists covering fantasy sports exclusively. The Fantasy Sports Association was formed in 2006.

In autumn 2008, the Montana Lottery, one of only four U.S. states to legalize sports betting, will offer sports wagering for the first time.

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Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI is the most representative title of the Final Fantasy series, according to producer Hiromichi Tanaka.

Final Fantasy XI (ファイナルファンタジーXI ,Fainaru Fantajī Irebun?), also known as Final Fantasy XI Online, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Square (later Square Enix) as part of the Final Fantasy series. It was released in Japan on Sony's PlayStation 2 on May 16, 2002, and was released for Microsoft's Windows-based personal computers in November 2002. The PC version was released in North America on October 28, 2003, and the PlayStation 2 version on March 23, 2004. In Europe, only the Windows version was released, on September 17, 2004. An Xbox 360 version was released worldwide in April 2006 for all regions, as the system's first MMORPG and the first cross-platform MMORPG. The Xbox 360 version does not require an Xbox Live Gold account.

The story is set in the fantasy world of Vana'diel, where tasks can be performed to improve a character's powers or to complete quests. Players are able to customize a character that they will guide through the story. There are also thousands of quests that allow players to gain various rewards, as well as a growing number of player versus player competitions.

In January 2004, Square Enix announced that more than 500,000 users, using more than one million characters, were playing the game. As of 2006, between 200,000 and 300,000 active players logged in per day, and the game remains the dominant MMORPG in Japan. As of 2008, in an announcement for three additional expansions in development, SE noted Final Fantasy XI still has a strong user base of around 500,000 subscribers. Four expansions for the game have been released, capitalizing on the game's success.

Final Fantasy XI, in addition to being an MMORPG, differs from previous titles in the series in several ways. Unlike the predefined main characters of previous Final Fantasy titles, players are able to customize their characters in limited ways, including race, gender, face, hair color, body size, job, and allegiance. Also diverging from previous games in the series, all battles are real time, and enemies are no longer randomly encountered, a trend continued in FFXII.

There are 32 public game worlds, a cluster of servers, available for play with approximately 15,000 to 20,000 players in each. The servers are named after summoned monsters from previous Final Fantasy titles, such as Ifrit and Diabolos. Players have the ability to move between servers, though few do; more common is the creation of different characters on different servers. There are no region-specific or system-specific servers, and unlike most online games, players of different languages play in the same world and can interact through automatic language translation from a library of translated phrases.

Players have the option of using any combination of a keyboard, mouse, and controller to play Final Fantasy XI. If a player using a PlayStation 2 or an Xbox 360 does not have a keyboard, the game provides a method for communication within the game. The heads-up display in Final Fantasy XI consists of a log window, menus, and several game information elements. The log window at the bottom of the screen displays system messages, battle messages, and text input by other players. Players may choose to filter what appears in the log window. "Menus" allow the player to access different commands, status windows, and configuration options. The "action command menu" appears just above the log window and gives the player several options to interact with the game world. Several menu options are available through the use of keyboard shortcuts, as well. Square Enix also allows players to communicate by text messaging with people playing the game online.

Gameplay in Final Fantasy XI consists of two major components: missions, through which the main storyline of the game is told, and quests, which do not advance the main storyline, but fill out the game's fantasy world. Missions are undertaken to advance in rank, access new areas, gain new privileges and advance the various storylines. Each nation and expansion has its own set of missions and quests, which a player must complete to advance in rank; a player may only complete missions for his home country. Quests may be undertaken for various rewards and fame. At release, over one hundred quests were available to play and new quests are added frequently.

Battles in Final Fantasy XI take place in the same world in which players move around, unlike previous Final Fantasy games in which a battle would take place in a new screen. Monsters within the game operate under a system of "claim" and "enmity". A monster is "claimed" the moment a player performs any offensive action upon it, including physical or magical attacks or offensive job abilities. With some exceptions, once a monster is "claimed" it can only be attacked by players in the party or alliance of the player that claimed it. A monster will focus its attention on whomever has built up the most enmity. Players have several means at their disposal, from spells to abilities to items, to build up enmity and shed it to their advantage in battle. Players obtain in-game money known as gil by defeating a type of monster called Beastmen, though, unlike previous Final Fantasy games, these monsters leave only small amounts.

Unlike many MMORPGs, there is no way to attack other players. However, since 2004, several ways of competing with other players have been added. The system of player competition is known as "Conflict", and occurs only with the permission of both players. The first form of competition was called "Ballista", in which players scored points by throwing rocks into a castle-like structure known as a "Rook". In February 2006, a second form of competition was released called "Brenner", in which players steal the opposing team's flames and place them in a container on their own side. By maintaining these flames, points are awarded which determine the winner. New battle events have also been introduced including "Salvage", "Einherjar", and "Pankration". Square Enix has also instituted a "marriage ceremony" for those who wish to do so (same-sex character couplings are not permitted).

Final Fantasy XI's job system is largely adapted from Final Fantasy III. Each job has unique abilities, which must be activated by the player in order to come into effect, last a limited time, and have a "cooldown" period before they can be used again; traits, which are passive abilities that are always in effect; and a special "2-hour" ability that performs some extraordinary function and has an extraordinary 2-hour-long cooldown period to go with it. Players are able to change their jobs any time they wish inside their 'Mog House' or 'Rent-a-Room', and are also able to get a “support job” once they reach level 18 in order to learn additional skills and try different combinations, though the job will be half the level of the player's main job. Players are able to improve their job abilities through defeating monsters or completing quests. As of November 2007, a player may choose from 20 different jobs. The first six job classes available were the Warrior, Monk, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage, and Thief. Upon achieving level 30 in any of these jobs, a player may opt to complete quests to unlock the jobs of Paladin, Dark Knight, Beastmaster, Ranger, Bard, Summoner, Samurai, Ninja, Dragoon, Blue Mage, Corsair, Puppetmaster, Dancer, and Scholar.

