RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on May 20th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under baseball, reviews


The baseball season is in full swing and after a few years of my baseball fandom fading away, I've begun following the MLB and my beloved New York Yankees again for the 2016 season. The Yankees stink, but I'm also fortunate enough to live close to one of the nicest minor league parks in the country, that being the Dell Diamond of the Texas Rangers' farm club, the Round Rock Express. So as I rekindle my love for America's pastime, I've decided to take a look at some of the baseball games in my collection throughout the generations. Though I typically don't collect sports games, my game library is peppered with some of the better baseball titles from the past. I am by no means contending these to be the best baseball games from each generation, they are simply the ones I own because I happen to enjoy them quite a bit. Let's play ball!




Baseball Stars - NES - The arcade version of SNK's Baseball Stars is, as with most SNK games of the era, a masterpiece of color and sprite art. The NES version, despite the requisite downgrade in graphical quality, is one of the best baseball games on the NES. The gameplay is solid, the music is great, and Baseball Stars was one of the first sports games to use a save battery to make playing entire seasons a reality. It is also noteworthy for the ability to put female players on one's team using the custom roster option.


Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 - SNES - Most people will tell you that the Ken Griffey Jr series of games for the SNES are some of the best baseball titles of all time. Even within my SNES collection however, only one baseball title is available, and despite the name it is actually anything but a simulator. To put it simply, in this game, pitchers as well as batters have a finite number of Mario Kart style power-ups at their disposal known as "Ultra Swings" and "Ultra Pitches." These can do anything from making the ball travel in unpredictable patterns to making the ball become invisible, to making the ball hit the ground with such force that it stuns opposing players. This game features some great music and the Ultra's can be laugh out loud funny at times. This game is great for multiplayer.


World Series Baseball 2K2 - DC - As with most Sega sports games, the presentation here is top-notch for the most part. World Series Baseball 2K2 offers many modes of play that are now familiar fare for any sports simulation game with everything from exhibition to full 162 game seasons. The graphics are pretty smooth, but there seem to be a finite number of stock models for the payers themselves. I laughed when Derek Jeter came to bat sporting a beard. The commentary is great, but not nearly as good as its NFL2K brothers. At times, the commentary is inaccurate. On one easy single for example, the commentator exclaimed "That's extra bases!" What I loved about this game is that everything is quite intuitive. This is an early modern baseball simulation that still carries many arcade-like qualities like aiming the bat (or pitch) with the left stick.   


MLB Power-Pros - Wii - This long running Japanese series of games finally made it to North America in 2007 on the Wii and PS2. Despite the cartoonish character models and cel-shaded graphics, MLB Power Pros is by far the deepest baseball video game I have ever played. It boasts full MLB team and player licences. All the expected game modes are available, but there is also an amazingly deep manager mode where the player controls everything from what equipment the team uses, to which players train together, which can boost morale and lead to wins if done correctly. If you want a sports game with detailed RPG-esque systems, look no further. I enjoy playing the game on Wii because it does support motion controls and I find playing the home run derby mode that way to be incredibly fun. There is a sequel called MLB Power-Pros 2008 on the Wii, but I do not have that one in my collection yet. 


The BIGS - 360 - I remember playing a demo of this game when I first bought an XBox 360, and I thought it was really cool. I picked up a copy to review for this article, thinking it would round out my baseball collection for a modern console, but what I played was an exercise in frustration. The BIGS tries to channel what made the Midway sports titles like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz so much fun in the 90s. Realism is left by the wayside in lieu of cartoon-ish super powered action. The problem, for me at least, is that this game feels completely unbalanced. In a five inning game, I couldn't muster more than a single offensively, but I felt like every pitch I threw was knocked out of the park by the opposition. I probably need to spend more time with this game, but my initial impression is not great.   

I remember a time when I thought that all baseball games were bad. I have to believe this is based on the fact that my appreciation of the real life sport did not come to me until my early twenties. Looking back on these games, I can confidently say that there are some great titles out there. Having said that, which ones did I miss? What are some of your favorite baseball video games? Which ones should I add to my collection?



