Remember when Topps cards appeared on the bottom of Hostess boxes or were included in boxes of cereal? Well, in 2003, Post teamed up with Upper Deck, RealOne Networks, America Online, and EA Sports to bring collectors a look into the "21st Century Collection." What did these new-fangled collections come on? CD-ROM, of course!
I recently found a stash of the discs in a pile of other ancient games and CD's, and realized I never completed the set. Heck, I'm not sure until today I even ever opened a single disc. I did not have AL Central in my stash, so I found a seller on eBay, bid and bought it.
There were six discs in all, one for each division. According to the promo video that plays, if you collected all six discs you could order a real set of cards from UD. More on that in a moment.
Surprisingly, the CDs still play on a Windows 7 machine, though there are some weird glitches. If you plan to pick these up, I suggest you run them in the Windows XP Mode download from Microsoft. The install puts RealOne on your computer if you don't already have RealPlayer. Not sure what it does if you *do* have RealPlayer already.
The promotion was officially called "Three Ways to Score" and featured the title screen below. One could run a demo of EA Sports MVP 2003 Home Run game where you face off against another player (human or computer) and you have to hit enough home runs to accumulate 5,280 feet (a mile). I played as Jim Thome against the computer as Sammy Sosa. Let's just say I have to practice on timing.
The other options from the title screen are to watch "Huge Home Runs" - a video collection featuring homers from the teams featured on the particular disc. You could also view you virtual trading cards. You may recall my post about CyberAction collectible trading cards. These were the the-modern day version. We'll see those in a bit.
Right now, check out the screenshot from the "Huge Home Runs" video of the Indians. The video can be played full screen, but by today's standards, the quality doesn't even rival YouTube low quality. It's a bit rough to watch outside of the default size (my guess about 320x240 maybe). You can't see it in my screenshot, but the bottom half of the layout has icons of the teams to choose from. When you pick one for the first time, the program copies the videos to your computer.
The last option on the title screen is to view your collection. This actually two parts to it: the virtual cards and a checklist system for UD's MVP series for 2002. Why? I have no idea. The cool thing, though, about the checklist: you get a front and back view of each card.
Next, we get to the virtual cards. First, we see a checklist of the cards available on THIS disc. You have to insert the right CD to view the right cards. That is sooo 2003... So is telling people to click on the HIGHLIGHTED names. Because, you know, we were so dumb in '03 we didn't understand hyperlinks and all that fancy web-page stuff.
The cards themselves are actually kinda cool, for digital cards that is. Again, the resolution of today's computers make reading these a bit rough. However, you get the general idea:
I will have to see if I can find the actual card that goes along with Thome's virtual one. I don't think I ever knew they had physical counterparts. That's actually a very clever idea, Upper Deck.
Since I am only missing #'s 3 and 5, I may hit the 'Bay and snag them up - or a full set, probably cheaper.