Looking to nab a cool $1 million this tax season, but not quite sure how to go about it? Of course, the road to quick riches is lined with tribal councils, Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol envoys and risqué brushes with Meredith Vieira. But have you considered invoking your inner Roy Halladay, and pitching a perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K11? Starting Friday, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners of the game can compete for the sizable sum in the second annual $1 Million Perfect Game Competition.
“We paid off our house, gave away 10 percent and I got my wife a Boston terrier,” last year’s winner, Wade McGilberry of Semmes, Ala., tells EW. “In November, we finally got a new car. Well, it’s not new, it’s a 2009. But it’s new to us.”
Game developer 2K Sports made video game history last year when it bestowed McGilberry with the unprecedented competition’s cash prize. Things are a bit different this year, though: The start of the contest lines up with the kick-off of Major League Baseball season (March 31, with the contest opening 12:00 AM EST April 1), instead of the game’s release date. (The 2K11 edition has been out since March 8.) Also, the age limit was lowered from 18 to 13. This means that a middle schooler could potentially reel in seven figures playing video games, an event so rare and magnificent that it rivals this month’s supermoon in its potential scope.
Another big difference? 2K Sports is partnering with MLB to open the MLB Fan Cave — an incredibly sweet and well-equipped apartment in Greenwich Village, where two baseball ultra fans will live for the entire 2011 baseball season. (Not 24/7, though. State laws prohibit it, so they have another apartment nearby.) The catch: They have to watch every single baseball game (all 2,430 of ’em) in the Fan Cave. Inhabitants Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner, who were chosen out of over 10,000 applicants, will play MLB 2K11 at their leisure on permanent gaming stations that have been installed in their pad/prison cell. Other amenities include: a tattoo parlor, diner, DJ booth and more. The two will blog about their experiences on social media and MLB.com, and throw parties for athletes and celebs who swing by. Rubberneckers and voyeurs can head to 4th and Broadway in NYC to peer through the 14-foot windows, or gawk from home on the Cave’s official site.
“It allows us to ramp up the excitement for [the $1 Million Perfect Game Competition],” says Jason Argent, Vice President of Marketing at 2K Sports. “I give baseball a ton of credit for doing it. They haven’t done anything like that. That’s kind of more up our alley, so we figure it’s a great time to partner up.”
For those serious about curve ball-ing their way to the millie, reigning champ McGilberry offers the following advice: “Mix up your pitch selection. Don’t just pitch fast balls all the time. Move curve balls. Mix it up and just try to keep the batters guessing.” He also suggests avoid pitching directly over the plate, throwing weak pitches and paying attention to the “hot and cold” zones the game data provides.
In addition to the obvious financial benefit to winning the contest (and likely dropping in on the Fan Cave denizens), you might just star in a commercial, as McGilberry did with real-life perfect pitcher, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies. (Check it out below.) Gaming your way to millionairehood is a bit cushier than having your sea urchin wound peed on, don’tcha think?