In addition to completing quests and missions, players can participate in several side-minigames and other activities. One such minigame is fishing, where players can measure their strength against the fish they attempt to catch. Another is clamming, where players collect as many fish or sea creatures as possible without going over their bucket's size limit. Gardening allows players to raise plants in their residence, or "mog house" as it is known in the game. The raising and breeding of Chocobos was a long-requested activity enabled in the summer 2006 update. Chocobo racing began in March 2007, which allowed for the racing of player-raised Chocobos against non-player characters (NPCs). Winning racers can earn "Chocobucks", which can be used to buy, for example, items that assist Chocobo breeding.

An important part of the game is the accumulation of items, especially rare ones, which allow players to create powerful weapons, armour and food. There are many ways to obtain items, such as harvesting, excavating, logging, mining, defeating monsters, and digging by using Chocobos. Square Enix attempted to increase the opportunity for players to find rare items in order to equalize the game and stop the practice of "gil selling", or exchanging real money for in-game items. The item auction system was shut down temporarily once due to some players exploiting the system. Items can be created by consuming elemental crystals (obtained by fighting monsters) with other ingredients in a process called "synthesis". Recipe results can vary widely based on the player's skill, the quality of the player's equipment worn, and the ingredients used. There is large speculation (though nothing evidently documented as of yet) about the moon phase, direction the player is facing, in-game day (every day of the week is assigned an element), and even time of day the synthesis is performed to either increase or reduce the results of the recipe.

Final Fantasy XI has a largely player-based economy, with a heavy reliance on "Auction Houses" in each of the major cities of Vana'diel. There are certain economic controls in place mainly in the form of fees for putting items up for auction. Transportation, auction house, item storage, and fees do not go to players; these gil sinks effectively remove money from the economy to prevent inflation. The city of Jeuno used to levy a tax on bazaar purchases inside the city, but it was removed in a patch in the December 2008 version update.

Square Enix has stated that the trade of items for real currency is officially a violation of the Terms of Service for Final Fantasy XI. In early 2006, Square Enix discovered that a group of players had found a way to generate game currency and exchange it for real currency, which, in turn, drove up prices for all items across the game. In response, 700 accounts were permanently banned and 300 billion gil was removed from circulation. In July 2006, Square Enix banned or suspended over 8,000 other accounts for similar manipulation and commerce. Since 2006, Square Enix has regularly banned accounts found to be in violation of the terms, some of them using third-party tools, effectively removing billions of gil from the in-game economy.

The world of Final Fantasy XI is known as Vana'diel. It consists of two main landmasses with two smaller islands flanking them, which in turn are surrounded by small islands. It features diverse climates, ranging from the northern glaciers to the southern deserts. The four main cities in Vana'diel are Bastok, San d'Oria, Windurst, and Jeuno. The expansion Treasures of Aht Urhgan added the large Aht Urhgan Whitegate/Al Zahbi city area. The rest of Vana'diel is made up of a number of outdoor, dungeon, and minor town areas split into various regions. While most areas are accessible by walking, various modes of transportation, ranging from the classic Final Fantasy Chocobo and airships to special spells, facilitate movement across the game world.

The events of the game are set 20 years after the Crystal War, when the nations of San d'Oria, Bastok, and Windurst on the main continent of Vana'diel fought and defeated the Shadow Lord and his army of beastmen. A parallel world named Dynamis, in which the beastmen succeeded in conquering Vana'diel, can also be explored. It is described as a dream world created by the Avatar of Dreams, Diabolos.

In addition to the player races, there are two primary non-playable races known as the Zilart, an ancient race which is the focus of the first two game expansions, and the Kuluu, a race of beings similar to the Zilart and thought to be inferior to it. There is also a huge supporting cast of NPCs who give quests and missions and appear in the game's storylines. The game features several typical Final Fantasy monsters, including races such as the Goblin, Orc, Yagudo, and Quadav. Some of these creatures follow the Shadow Lord, a source of the game's conflict.

The character Shantotto (a Tarutaru) is the heroine and sole character representing Final Fantasy XI in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, where she is voiced by famed voice actress Megumi Hayashibara in the Japanese version.

Players begin the game as residents of one of these three main countries, San d'Oria, Bastok and Windurst, and must help band the nations together against the resurrected Shadow Lord.

The expansion Rise of the Zilart reveals that the Crystal War and the resurrection of the Shadow Lord had been masterminded by the Zilart princes Eald'Narche and Kam'lanaut, who survived the extinction of their race. The two Zilarts plan to become Gods by opening the path to paradise, and the player is charged with thwarting their plans.

Chains of Promathia revolves around the dead Twilight God Promathia, who had originally cursed the Zilart race, and the attempts of various factions to either complete or stop his resurrection. The wyrmking Bahamut is involved in these events, and intends to destroy Vana'diel to prevent Promathia from absorbing the life of the world.

Treasures of Aht Urhgan concerns the Empire of Aht Urhgan which opens up to the nations of Vana'diel. As a new and powerful nation, it is of concern to the nation of the player, who is sent as a representative. The player then becomes embroiled in the intrigues of the Empresses court, and the growing fears of war and darkness coming to Aht Urhgan.

Wings of the Goddess primarily occurs in the era of the Crystal War, 20 years in the past from the main Final Fantasy XI setting. Players discover and cross mysterious time portals, and are led to help the Regal Feline Cait Sith reduce the suffering of the era. The Wings of the Goddess storyline is still ongoing as of 2009.

