I love baseball games. From Baseball Stars on the original Nintendo Entertainment System to MLB The Show on the current consoles, I would play the heck out of them. While lacking in the graphics and the detailed batter-pitcher matchups those console games offer, the Out of the Park franchise is the most detailed baseball simulation around. It isn’t a game that’s about the graphics; it’s about putting together and managing an organization in the most realistic manner possible.

I like to play the game from the GM position and simulate month by month, season after season. The game includes everything you can imagine. The June Draft, signing the draft picks, the trade deadline, waiver trades, roster expansion, hiring and firing of coaches, managers, and scouts, arbitration, free agency, Rule 5 draft, Top Prospect lists…I’m sure I’m forgetting many features. In fact, go HERE for a list of everything you need to know.

One of the more interesting features is the “Random Debut” mode, where you can play in a season that have the rosters randomly filled from the historical database. You may come up on the draft and find a young Mickey Mantle to add to your farm system, or perhaps you go for pitching and draft Greg Maddux and put him right in your rotation behind your ace, Bob Gibson. The possibilities are endless.

All these options, though, can be daunting, and OOTP allows you to customize the game to fit your style. For instance, I tend to turn injuries way down, if not off, because there are just so many of them on the default setting it becomes disruptive to my style of play. If you want the DH in the National League, change it. You want to get rid of the Rule 5 draft? Change it. For as many options there are, there are just as many tweaks you can make.

It’s not a perfect game; I’ll always have a bone to pick with player ratings. Coco Crisp, for example, came in at 4.5/5 stars; the same as Robinson Cano and better than the likes of Starlin Castro, Andrew McCutchen, and Hanley Ramirez. But these can also be changed. The forums are a place you can download user created rosters. These are people that have way too much time on their hands and have gone through and tweaked every player to their widely accepted ratings.

Another use of the forums is for online leagues. If the game is too easy for you, join an online league, get an organization, and play against 29 other people to try and take home that World Series Championship. I haven’t done it for this game yet, but it adds a whole new dimension to playing.

If you’re looking for a simulation style baseball game, nothing beats the Out of the Park Franchise.

While I’m a huge fan of the Out of the Park series, my time has grown limited. I no longer have the time to pour hours of time into running my own franchise…at least not without getting paid for it. That’s what I was so intrigued by iOOTP. It allows me to play whenever I have a spare minute without having to carry my laptop with me. Want to play a quick game on the toilet? You can do it with iOOTP. Had not I received both games for free, which is a nice added perk when you’re called on to review a product, I would have been looking to find out if iOOTP is worth the money in the iTunes store. The answer to that is a resounding YES.

Like its big brother, iOOTP comes pre-loaded with 2012 MLB rosters, the one difference being that the player pool in iOOTP doesn’t go as deep. It’s pre-loaded with 20 minor league players from the system. Basically it gives you guys like Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson and saves you from having to deal with less known players. As a result, there are no minor league “teams”, but rather a minor league roster of names. That’s was a bit of a downside in my initial opinion because of how much I enjoy watching players develop. At first it frustrated me immensely, but as I played through the first half of the 2012 season I found that I really didn’t miss it because of what I wanted from the game. I didn’t want it for a full blown franchise management tool. That was what I have OOTP 13 for. The game delivers on what it was created for, which is a fun sim baseball game with a lot of realistic results, including a dreadful Cubs record after the month of June.

If you’ve read this site awhile, you know my thoughts on OOTP. It’s, hands down, the best baseball simulation game on the market. iOOTP continues that tradition. I’d highly recommend picking up the game in the App Store. You won’t be disappointed.

Interested in picking up either or both of the games, head over to Out of the Park Developments website.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail