Nintendo’s Baseball was actually a launch title for the NES way back in 1985. With unknown brands like Ice Climber and Gyromite it made perfect sense for Nintendo to have a representation of a popular sports game to attract sceptics to their new console. Predictably enough, it’s now horribly dated.
The gameplay itself just focuses on pitching and batting, the fielding is all done automatically. Assuming the CPU does its job and positions a fielder to catch the ball then control goes back to you to choose which of the bases to throw to. This lack of interaction feels a little strange, looking at it with the benefit of hindsight.
Thankfully the pitching is a more involved affair, you can do the usual fastballs and curveballs by using different combinations on the D-pad. Batting works nicely too, of course it’s a timing game.
Compared to the standard of Baseball games to come, this is a bit flat in retrospect. Aside from the usual single player against the CPU and two player modes there is not much else to speak of; there are no difficulty options for the CPU. There are only six teams, all unlicensed and generic, and there appear to be no real differences in how they perform. There are also no statistics after the match to analysis how your game went.
Summing it all up, Nintendo’s Baseball is not much fun to play nowadays. Every player is the same so any idea of strategy is thrown out of the window, you can’t get involved in the fielding and the gameplay moves at a very slow pace. The graphics and music have dated horribly in a way that obstructs the enjoyment of the game, unlike examples such as Excitebike that still have a bit of magic.
If you played this game to death as a kid then you might want to pick this up for a brief kick of nostalgia, but it’s not recommended as you will likely ruin your treasured childhood memories. It’s fair to say that this game has not aged like a fine wine; you’ll probably want to give this over-simplistic sports sim a miss.