The idea to develop Final Fantasy XI as an online game was conceived by Hironobu Sakaguchi when establishing Square Pictures headquarters in Hawaii. Impressed by western MMORPGs that he discovered there, such as EverQuest, Sakaguchi convinced Square to begin the development of their own MMORPG and suggested that it be based on the Final Fantasy series. The team responsible for Chrono Cross was assigned to the development of Final Fantasy XI after the English localization of the former title. The game was the first developed under Square's new philosophy to develop for "all platforms and media". Hiromichi Tanaka, the producer of the game, has stated Final Fantasy XI is heavily influenced by Final Fantasy III, especially in its battle and magic systems. According to Tanaka, Square put in Final Fantasy XI what they could not put in the first Final Fantasy titles due to technical limitations, thus making Final Fantasy XI the "most Final Fantasy of all the installments". The game was developed and ran on the Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti GPU, which the President of Square Yōichi Wada described as the most powerful graphics processor available at the time. The game cost two to three billion yen (~$17–25 million) to create along with the PlayOnline Network Service and was assumed to become profitable over a five year timespan. By creating a unified game world instead of different ones balkanized by language, development costs were cut 66%. Since recurring monsters of the series are known by different names in the Japanese and English versions of the other installments, it was decided for Final Fantasy XI to use both Japanese and English names for different varieties of the same monsters.

It was originally announced that there would be a simultaneous release on the PlayStation 2 and PC as well as concurrent Japanese and American release, but this was later changed. There was also discussion of an Xbox release, but it was abandoned mainly because of its small 8 GB hard drive. Originally announced in January 2000 at the Yokohama Millennium Conference, there was a great deal of negative press. There were questions raised about naming the game the eleventh in the series, since it was not clear whether the game would have a structured story, which it ended up having, and the title of Final Fantasy Online was suggested. Following an August 2001 beta test in Japan, a public Japanese beta test was done in December 2001.

Following its PC release, Final Fantasy XI was listed as one of IGN's most anticipated PlayStation 2 games of 2004. Sony launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign to promote Final Fantasy XI along with the PlayStation 2 hard drive add-on which the game required. Having been released on the PlayStation 2 as well as the personal computer, it became the first cross-platform MMORPG ever created. On June 14, 2002, the game server was down for four hours for maintenance to the database servers, bug fixes on the text interface, and a new patch for the game client. This is thought to be the first patch ever released for a console game. Other early issues included complaints by American players that experienced Japanese players had already completed all the quests. Square Enix responded by adding new servers in order to have game worlds with fewer expert players.

Final Fantasy XI is one of the first cross-console video games, and has continued to update its software to allow the game to run on new consoles. Square Enix noted that Nintendo's use of "friend codes" was the primary reason Final Fantasy XI was not brought to the Wii. In December 2006, the PlayStation 2 versions of PlayOnline and Final Fantasy XI were able to install and run on the PlayStation 3. The Vana'diel Collection 2008 discs for the PlayStation 2 had installation issues on the PlayStation 3, causing them to be unusable at first since they weren't on Sony's list of HDD compatible titles in the firmware the PlayStation 3 at the time. This problem was fixed on December 18, 2007 when Sony released firmware update 2.10 for the PlayStation 3(this allowed all backwards compatible models to play FFXI). After working with Microsoft to resolve Final Fantasy XI's incompatibility issues with Windows Vista, Square Enix released a downloadable version of the PlayOnline client which is compatible with the operating system, although small bugs have appeared.

All the expansions, including Rise of the Zilart, have been released on PlayStation 2 (except in Europe), PC, and Xbox 360.

Masato Kato, the original scenario writer of Final Fantasy XI and the expansion pack Rise of the Zilart, will return to work on these expansion chapters. A separate development team has been established for these new chapters, so that updates for Wings of the Goddess can continue to be released in parallel. Unlike traditional expansion packs, these chapters, conceived as interactive "novelettes", will focus on deepening the storylines of existing locations rather than introducing new areas.

The music of Final Fantasy XI was scored by Nobuo Uematsu, Naoshi Mizuta, and Kumi Tanioka. Composer Yasunori Mitsuda was also asked to contribute, but he was busy scoring Xenosaga. The expansion packs were scored by Mizuta alone after Tanioka left to pursue other projects and Uematsu left Square Enix. The opening of the game features choral music with lyrics in Esperanto. According to Uematsu, the choice of language was meant to symbolize the developers' hope that their online game could contribute to cross-cultural communication and cooperation. He also noted the increased difficulty of scoring a game for which there was no linear plotline, a major change from the previous Final Fantasy games. It was the first game in the series for which he composed while he was no longer a Square employee. New music has been employed for special events, such as a holiday score titled Jeuno -Starlight Celebration- which can be heard in the city of Jeuno each mid to late December since 2004. Unlike its immediate predecessor, Final Fantasy XI features almost no voice acting. Vocalizations are portrayed by battle cries and related sounds. Text descriptions are instead utilized to express player communication.

The game's music has been released in CD form several times and has been featured in Final Fantasy concerts. Some of the game's music has been released on iTunes for download, such as the vocal "Distant Worlds", which was released on the Japanese iTunes Music Store on September 13, 2005, having been put in the game in a July 2005 patch. A compilation CD box was released on March 28, 2007, titled Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack Premium Box, which included the four original soundtracks from Final Fantasy XI and its three expansion sets, as well as the previously unreleased tracks from the game and the unreleased Final Fantasy XI Piano Collections. Dear Friends -Music from Final Fantasy-, a 2004–2005 concert series, featured "Ronfaure" from Final Fantasy XI. A ten-track album of music inspired by Final Fantasy XI entitled Music from the Other Side of Vana'diel was released by The Star Onions on August 24, 2005.

The user base for the PlayStation 2 version was truncated initially because of limited sales of the PlayStation 2s hard drive and network adapters that were needed for the game. The Japanese release of Rise of the Zilart was the number one selling game when it debuted with 90,000 copies sold in the first week. The Final Fantasy XI All-in-One Pack was number 36 and Wings of the Goddess was number 40 on the top 50 best-selling Xbox 360 games in Japan as of December 2007.

