Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Money Wasted on this not Horrible but not Good Game #5: Baseball

It was a cold Christmas morning in 1987 and I awoke to the greatest gift possible for a twelve year old - a Nintendo Entertainment System.   My nirvana faded as I became aghast when I noticed that the NES my parents had picked was the R.O.B. the Robot edition that came with R.O.B., the Zapper, Gyromite, and Duck Hunt.  No Super Mario Bros. was included in this package.  In fact, I had never owned my own copy of Super Mario Bros. until nearly two decades later when I re-bought the Nintendo and amassed a new library.

What my parents did pick out instead as an "additional" game was Baseball.  Not Metroid, Kid Icarus, or Zelda but Baseball.  Their heart was in the right place.  They knew as much about video games as I know about Taco Bell's meat substitutes but they did know that I was a baseball fan (in my younger days) so they figured it was a safe bet.  And, to be honest, it was.  I liked the game when I was a kid.  I didn't have much choice seeing as Gyromite isn't even a game and Duck Hunt, while fun, gets a little old after awhile.

It would be no secret that after I had started to pick up other carts like Castlevania, Metroid, Rygar, Contra, Double Dragon, and the like that Baseball didn't see much time in my NES.  I believe at one point Tag Team Wrestling may have even seen more play time.  So, when I happened to be going through storage this weekend and came across some games I picked up a good ten years ago, I was excited to see that Baseball was included.  I was getting prepped for some nostalgic bliss.

I cleaned it up and threw into the NES.  It all came back to me instantly - the music, the word baseball made up of...wait for it...baseballs (very clever Nintendo).

Now, before anyone gets all crazy, I do realize that this was a launch title, it is a simple baseball game where strategy doesn't play a big role, and even admitted that I had a fond memory of the game in my youth.  I just wished that I would have left it in my memory instead of playing it again. 

I don't like to nitpick (hold back your laughter) but why didn't they give the teams names (I'm looking at you too 10-Yard Fight)?  I don't think that it would have taken too much programming prowess to pull this off and it certainly wouldn't have inflated the cart to exceed the maximum storage space, so why not just do it?  Anyway, I chose to be R (I could have been A, C, D, P, or Y as well) and decided to play against P.

The game started and it didn't look too bad.  It was the classic early NES title graphics and it didn't make me feel any ill will towards it.  I could even get past the whole "letters for team names" thing. 

The sounds were the classic NES beeps and boops.  Nothing remotely realistic to baseball but nothing outside of what was normal for that time period.  Thus far, doing ok. 

Then I started to play it and I remembered why I stopped playing it in my pre-teen years.  Not that it was horrible, hence the title, but it was below average in terms of game play.  It was maddening more than anything.  Whenever the computer would get a base hit, it would be traveling at basically the same speed as my infielders and they would just run next to it.  That happened repeatedly throughout the game.  The batting and hitting were simple yet inconsistent.  It just had some serious control flaws and being able to control the game you are playing is kind of important.

On top of which, it was boring.  Perhaps they were trying to give that "real baseball feel" but the game just dragged.  Did the pitcher need to shake off so many pitches each and every pitch?  Did the computer have to throw to the first baseman pretty much every time I got on base?  I hadn't stole the whole game, why would I choose to now? 

Overall, not a horrible game but not a good game either.  Graphics: ok for the time.  Sound: ditto.  Gameplay: sucks.  Realism: it is as boring as real baseball but not too much like real baseball.

Play it on Virtual NES:

More Money Wasted Reviews:
- Money Wasted on this Horrible Game #4: Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing
- Money Wasted on this Horrible Game #3: Platoon
- Money Wasted on this Horrible Game #2: Championship Bowling  
- Money Wasted on this Horrible Game #1: 10-Yard-Fight


  1. May I recommend a friend and a six-pack to make this game amazing again?

    I'm with you, the game's simple as hell, and there's a lot of flaws... but I'll be darned if it doesn't take me back in time.

  2. If I could rewind the clock, I would have left it in the closet. Damn you nostalgic curiosity!