Box Score: The Long Goodbye

Even better, The BIGS was easy to introduce to friends. Unlike many games in the sports genre, it was simple to get even the most casual gamer up to speed and having fun quickly, with the added benefit of a relatively short time investment compared to the hour-or-more needed for a traditional baseball video game.

Unfortunately, for reasons I’ve never really grasped, the series didn’t take off. Despite glowing reviews, sales were mediocre at best, and by 2010 the writing was on the wall at 2K Sports that baseball was on its way out the door the minute Take-Two would legally be able to do so.

So The BIGS was scattered to the wind, never to come back for a triumphant console generation-closing salvo that could have capped a powerful trilogy of baseball games.

For kicks, I put The BIGS 2 back in my 360 the past couple of days, and picked up where I left off. Time has been kind to the game, as it looks and plays just as great today as it did three years ago. I also remember why I left off where I did, near the beginning of the Legendary Team challenges that await after I beat the standard Career Mode; it’s almost impossible to beat teams made up of Hall of Famers. Even so, I smiled as I was playing it. A lot.

Whenever a sports division shuts its doors, there are many losses. Obviously, the team of MLB 2K designers and developers – a group that was criminally under-supported during the last years of the game’s life – are the biggest losers, as they’ll be searching for employment in a staggeringly difficult environment. Consumers suffer too, as the loss of yet another sports franchise further eliminates choice and competition.

More than anything to me, though, the end of Take-Two’s relationship with Major League Baseball means that the last, best full-fledged arcade sports franchise disappears. So long, BIGS; thanks for the memories.