For the April–September 2004 financial period, Square Enix saw online gaming, particularly Final Fantasy XI, sales increase by 101 percent and operating profit increase by 230.9 percent. Revenues held steady from subscription services in the summer of 2006; in the fall however, Square acknowledged that online subscription revenues were "unsatisfactory", despite the steady performance of Final Fantasy XI.

In December 2002, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada announced that there were over 200,000 subscribers to Final Fantasy XI, allowing the company to break even and start making a profit. There were between 200,000 and 300,000 active players daily in 2006. As of August 14, 2006 the Xbox 360 version was the sixth most played game on Xbox Live.

Famitsu rated Final Fantasy XI 38 out of 40. Computer and Video Games Magazine noted that it was one of the most welcoming MMORPG's despite the cumbersome initial registration and setup. IGN called it a well done but unoriginal game and also noted that North American players were forced to play with already much more experienced Japanese players who had already completed the game's various quests. GameSpot criticized it at release for having an unconventional control system, a lengthy installation, and having no player versus player (PvP) aspects. Other elements receiving criticism include the EXP grind, which involves constant battles to access different parts of the game, and overcrowded camp sites. The expansions have been mostly positively received, with praise for the amount of content added, but increasing signs that the graphics of the game are becoming outdated. IGN review of the Xbox 360 release was similar, noting that it was a large amount of game content, but had a protracted setup process and elements of the game design that require a large time investment.

Final Fantasy XI was awarded the grand prize from the Japan's Consumer Entertainment Software Association (CESA) for 2002–2003 along with Taiko no Tatsujin. It has also received GameSpy's 2003 PC MMORPG Game of the Year Award and IGN's Game of the Month for March 2004, citing the game's huge customization and its successful cross-platform and cross-language game world. Final Fantasy XI was referenced in the online game Minna no Golf Online in the form of a Final Fantasy XI-themed lobby. A direct sequel of Final Fantasy XI was thought to be in development, but Square Enix denied this report. It did however confirm that the creators of Final Fantasy XI were working on a new MMORPG, although it is not necessarily Final Fantasy-related.

The game has spawned several written adaptations and related merchandise. Starting in 2003, a series of Final Fantasy XI novels was written by Miyabi Hasegawa and released in Japanese, German, and French. In 2004, Additionally, Adventure Log, a webcomic by Scott Ramsoomair, was commissioned by Square Enix starting in 2007. Final Fantasy XI PlayOnline Visa and MasterCard credit cards were available in Japan, with features including no annual fees as long as cardholders remain PlayOnline subscribers and various other rewards. There have also been posters with limited edition phone cards and keychains released, also exclusively in Japan. Several T-shirts have been made available for order in North America, and various stuffed animals have also been made available to order of different races from the series. A Vana'diel clock was also marketed, as well as CDs of the game's music.

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Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island title screen.jpg

Fantasy Island is the title of two separate but related American fantasy television series, both originally airing on the ABC television network.

Before it became a long-running original television show, Fantasy Island was introduced to viewers in 1977 through two highly-rated made-for-television films in which Mr. Roarke and Tattoo played relatively minor roles. Airing from 1978 to 1984, the original series starred Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke, the enigmatic overseer of a mysterious island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, where people from all walks of life could come and live out their fantasies, albeit for a price.

Roarke was known for his white suit and cultured demeanor, and was initially accompanied by an energetic sidekick, Tattoo, played by Hervé Villechaize. Tattoo would run up the main bell tower to ring the bell and shout "The plane! The plane!" to announce the arrival of a new set of guests at the beginning of each episode. This line, shown at the beginning of the show's credits, became an unlikely catchphrase because of Villechaize's spirited delivery and French accent (he actually pronounced it, "Ze plane! Ze plane!"). In later seasons, he would arrive in his personal go-cart, sized for him, and recklessly drive to join Roarke for the visitor reception while staff scrambled to get out of his way. From 1980 to 1982, Wendy Schaal joined the cast as another assistant named Julie. In a highly unpopular move with both fans and the cast, the producers fired Villechaize from the series before the 1983–1984 season (which ended up being its last) and Tattoo was replaced by a more sedate butler type named Lawrence, played by Christopher Hewett. Lawrence's personality was exactly the opposite of Tattoo's in many ways. For instance, Lawrence was also responsible for the bell ringing, but instead of climbing to the tower he simply pushed a button outside to have the bell ring automatically.

If you look closely at the size of the plane when it lands and the number of guests, its apparent that that number of people could not have all arrived in the plane at the same time, for example in one episode 7 adults and 2 children come out of the six-seat Grumman Widgeon seaplane.

Roarke would then welcome his guests by lifting his glass and saying: "My dear guests, I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island.".

Roarke's personal vehicle was an orange Dodge Aspen station wagon with a Safari top with the stance of a modern-day sport utility vehicle.

In the early seasons, it was noted that each guest had paid $50,000 in advance for the fulfillment of their fantasies and that Fantasy Island was a business. Later, it became clear that the price a guest paid was substantial to him or her, and for one little girl whose father was one of Roarke's guests, she had emptied her piggy bank - less than ten dollars - to have her fantasy about her father fulfilled.

In the two pilot movies Roarke was actually a rather sinister figure, but once the series went into production he soon became much more benevolent. In later seasons there were often supernatural overtones. Roarke also seemed to have his own supernatural powers of some sort, although it was never explained how this came to be. In one episode, when a guest says 'Thank God things worked out well', Roarke and Tattoo share a very odd look and Roarke says in a cryptic way 'Thank God indeed'. In the same episode, Roarke uses some mysterious powers to help Tattoo with his magic act. In at least one episode, Mr. Roarke faces "The Devil", who has come to the Island to challenge him for his immortal soul. It is mentioned this is not the first time they confront each other, and Mr. Roarke has always been the winner.

