In this episode we take a look at Baseball, a 1983 arcade game based on... you guessed it: baseball.
IS IT STILL FUN?
For an NES launch title, Baseball offers an impressive level of depth. Just don’t expect to learn the controls without taking a good look at the manual. After you’ve done your reading, you have plenty of options while playing. It does a pretty good job of simulating the sport. If you can do it in real baseball, there’s a good chance you can do it in this game... with one glaring exception: you cannot field the ball! Instead you’ll have to watch as the painfully slow A.I. controlled fielders chase after it. If you are not a baseball fan, you probably won’t have a great time with this game. If you are a baseball fan, then you might have fun for a bit (particularly if you are playing against a friend) but don’t expect to have the time of your life.
IS IT STILL PLAYABLE?
Functionally, yes it’s playable. You might be a bit frustrated at times due to the lack of fielding, but other than that the controls work pretty well once you get the hang of them. As far as accessibility, you have quite a few options. In addition to the NES cartridge, it was also released on the Gameboy, GBA E-reader, and on the Wii and 3DS virtual console. It also appears as a bonus game in Animal Crossing for the GameCube. If you happen to have this game kicking around you likely won’t regret having a go, but it’s probably not worth going out of your way to find.
IS IT STILL IMPORTANT?
As a launch game, it lays the groundwork for future baseball games. If nothing else it proves that baseball is a sport that can be successfully made into a functioning video game. While there’s no doubt that later games did it better, Baseball lays a strong foundation.
THE VERDICT: Though Baseball provides some moderate entertainment, it’s certainly not enough to make our list of ESSENTIAL NES games. It’s not a bad game by any means, but if you want to skip this one, you won’t be missing out on too much.