|ESPN.com: The Gamer||[Print without images]|
What's the toughest aspect of being an announcer in a sports video game?
For "MLB 11 The Show's" Eric Karros, it's the lack of visuals.
"Without having any footage to look at, I need to make up the situation or play it in my mind," Karros tells me over the phone from Sony's San Diego studio. "I'd draw on a an experience from a Dodger/Giants game I was calling where a certain situation happened, or maybe I'd even draw on an experience from when I played ... whether it's me kicking a ball or making an overthrow or hitting a home run, it's about getting that excitement into the game."
"I'm describing plays and doing what an analyst would do in the booth. I'm describing the play, but trying to describe a play you're not actually looking at, that's the challenging part of the job. I never, never imagined that after so many hours in the booth, my voice would get so raspy and start to crack. I have a greater appreciation now for how many hours everyone spends working on the game."
Karros is joined by Matt Vasgersian and Dave Campbell in the booth, and the three deliver some memorable lines throughout the game, including a dig at "MLB 2K11" cover boy Roy Halladay where Karros quips after a close pitch: "Maybe he'd get that call, but I think he's on the cover of the wrong game."
Sony reached out to Karros to join the game early on in development, hoping he could replace Rex Hudler as the game's analyst. "I came in and interviewed for the job and read some lines for the team, then they ended up offering me the opportunity," explains Karros.
And while he's not much of a gamer these days (Karros says he peaked at "Space Invaders"), he does have a great appreciation for "The Show" as a former player.
Adds Karros: "I played the game, and now I'm watching it and how realistic it is and the way Sony is able to replicate the movements is just getting better and better. It's almost kind of scary how good this game has become. What's neat to me is that I used to be in the video games as a player. I used to watch my character and check out the way I played. I always wanted to checkout my stats and see if I was as bad in the video game as I was in real life. And at the time, I was blown away by the movements and the way the game looked, but that was night and day compared to this game and how realistic they made things.
"Now I'm in the game as an announcer and I get to see behind the scenes of how the game is put together. The evolution of baseball video games over the last ten years just blows me away. 'MLB 11' is so realistic, it pretty much makes all the older games obsolete."