Platform: Nintendo NES / Famicom
Controller: Default controller of the console.
The videogame crash of the 80s left a void in North America that was not present in other parts of the world, in part because it was filled by the 8bit computers. So, when a new console arrived in North America it came from the Far East and it was more than welcome.
In videogames, every launch lineup had to include sports titles. In the case of the north american market, baseball ⚾ was more than mandatory.
The videogame has decent graphics, but unlike other videogames at the time, it drops the idea of seeing all the field at the same time. Now it implements two views: one where it only includes the infield when the batter is at the plate, and other of all the field when the ball is in game.
However, the view of all the field has its issues when trying to catch a flyball, because it’s really hard to judge if an infielder is closer to the ball looking for getting the out than an outfielder.
Specially if we consider that the fielders move automatically. Once a fielder has the ball, it can throw the ball to any base using the standard schema.
Pitching is not difficult, although the curveballs and the different speeds between different pitches is not as sharp as in other videogames. But, at least different pitches are present in this videogame, inexplicably absent in others.
Batting is quite easy, because I was able to hit a couple of homeruns, and batting is my nemesis in these games. The other option is that the field is really small. Something common at the time in real-life baseball fields.
Running bases, and stealing them is a bit more complicted, and judging a slow pitch (ideal for attempting to steal a base) is a bit hard to do. Consider also that these conditions also apply to the other team.
The japanese version has some differences when compared to the one we knew in North American, this includes text in japanese, different teams, and one of the most notorious, is that the speeds are shown in metrical system, used in Japan, instead of the imperial one, used in USA.
Depending the version, are the teams and colors available to the videogamer. The first letter of the team mascot is the one used to distinguish the teams, I suppose this is to avoid a problem with rights of using the real names. In the Japan version, all of the teams are from the Central League, meanwhile in the american version, there a 3 teams from the American League and 3 from the National League.
|C – Hiroshima Toyo Carp|
|D – Chunichi Dragons|
|G – Yomiuri Giants|
|S – Yakult Swallows|
|T – Hanshin Tigers|
|W -Yokohama Taiyo Whales|
|United States 🇺🇸|
|A – California Angels|
|C – Saint Louis Cardinals|
|D – Los Angeles Dodgers|
|P – Philadelphia Phillies|
|R – Kansas City Royals|
|Y – New York Yankees|
Famicom Disk System
There was a port to the disk console of Nintendo, but I did not found significant differences when compared to the japanese version.
Nintendo Game Boy
After conquering the home console market with the NES, Nintendo developed a second invasion with handheld gaming. Specifically, with the GameBoy. This handheld arrived at North America in 1989, being included in the launch lineup a Baseball title.
But… I don’t know if this game could be considered a direct port of the NES videogame. It’s a murky deal at best. A generic game of baseball, using the name of the sport in the title, and made by the same company, but with six years between the two games. Add that there are a few significant differences, it’s a bit hard to determine if the GameBoy game is a port of the NES one.
The first difference is that only two teams are available: W-Bears and R-Eagles. Also you cn choose between mode USA or mode Japan, which only affects the name of the players. Consider that in mode USA, Mario and Luigi are the star pitchers.
The control schema, being the standard defacto is the same for batting and fielding. However, the controls for pitching are different: With A button you start the pitching sequence, then press B along with the direction to indicate if there is a slow ball (up), fast ball (down) or curve ball (either left or right). Pressing B button repeatedly increases the effect of the selected pitch being faster, slower or a more sharp curve.
If you’re interesed, in this link you can see how looks the game when played in a Game Boy Color.
It’s interesting that this videogame, even if there were no more sequels made by Nintendo, showed what was capable of, in videogames of baseball.
This game open the gates for following titles, which became true classics. This videogame, even if not my favorite for this console, is really good enough to pick a bit of curiosity on playing baseball videogames.
Remember that in the land of the Rising Sun, it’s a sport where the fanbase lives it with a passion not totally copied in other countries. So, it launched a fierce competition between developers for creating quality baseball videogames.
In a funny twist, my hometown was back then, considered a baseball town, and this particular game was not among the first titles to arrive there.
Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.
Console Icons taken from Retroarch.