Roarke had a strong moral code, but he was always merciful. He usually tried to teach his guests important life lessons through the medium of their fantasies, frequently in a manner that exposes the errors of their ways, and on occasions when the island hosted terminally ill guests he would allow them to live out one last wish. Roarke's fantasies were not without peril, but the greatest danger usually came from the guests themselves; in some cases people actually got themselves killed due to their own negligence, aggression or arrogance. When necessary, Roarke would directly intervene when the fantasy became dangerous to the guest. For instance, when Tattoo had his own fantasy, which ended up with him being chased by hostile natives in canoes, Mr. Roarke suddenly appeared in a motorboat, snared Tattoo's canoe with a grappling hook and towed it away at high speed to help his employee escape.

The usual format of each episode consisted of an introduction in which Roarke would describe to Tattoo (or another assistant) the nature of each person's fantasy, usually with a cryptic comment suggesting the person's fantasy will not turn out as they expected. The episode would then alternate between two or three independent storylines as the guests experienced their fantasies and interacted with Roarke. Often, the fantasies would turn out to be morality lessons for the guests (for example, one featured a man who clamoured for the "good old days" to be taken back to the Salem witch trials), sometimes to the point of (apparently) putting their lives at risk, only to have Roarke step in at the last minute and reveal the deception. It is mentioned a few times that a condition of visiting Fantasy Island is that guests never reveal what goes on there. A small number of guests decided to make the irrevocable choice to stay permanently, living out their fantasy until death; one such person was an actor who had been in a Tarzan-type TV series in the 1960s.

The show was broadcast every Saturday night on ABC at 10:00 PM, after the The Love Boat, which was also produced by Aaron Spelling. Like several other series of the era, such as the above-mentioned The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote, Fantasy Island employed many celebrity (if not A-list film stars of the time) guest stars, often bringing them back repeatedly for different roles. Such guests included TV stars like Bill Bixby and Bob Denver, music stars like Sonny Bono and Robert Goulet, classic film stars like Peter Lawford and Ray Bolger, young starlets like Victoria Principal and Barbi Benton, character actors such as Howard Duff and David Doyle, and soap opera actors like Dack Rambo.

The program was popular in its day, and its campy style has won it a cult following in reruns.

It was filmed primarily in Burbank, California with the opening scenes of the enchanting island coastline being that of Kauai, Hawaii. The gorgeous house with the bell tower, where Tattoo rings the bell, is the Queen Anne Cottage, located in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia. The plane, "arriving" with the guests, was filmed in the lagoon behind the Queen Anne Cottage. Sometimes, outdoor scenes were filmed at the Arboretum.

In 1998, ABC revived the series in a Saturday timeslot. The role of Mr. Roarke was filled by Malcolm McDowell and, unlike in the first series, the supernatural aspect of his character and of Fantasy Island itself was emphasized from the start, along with a dose of dark humor. Director Barry Sonnenfeld, known for his work on The Addams Family movies, was a chief creative force on the new series. Another departure from the original involved filming location, with the new series filmed in Hawaii, rather than in California.

The supporting cast was also expanded for the new series. There was no attempt to replace Tattoo, with Roarke instead having a team of assistants — one of whom was a beautiful female shape shifter — who were assigned to help create and maintain the various fantasy worlds created on the island. Apparently these assistants were imprisoned on the island in order to pay off some debt, sometimes hinting that they were in some kind of Limbo, with many parallels between the regulars and William Shakespeare's The Tempest. The series was cancelled midway through the season, with this subplot never resolved.

In an attempt to contrast this series with the original, the new Mr. Roarke usually wore black; in the first episode, he picked the single black suit out of a closet of white ones and ordered that the rest be burned. Also during the first episode, an assistant came into Mr. Roarke's office, shouting "The planes! The planes!" Mr. Roarke ordered the assistant to never do that again.

Episodes of the revived series regularly opened with a sequence set in the travel agency that actually books the fantasies, operated by two elderly travel agents played by Fyvush Finkel and 1930s silver screen leading lady Sylvia Sidney (in her final acting role).

On May 10, 2007, it was announced that comedian Eddie Murphy had been signed to star in a feature film comedy based on the 1977 series. Murphy will reportedly play multiple roles as well as Mr. Roarke. The film will be written by screenwriters Jay Scherick and David Ronn.

Canada's comedy duo of Wayne and Shuster parodied Fantasy Island as Fantasy Motel. A bus dropped off the passengers, who stood looking around at the inside of the motel, wondering at the sights, while Roarke (Wayne) told "Juan-too" the fantasies of the guests. Juan-too, however, was very tall, and when one guest (Shuster) blurted that he thought Juan-too was supposed to be short, Roarke said it was Juan-too's fantasy to be tall and Juan-too apparently regularly threatens Mr. Roarke with a beating to keep it that way. This guest had everything, and his fantasy was to have something he didn't have. Roarke discovered the guest didn't think he was particularly handsome, so Roarke arranged for plastic surgery.

The Micallef Program contained a sketch entitled 'Fantasy Traffic Island' in which Shaun and Francis asked a pedestrian what his wildest fantasy was. He just wanted to get to the golf shop across the road.

In the Looney Tunes compilation Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island, Daffy Duck found a wishing well, and started charging people to make wishes. When the business took off, he started wearing a white suit. Speedy Gonzales took on the role of Tattoo.

