Sports Game of the Year 2012

Ahead of their time.

Kings of the Cosmos.

Like runner-up New Star Soccer, the winner of this year’s Pocket Tactics Sports Game of the Year is a title that only recently made the jump to mobile after enjoying a long career on PCs and Macs.

In a way, it is the epitome of a Pocket Tactics game – proof that a satisfying hardcore gaming experience can be had on a mobile device, sacrificing little of the complexity from its PC roots.

After the jump, the Sports Game of the Year.

The Pocket Tactics Sports Game of the Year for 2012 is iOOTP Baseball 2012.

Best played with Bull Durham on in the background.

Welcome to the big leagues.

iOOTP is more than a baseball sim. It’s like Populous for baseball – a baseball world-builder. iOOTP puts you into a baseball organization’s front office as the team’s GM: drafting, trading, signing and firing players – real ones, too, because iOOTP features real, up-to-date rosters. If you want to push the camera in a little more, you can be the manager, making tactical calls for every single pitch.

But it’s in pulling the camera back that iOOTP really excels. You can create entirely fictional leagues with a number of teams and a league stucture that you define. You can set that league in any year in baseball’s history, and iOOTP will use historical data to make that league play realistically. It is an extraordinary sandbox for baseball nuts – if you’ve ever bought a Bill James book and don’t own iOOTP, you don’t know what you’re missing.

In a year of wonderfully exciting sports games (New Star Soccer, Big Cup Cricket, and Fluid Soccer, just to name a few) iOOTP stands out with a stately maturity and sophistication that only Football Manager can match – though that franchise neglected to release an iOS or Android game this year.

iOOTP is the mobile arm of its PC and Mac big brother, a game that is deeper, but not as much as you might think. There’s a lot of meat on iOOTP, and the inevitable 2013 edition will almost certainly be a contender for this spot next year.

For all the games recognized in the Pocket Tactics Best of 2012 Awards, visit the awards index page.