By John Crowhurst

AGE OF UMPIRES

Who says no one cares about the role Umpires play in baseball? EASport's "The Age of Umpires" is a groundbreaking achievement in interactive officiating. Not only do you control the strike zone, but you also judge foul balls and home runs. But wait, there's more.... As umpire you control the flow of the game. You are a god on the field. You are judge, jury, and executioner. If a player or manager gets in your face for calling a bad pitch or bad play you can eject them from the game. But beware, unlike god, you must watch your stress level or you might just suffer a heart attack and fall over dead on home plate.

The game goes basically like this. First you choose an umpire that you control throughout the season. You have three choices. Select a hall of fame umpire, a current-era umpire, or customize your very own umpire. (Note: I preferred customizing my own umpire.) The height and weight choices range from 4'8'' to 8' tall and from 200lbs to 400lbs respectfully. Another wonderful feature is the ability to put your own face on the umpire. (Note: All you have to do is have a good frontal picture of yourself, hit the CREATE FACE button, and follow the instructions.) For added variety, an interesting feature is the constitution menu. If you choose HEALTHY, your umpire will take longer to fatigue and stress out. If you choose AVERAGE HEALTH, your umpire fatigues quicker and takes longer to recover. The POOR HEALTH selection is almost certain doom, but can be challenging to an experienced gamer. (Note: Although this feature can be deselected, I don't recommend it as it adds a sense of realism to the game). After you've chosen or created your umpire you are given your assignment as to where you are umpping.

Now this is where the fun really begins! Historically, umpires have not been the most healthy or athletic men in the world. In fact, most tend to be overweight and a number are quite obese. So your first job is to set up an exercise regimen and a healthy diet to keep you fit for the season. You can constantly monitor your STRESS, HEALTH, HAPPINESS, WEIGHT, and STRENGTH in the right hand corner LIFE MONITOR. (Word of caution: My first umpire died on the exercise bike so keep a close eye on your ump while he's in the gym!) The umpires have a tendency to eat too much and not exercise. If they eat everything in sight, their STRESS, HEALTH, and HAPPINESS start to dip. It is a struggle, but well worth it if you want a healthy umpire.

The next step is to...PLAY BALL... The actual ball and strike calling function of the game is pretty straightforward. I had the most fun calling balls strikes and strikes balls. It only takes about two batters before the manager is in your face. I actually ejected 20 players and 8 managers by the third inning of one game, but my STRESS level shot to the top and I died at home plate by the sixth inning. For my next adventure I created a 4'8'' 400lb umpire with excellent health. I couldn't keep him from eating and he wouldn't stay on an incline-walking machine for more than 5 seconds. It was amazing that he lasted the entire season. I liked this game, but wouldn't buy it. I would definitely copy it from someone who had bought it though. I give it 3 1/2 Bloody Swords.

Minimum Requirements: 166 MHz or faster Pentium multimedia PC with a 4-MB video card and hardware acceleration, or 200 MHz Pentium with a 2 MB video card running in software mode Microsoft Windows 95 or 98 32 MB RAM 100 MB hard disk space for swap file Microsoft mouse or compatible pointing device DirectX 7.0 compatible sound card

AGE OF UMPIRES
COMPANY
- EASPORTS STREET PRICE-39.99
RATING
- 3 1/2 Bloody Swords

NAZI ACCOUNTANT

It's not the tanks, planes and battleships that win the wars, it's the hard-working men pushing paper behind the scenes... or at least that's what the makers of "Nazi Accountant" want you to believe. In this game you start as a simple bookkeeper for the Third Reich and work your way up to Controller. At the first level you start in the bookkeeping department. It is your job to organize the payroll checks for all the soldiers. Be careful though, if your books don't balance it's off to the firing squad.

From bookkeeper it's off to Auditor. At this point you travel to different regions of Europe and Africa to audit the books of unscrupulous and corrupt commandants. The more inconsistencies you find the more bonus points you gain to help you move on to the next level. (Note: I found it in very confusing when auditing the concentration camps. Are skin lamps an asset or a liability? Do prisoners depreciate? Is digging a mass grave a capital expenditure that can be spread out over 3-5 years or is it a payroll issue?...And don't EVEN get me started on sorting through the books of Dr. Joseph Mengele...what a nightmare!!!) Once you gain the rank of Controller you report directly to Hitler himself. But beware, if he is in one of his moods you will find YOURSELF in one of the camps.

I found this to be an interesting game. Although the content matter is rather harsh , for an accounting simulation game, it is awesome. I don't think there has EVER been a game that shows the importance of keeping your finances straight, yet with enough action to keep most gamers happy. The simulations are accurate and it does prepare you for the real world as most CEOs, CFOs and department heads act like Nazis anyway. This is a must have for any accounting student or hobbiest. Reich it or Nazi, I give this game 4 Bloody Swords.

Minimum Requirements: 266 MHz or faster Pentium II multimedia PC with an 8-MB video card and hardware acceleration running in software mode Microsoft Windows 95 or 98 or 2000. 64 MB RAM 300 MB hard disk space for swap file. Microsoft mouse or compatible pointing device DirectX 7.0 compatible sound card

NAZI ACCOUNTANT
COMPANY
- BTS
STREET PRICE
-49.99
RATING- 4 Bloody Swords

What it all means...The Pctyrant Bloody Sword Rating System

  = Don't even put it on your computer or waste your time

  = Play it on a friends computer...don't load it on yours

  = Wait for a friend to buy it then burn a copy for yourself

  = Definetely buy it but wait for a good sale

  = Get it NOW, pay full price

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