SCTV produced a parody of Fantasy Island (presumably shown as advertised Thursday at 9 on SCTV). Eugene Levy played a Mr. Roarke-like character, & John Candy played Pattoo, a Tattoo-like character. Candy's image was miniaturized for television with special photography. Joe Flaherty & Dave Thomas played rock & roll musicians who came to the island to fulfill their fantasies of being great comedians (they wanted to be Cheech & Chong but Mr. Roarke made them Hope & Crosby). Andrea Martin played a violinist from the Philadelphia Philharmonic. John Candy also portrayed a Bogart-like "Rick" (from Casablanca) character in the final scene. Rick bogarts his cigarette, as noted by Andrea Martin's character. Pattoo also reveals that Roarke's fantasy is to "tie up women with rich Corinthian leather" -- a reference to commercials for Chrysler voiced by Ricardo Montalban.

In an episode of Nickelodeon cartoon Doug, the title character has a dream sequence where he envisions himself as a Mr Roarke-like character and his main antagonist, Roger, as Tattoo.

In the Entertainment TV show El Lavadero, on the Colombian TV network RCN, there is a section called Su Isla de la Fantasía (Spanish for "Your Fantasy Island"), which is presented by "Señor Ron" (a Mr. Roarke-like character; his name could be a pun on either the Spanish word for "Rum", or the channel name , or a pun on the word señorón, a pejorative form of mister) and Pelotú (pronounced pell-o-TOO, an imitation of Tattoo; his name is an apocope of "pelotudo" or stupid). In this parody, they talk about events that happen to people in Colombia and worldwide, and based on their talk, Mr. Ron says the guest has the fantasy to star in a certain movie or program.

In the video game Destroy All Humans: Big Willy Unleashed, one of the levels is called "Fantasy Atoll", Where visitors lived out their fantasies. The owner was a midget named "Porke" and his assistant, Ratpoo. It took place in the 1970s. One of the missions on the level is called "Hate Boat", as the show was aired after the show Love Boat.

When I Love 1982 Strikes Back aired its segment on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, it was teased with the line "Why is Captain Kirk so pissed off at Mr. Roarke?" an obvious in-joke about Ricardo Montalban's work on the TV series that was airing at the same time of the films release.

A similar thing happened on an episode of the Jetsons. The Jetsons got fed up with their lifestyle, so they visited a planet where a man and his short sidekick (called Tee-Too) had two heads. Each of the Jetsons got to live their own Fantasies, until it became too much for them to handle.

In the United States the series is currently being distributed commercial free by Sony Pictures Television on the Tube Time Video On Demand channel via Comcast digital cable, one episode is released each week and is available for six weeks, 6 episodes are available for free VOD viewing at anytime. Most episodes appear to have been remastered for the V.O.D. distribution run. As of early fall 2008, episode 74 was released the week of 10/15/08, visit for more info.

As of 12/12/08, Fantasy Island is no longer being broadcast on Comcast Tube Time.

In Canada, episodes of the original series are aired during primetime some evenings and again on the weekend on TV Land (as of January 15, 2009).

Selected episodes from the first, second and third seasons are available free at Hulu. Selected Minisodes from seasons one, three, four, five, and six are available free at Crackle, along with complete episodes from seasons one, two, and three.

On November 15, 2005, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released Season 1 of the original series on DVD for the very first time. Due to poor sales, it is unknown if the remaining seasons will ever be released.

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Sports game

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A sports game is a computer or video game that simulates the playing of traditional sports. Most sports have been recreated with a game, including baseball, association football, American football, boxing, wrestling, cricket, golf, basketball, ice hockey, tennis, bowling, rugby, indoor lacrosse. Some games emphasize actually playing the sport (such as the Madden NFL series), while others emphasize the strategy behind the sport (such as Championship Manager). Others satirize the sport for comic effect (such as Arch Rivals). This genre has been popular throughout the history of video games and is competitive, just like real-world sports. A number of games series feature the names and characteristics of real teams and players, and are updated annually to reflect real-world changes.

The genre is not to be confused with electronic sports, which is used to describe computer and video games which are played as competitive sports.

Sports games involve physical and tactical challenges, and test the player's precision and accuracy. Most sports games attempt to model the athletic characteristics required by that sport, including speed, strength, acceleration, accuracy, and so on. As with their respective sports, these games take place in a stadium or arena with clear boundaries. Sports games often provide play-by-play and color commentary through the use of recorded audio.

Sports games sometimes make use of different modes for different parts of the game. This is especially true in games about American football such as the Madden NFL series, where executing a pass play requires six different gameplay modes in the span of approximately 45 seconds. Sometimes, other sports games offer a menu where they may select a strategy while play is temporarily suspended. Soccer video games sometimes shift gameplay modes when it is time for the player to attempt a penalty kick, where a single athlete tries to kick a goal passed the other team's goalie with no presence from other players. Some sports games also require players to shift roles between the athletes and the coach or manager. These mode switches are more intuitive than other game genres because the audience for sports games can understand these roles.

Older 2D sports games sometimes used an unrealistic graphical scale, where athletes appeared to be quite large in order to be visible to the player. As sports games have evolved, players have come to expect a realistic graphical scale with a high degree of verisimilitude. Sports games often simplify the game physics for ease of play, and ignore factors such as a player's inertia. Games typically take place with a highly accurate time-scale, although they usually allow players to play quick sessions with shorter game quarters or periods.

Sports games sometimes treat button-pushes as continuous signals rather than discrete moves, in order to initiate and end a continuous action. For example, football games may distinguish between short and long passes based on how long the player holds a button. Golf games often initiate the backswing with one button-push, and the swing itself is initiated by a subsequent push.

One of the first video games in history, Tennis for Two (1958), was a sports game.

Computer games prior to the late 1970s were primarily played on university mainframe computers under timesharing systems that supported multiple computer terminals on school campuses. The two dominant systems were the Digital Equipment PDP-10 and the Control Data Corp. PLATO System. These systems displayed no graphics, only text. In the early 1970s they printed the text on teletype machines and line printers, but by the mid-seventies the text printed on single-color CRT screens.

