Release Date: October 1985
Our second game in the series is Nintendo’s Baseball. My overall impression of this game is not entirely positive. I have the knowledge of plenty of other better baseball games on NES, so it’s not entirely fair. Baseball was designed by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, which makes me sad that I don’t really care for it.
First off, it’s baseball. You bat on offense, you pitch and field on defense. The batting is bare bones. You can move around a little bit in the batters box and you can swing. According to the manual, the pitching allows for five pitches, a fastball, a change up, a curve ball, a screwball, and a medium speed pitch. I didn’t notice much difference among the pitches other than the fastball and change up. The pitching is annoying because you have to wait for the pitcher to do a couple little base checking animations most of the time. I’d rather just pitch.
I gave up a handful of runs in the first inning while I was getting acclimated to the controls. I really hate the fielding because you don’t control the players. The AI controls them and poorly. The fielders missed a ton of pop ups and stopped moving on the transition from infield to outfield. That made it feel out of my hands when the computer could get hits.
On the offense side of things, my hits were typically weak blips to the pitcher. I’ll chalk that up to swinging at everything, but when it’s right down the middle, you swing! Another thing that sucked was if I popped up, the runner would stop before reaching first base. I should be able to run through, because more often than not, they wouldn’t catch the ball, causing a single instead of a double.
The base running controls in general were bad, as well. The timing of being able to run through first base is behind what I expected. I would press the button to run to second and because the runner hadn’t gone past first, he just stayed there. That cost me a couple bases throughout the game.
The baseball formula was improved on many, many times over the course of the NES. I’m looking forward to revisiting some of them. At least there was an okayish baseball game for the launch of the NES in the US.
I don’t have any problems with the graphics. For 1985, they’re just fine. The players are identical, but why expect any different. You have umpires, a pixel crowd, and a scoreboard. The baseball diamond looks right. It does what it should.
Unremarkable. The tune you get on the title screen makes me think that AJPW is about to come on the TV. The bleeps and bloops are not used wonderfully, but they’re definitely par for the time period.
I mean, it’s baseball, and that’s not particularly hard to translate to video games, but the pitching is way too simple. The fielding is not done by the player. The batting is alright, but that’s really the hardest part of baseball to mess up.
I think the difficulty is average. You pick up the general controls pretty quickly, but the finer points of base running takes a little while longer to master. I can see learning the ins and outs of the AI fairly quickly, leading to big wins.
Fun Factor: 1.0
I didn’t really have much fun with this one. I would probably be fine with it in 1985, but not in 2021.
Overall Grade: 1.6
It’s baseball, but it’s not baseball done great or even particularly well. I don’t fault it too much, because it’s a launch title, but it could do a whole lot more. It deserves the C- it receives.