NEW YORK — Do you like your celebrity gaming pitchmen to know their games?
The world's most famous golfer passed the test on Tuesday during a launch event for "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08." After standing on a deck four stories in the air so he could drive balls and demonstrate trick shots down the length of a pier, the golfer sat down with MTV News to talk about his game and prove he knows his stuff.
"I play 'Madden,' I play '[NCAA] Football,' 'Bond' occasionally, 'SOCOM,' " he rattled off. Two years ago, he told MTV News he'd been staying up at night playing "Resident Evil 4" alongside his wife, with the lights out. His update: "I haven't played 'Resident Evil' in a while, so I finished the game and off to the next challenge." He played on medium difficulty. Not easy mode? "That's not a question."
Besides talking gamer habits, Woods used the Tuesday event to highlight two features in this year's Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of his new game. Players can use a USB camera to snap a photo of themselves so they can be included in the game, which evolved from similar technology used in Sony's EyeToy series. The 360 and PS3 editions of the new game also include GamerNet, a sort of Tiger-style YouTube that will let players swap videos of their best and oddest performances in the game.
Tiger said he is constantly thinking up new ideas for the games. "You always have ideas," he said. "A lot of time the technology isn't there yet. For example, galleries. First you want to have them in there, and then to interact with a certain shot that will send someone down. That technology wasn't available when I did my first video game in '99. Obviously as time goes on, some of your ideas can come to life." How does he let EA know what he wants next? "You basically call them and tell them you have an idea."
He would like the next installment of the game to have a more involved weather system that alters course conditions faster than the weather does in real life, to account for the fact that a gamer can get through 18 holes in an hour.
It's worth noting that on Tuesday, the first thing Woods did when handed an MTV News microphone is swing it like a golf club — from a seated position. The man is always practicing. And it leads to a question: What does he think of swinging that Wii controller to play his franchise game?
"I didn't quite understand it," he said. "When I first started learning how to do it, it became pretty exciting." He said he's played it a lot at home since and, thankfully, not managed to dent any furniture. He uses the wrist strap, of course. It's too dangerous for him not to. "My hands sweat a lot, naturally — I don't know why they sweat a lot — so it wouldn't be good."
Tiger is running low on time to play these days. "I still play as much as I possibly can, but with the addition of our baby girl [and] duties around the house, the only times I ever get to play is when she's asleep. Unfortunately that's not enough." He said he has a PSP to keep him occupied when he flies to other countries.
He plays games online but not as frequently as a hard-core player. He has no time for "World of Warcraft." His online gaming usually involves shooters. He plays "SOCOM" with friends and said he did a lot of co-op with the PS3 launch title "Resistance: Fall of Man." "We always win," he said. "It will take hours, but we get there."
When he talks to the press at events like Tuesday's, Woods doesn't lament much about his fame. But he does say he misses anonymity. Playing online games against strangers would seem to let him get some of that back, but he said he rarely games with people he doesn't know. "I've only done it a few times, and haven't done it on the golf because I'm afraid to embarrass myself. I'm sure some 8-year-old kid will just whup on me. I really wouldn't take that too well."
Still, here's a clue to spot Tiger if ever does go online with his own game. He likes to dabble with his player character. "Usually it's a big fat guy with a big old goatee and a big old afro. That's usually my man. You're just trying to be as ridiculous as possible."
"Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08" is available for Mac, PC, PS3, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and Wii.
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