Between 1980 and 1984 Atari and Intellivision waged a series of high-stakes TV advertising campaigns promoting their respective systems during the first round of console wars. Atari normally prevailed in arcade games and had a deeper installed base due to its lower price, while Mattel's Intellivision touted its visually superior sports games. Sports writer George Plimpton was featured in the Intellivision ads, which showed the parallel games side by side. Both Atari and Mattel fielded at least one game for baseball, American football, hockey, basketball, auto racing and association football.

In 1982, the first association football management simulation appeared, the ZX Spectrum's Football Manager. In 1983 EA produced their first sports game Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One on One by Eric Hammond, which was also the first licensed sports game based on the names and likenesses of famous athletes. The game was a major hit.

In 1983 Mattel released Intellivision World Series Baseball by Don Daglow and Eddie Dombrower, the first game to use multiple camera angles to show the action. Games prior to this displayed the entire field on screen, or scrolled across static top-down fields to show the action. IWSB mimicked television baseball coverage by showing the batter from a modified "center field" camera, showing baserunners in corner insets, and showing defensive plays from a camera behind home plate. It was also the first sports game to introduce players with spoken words (as opposed to text) using the Mattel Intellivoice module. It received limited distribution due to the video game crash of 1983, and today is one of the most rare and expensive Intellivision cartridges on the collectibles market.

In 1988 EA released Earl Weaver Baseball by Don Daglow and Eddie Dombrower, which for the first time combined a highly accurate sim game with a high quality graphical action-style game. This was also the first game in which an actual baseball manager provided the computer AI. In 1996 Computer Gaming World named 'EWB to the #25 position on its list of the Best 150 Games of All Time, the second highest ranking for any sports game in that 1981–1996 period (after FPS Sports Football).

In 1989, Anco published Kick Off; it was immediately considered the pioneer of computer association football games due to its many original features.

The Creation of EA Sports -- In 1989 EA producer Richard Hilleman hired Gamestar's Scott Orr to re-design John Madden Football, then a disappointing Apple II American football game, for the fast-growing Sega Genesis. Orr and Hilleman together developed the game that is still recognized today as Madden Football, the best-selling title in the history of games in North America. They focused on producing a head-to-head two-player game with an intuitive interface and responsive controls. When the game shipped it immediately became a major hit.

Sensible Software's Sensible Soccer (1992) still retains a cult following today. The 16-bit era also saw the launch of many of the EA Sports sports franchises, including the FIFA, NHL, NBA Live and Madden NFL series.

32-bit / 64-bit systems The arrival of Sony's PlayStation and 3D graphics cards on the PC enabled sports games to make the leap into 3D. Actua Soccer was the first soccer game to make use of a 3D engine.

In the beginning of the 21 century extreme sports entered into the mainstream with games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater, SSX and Supreme Snowboarding which popularized sport games like skateboarding, snowboarding and trickbikes.

On 13 December 2004, Electronic Arts began a string of deals that granted exclusive rights to several prominent sports organizations, starting with the NFL. This was quickly followed with two deals in January securing rights to the AFL and ESPN licenses. This was a particularly hard blow to Sega, the previous holder of the ESPN license, who had already been affected by EA's NFL deal. As the market for football brands was being quickly taken by EA, Take-Two Interactive responded by contacting the Major League Baseball Players Association and signing a deal that granted exclusive third-party major-league baseball rights; a deal not as restrictive, as first-party projects were still allowed. The NBA was then approached by several developers, but declined to enter into an exclusivity agreement, instead granting long-term licenses to Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Midway Games, Sony, and Atari. In April, EA furthered its hold on football licensing by securing rights to all NCAA football brands.

Sports games have traditionally been very popular arcade games. The competitive nature of sports lends itself well to the arcades where the main objective is usually to obtain a high score. The arcade style of play is generally more unrealistic and focuses on a quicker gameplay experience. Examples of this include the NFL Blitz and NBA Jam series.

In comparison to arcade sports games, the simulation style of play is a usually a more realistic rendition of the real-life sport it emulates. Examples include the Madden NFL series and the NBA 2k series.

Sports management games put players into the role of team manager. Whereas fantasy games are often played online against other players, management games usually pit the player against AI controlled teams. Players are expected to handle strategy, tactics, transfers, and financial issues. Examples include Football Manager, Front Office Football, NFL Head Coach 09, MLB Front Office Manager, Out of the Park Baseball and's SimLeagues.

A fantasy sport is a game where fantasy owners build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by individual players or teams of a professional sport. Fantasy can also refer to fictional sports, see The fantasy element below.

Sports role-playing games are games which combines RPG elements into any sports genre. Some traditional sports titles now incorporate a game mode in which the user takes the role of a single player and ferries him through his career; examples of this include Sony's MLB 09: The Show (Road to the Show mode), MLB Power Pros (Success mode), and NCAA Football 09 (Dynasty mode). Level-5's association football RPG game, Inazuma Eleven, is one of the many sports RPG's that define the sub-genre. Namco's racing RPG game, Final Lap Twin, is another game which defines the sub-genre. Camelot's Game Boy Color versions of games such as Mario Golf and Mario Tennis also have RPG elements in their single player modes. Smash Court Tennis 3 for PSP and Xbox 360 contains very deep RPG elements such as leveling up abilities and purchasing and unlocking new shots and skills. Inside the Park Baseball was an RPG offshoot of Out of the Park Baseball. Cal Ripken's Real Baseball, formerly Ultimate Baseball Online, is a rare example of a sports MMORPG.

