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Gamers go up to bat, with Web sites loaded

Apr 11,2006
Video game fans are celebrating the start of Korea's professional baseball season, which began last Saturday, in their own way. Though absent the noise of crowds, banging of thunder sticks and fresh spring breeze, the digital-friendly community can find plenty of updates on online versions of the American game.
It also helps that last weekend the country was doused with a bad case of yellow sand ― a good reason to stay indoors and pummel away at a keyboard.
Magumagu, available on the game portal Web site Netmarble (http://netmarble.net), added a number of new features to its game, in which a player can choose to run one of Korea’s professional baseball teams, including defunct teams such as the OB Bears or Haitai Tigers. The game only recently was made available for free online.
The game also includes a trading-card system, incorporating the traditional baseball card idea into online games. Basically, players have sets of cards that represent different items, athletes on different teams, and various "moves" that one can make. These cards can be swapped with other players.
On the outfield, the artificial intelligence has upgraded so that you can adjust the speed of your runner between the bases.
Also online is Shinyagoo (http://nbb. hanbiton.com), developed by Neople. The game features some new missions with “item rewards.” The new server also has a semi-automatic mode for players who aren’t very good at timing their mouse-click “swings” with the arrival of the pitcher’s ball. These days, the game has about 2.5 million players online at any time, so you’ll find plenty of friends.
Slightly different from actual characters that play baseball, Uzoo Fantasy Pro Baseball (http://fantasy.uzoo.net) is a statistical simulation baseball game in its open beta service. A game that originated in the United States in the early 1970s, one can create a “dream team” that competes with others ― the results of the games of which are based on the players' stats. Uzoo's database includes about 600 Korean pro baseball players in the eight professional teams.
On the mobile platform, Gamevil offers 2006 Pro Baseball, which one can download to a mobile phone. Other baseball games available on handsets include Com2us Pro Baseball 2 and 2006 Homerun King.
Although digital baseball is played at home, it’s not as much of a home-body activity as it used to be, thanks to the interaction that is involved in its online characteristics. Better yet, the games even have fast-talking commentators and cyber cheerleaders ― the latter of which spice up the screen with entertaining wiggles and waves.


by Wohn Dong-hee


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