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Comments
 
Baseball Stars is great! Baseball is my favorite sport and has been for awhile. Its the one sport I still enjoy and can play at an amateur level. Not sure if you tried MLB the Show but it is quite good. Its more of a simulator than Baseball Simulator 2000. Thanks for this article, baseball gets called boring a lot these days, which in my opinion is not true
 
@Fokakis79: Funny I was debating whether to include The Show or The BIGS but I went with The BIGS LOL. I have played a few versions of The Show and indeed it is an awesome franchise.
 
Griffey on the N64 was the Baseball title I lost more time to out of any I own. Being able to play as my Rockies was amazing and with the roster as stacked as it was back in the late 90's, you really couldn't pick very many teams as good as the old Rockies were offensively. I also played a lot of Bad News Baseball on the NES. I still love Tecmo and all of their older sports titles because of the music and the cut scenes you got. (That crazy, Mr. T-lookin' fan at the end of the line of home run high fives still cracks me up)
 
Never played the N64 Griffey game. I only played the SNES one. The voice when you strike out still cracks me up on that one. May have to try out the N64 one.
 
I've never been a big sports game player, but I'll pick up a sports game every once in a while to see how things have changed over the years.  I vividly remember my uncle loaning me Baseball Stars when I was a kid and telling me about how he and his friends were obsessed with it in college. I learned all the secrets about creating teams and trading all the high max players and how to get all my pitchers past 90 Max.  To this day, it is still my favorite baseball game of all time.  I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I popped in Baseball Stars 2. I know it commands a high price (because of rarity), but it's terrible. They removed all of the elements that made the first game so great, most notably the RPG elements and I think also the ability to name players.

A few other baseball titles I enjoy on the NES are Little League Baseball, RBI Baseball, and even through it's softball, Dusty Diamond is a really odd and fun game that has players with varying special abilities. Great article!
 
I remember Super Baseball Simulator 1000 from when I was a kid.  Very fun and arcade-like baseball game.  It's definitely different from your standard baseball games.

Unless you're into sports, I think it's very easy for us to overlook most sports games and dismiss them as junk or fodder, but truthfully there can be a lot of fun had from these games.  I don't consider myself a sports fan as I don't watch any sports, but recently a friend of mine and I pulled NHL 2K3 for the Xbox off my shelf and started playing it, and it's some of the most fun I've had playing a game in a long time.  We started a season and play a few games of it every time he visits.

It was kind of an eye opening experience for me, and since then I've been wanting to pick up a modern baseball game.  I've been keeping my eye out for one of the recent The Show games, but I may have to try out some of the games in your article.
 
I've actually never played any of these games aside from The Bigs. I do remember not keeping it for very long, perhaps because I played it on Wii. That said, the pinnacle of MLB games is MVP Baseball 2005. The last EA publication in the franchise, it stands head and shoulders above the rest. It has such a following that rosters are continuously updated for the PC version, which for a physical hard disc of the game costs around $100 today. You can find the Xbox, Gamecube or PS2 versions on ebay with rosters of the day for $10-$20 and even then, still totally worth it.
 
@monkees19: I am fibbing. I do own World Series 2K2. That is a phenomenal game as well.
 
Good to know about MVP baseball,might have to check it out
 
I'm currently vacationing and staying with a friend, and a couple nights ago, he was showing me The Show '16 on his PS4.  It has an interesting career mode where you can create a player and play through ONLY the spots in the game where you control the character you created.  It can even approximate the name you give the character, so if you name it after yourself, the announcers will say your name each time you're at bat.  You can play through an entire season pretty quickly that way, as the console then just plays out the rest of the game quickly in the background, based on stats.  It's an interesting experience that I hadn't seen in a baseball game, and would be the kind of thing that might make me interested in playing one again.  Nice write-up, and it was good to see some diversity in your game selections - not just all classic or all modern, but a nice timeline of games with varying features.

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