More and more, video sports games are starting to look and act like their TV counterparts. Additionally, televised sports, namely American football, have added Madden-style cameras to their coverage, further blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Sports commentators will often play a game of Madden Football before a big game (such as the Super Bowl), to help gain insight on the outcome.

The sports genre is currently dominated by EA Sports and 2K Sports, who hold licenses to produce games based on official leagues. EA's franchises include the FIFA series, the NBA Live series, the Madden Football series, the NASCAR series and Tiger Woods series. All of these games feature real leagues, competitions and players. These games continue to sell well today despite many of the product lines being over a decade old, and receive, for the most part, consistently good reviews. EA Games' Need for Speed series continues to be one of the best-selling in the racing genre, although it is not based on a license.

With EA Sports' domination, the market has become very difficult to enter; competing games in any of the above genres, with the exception of racing games, tend to be unsuccessful. This has led to a sharp drop in sports-themed titles over recent years. One of the most notable exceptions is Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series, which is often hailed as an alternative to the FIFA series, but does not contain as many licensed teams, players, kits, or competitions. Racing games, due to the variation that the sport can offer in terms of tracks, cars and styles, offer more room for competition and the selection of games on offer has been considerably greater. Sports management games, while not as popular as they used to be, live on through small and independent software development houses. Management titles today have transitioned to the very popular fantasy sports leagues, which are available through many websites such as Yahoo.

Nintendo has been able to make an impact upon the sports market by producing several Mario-themed titles, such as Super Mario Strikers and Mario Tennis. These titles sell respectfully, but are only available on Nintendo's video game consoles, the GameCube, Nintendo 64, and Wii; in 2006, they launched Wii Sports for Wii, which uses the Wii Remote to simulate movement.

Skateboarding – Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Skate, Skate or Die!

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Fantasy Zone

Screenshot of Fantasy Zone (arcade version).

Fantasy Zone (ファンタジーゾーン ?) is a surreal arcade game created by Sega in 1986. It was later ported to a wide variety of consoles, including the Sega Master System. The player controls a sentient spaceship named Opa-Opa who fights nonsensical invader enemies in the titular group of planets, full of settings atypical of the traditional scrolling shooter and pastel colors; for that reason, it is occasionally dubbed a "cute 'em up".

In the space year 1422, the Fantasy Zone was cast in panic at the collapse of the interplanetary monetary system. The Space Guild brings to light the plans of the planet Memon, whose forces are stealing the other planets' currencies to fund a huge fortress in the Fantasy Zone. Opa-Opa is sent to stop the invading army and discover who is behind it. In the end, it turns out that the leader was none other than Opa-Opa's long lost father, a revelation that leaves Opa-Opa with mixed emotions.

In the game, the player's ship is placed in a level with a number of bases to destroy. When all the bases are gone, the stage boss appears, who must be defeated in order to move on to the next level. There are eight stages, and in all of them, except the final one, the scroll is not fixed; the player can move either left or right and the scroll follows him, though the stage loops. The final level consists of fighting again all previous bosses in succession and then facing the final one.

Opa-Opa uses two different attacks: the standard weapon (initially bullets) and bombs; the normal shot is generally useful though weak, while bombs are powerful though they only drop downwards. He can also move down to land on the ground by sprouting feet and walking around until he flies again.

In the game, it is possible to upgrade Opa-Opa's weapons, bombs and flying engine which makes him faster, as well as get extra lives. In order to that, the player must first get money by defeating enemies, bases or bosses, and access a shop by touching a red ballon with the "Shop" word written on it. The screen later changes to a menu where the player, for a limited time, can select any item of choice. Each time a new item is bought, they become more expensive. When the player chooses to exit or the time runs up, another screen appears, in which he or she can select what upgrades Opa-Opa can use; only one engine, weapon and bomb can be equipped at a time.

Some of the new weapons have a time limit that starts as soon as the shop is left. Some of the bombs can be used at any moment, but they are limited. On the other hand, the engines are permanent, though some of these actually makes Opa-Opa hard to control, as he moves too fast. The powerups can also be re-assigned by reentering the shop or touch a balloon with the word "Select" written on it. If the player loses a life, all of the upgrades are lost.

Fantasy Zone is originally an arcade game. It was later ported to the Sega Master System. The game eventually saw ports in other consoles and home computers, such as the MSX, Famicom/NES, X68000 and TurboGrafx-16. While all of these ports play similarly to the original version, some of them have several omissions and changes. For instance, the Master System version lacks some features such as the radar that indicates the location of the bases or a gauge that indicates how much energy left they have, and two of the bosses were replaced by original ones. Other versions have several changes as well.

There are actually two different versions for the Famicom/NES. The Famicom version is ported by Sunsoft, while the NES one is an unlicensed version by Tengen.

Fantasy Zone was later remade for the PlayStation 2, under the Sega Ages label. Although similar in appearance to the arcade version (even incorporating the original arcade sounds), this version used cel-shaded polygons instead of sprites and added some levels, including bonus levels in which the game takes the view behind Opa-Opa as he tries to collect coins from any boss that was defeated at the moment. The game mode is very similar to Space Harrier, or the unreleased Space Fantasy Zone. Also, even though "2UP" can be seen in the score display, this version only has a single player mode. This version was released in North America along other remade classic Sega titles in the compilation Sega Classics Collection.

On March 11, 2008, the Master System version saw a re-release in Japan for the Virtual Console. In Europe and Australia, it was released on April 11, 2008, and in North America, on April 14, 2008. In all territories, it was released at a price of 500 Wii Points.

On September 18 of the same year, Sega released another Sega Ages disc devoted to the series, title Fantasy Zone Complete Collection. This time, instead of a 3D remake, the disc compiled all of the games in the series, including spin-offs, and all of Sega's own ports. It also included a remake of Fantasy Zone II created for System 16 hardware. It was the final release in the Ages series.

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Source : Wikipedia