Baseball

baseball

Baseball is lacklustre, at times boring, often frustrating and an overall badly dated video game experience whose importance lies not in lasting innovation, but rather in unique historical context.

Baseball

Japanese Title: ベースボール Bēsubōru
English Release: Baseball (NES, 1985)

Release Date: February 21, 1986 (Launch)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Genre: Sports
Product Code: FMC-BAS
Disk Format: Single-sided
Notable Credits: Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto.

Baseball was a launch game for both the Family Computer in 1983 and the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, so it’s only fitting that Nintendo repackaged the dependable sports simulation for the launch of the Famicom Disk System in 1986.

Baseball is of historic importance mostly for its 1985 NES release. The game was instrumental in turning Americans onto Nintendo of Americas weird grey box and was featured heavily when the machine was first marketed and demoed in New York City in October 1985.

As for the game itself, Baseball is a barebones but competent approximation of Americas favourite pass time. Baseball features one or two player game modes. There are 6 teams in total, but you are only able to choose from 5 as the computer randomly selects one of the teams. Far from the days of sports league licensing, the teams in the Disk System version closely resemble teams in the Japanese Central League.

The outfield, always a deal-breaker for antiquated video game baseball, is mercifully AI controlled; up until the ball is fielded, at which point The player controls the throw to one of the four bases. The pitching shows remarkable layers of depth, using the D pad to huck everything from curves to fast balls. Likewise, there is more strategy to the batting that just swinging wildly at every pitch. Proper positioning in the batters box can be the difference between a pop fly foul and a home run.

Baseball is lacklustre, at times boring, often frustrating and an overall badly dated video game experience whose importance lies not in lasting innovation, but rather in unique historical context.

Interestingly, the Disk System version of baseball is the same version released in North America during the Nintendo Entertainment Systems launch in 1985. Both versions of the game share the same title screen copyright year; 1984. There are no disernable differences between the original 1983 Famicom release of Baseball and the later versions save for what we can only assume are bug fixes and programming tweaks.