(NES)

Baseball (NES)

Game Review

Baseball Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Lee Meyer

Not quite a grand slam

Originally released alongside the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System in the 1980s, Nintendo's Baseball is one of several simple, lean titles that, while primitive and slow by today's standards, still show a special Nintendo pedigree. Ideally these games would be released as a compilation; the content in Baseball, Pinball and the other single-word-title sports games are too sparse to justify $4.99 USD for each. But for gamers who grew up with the NES or want to experience part of the era that saved the games industry, there are many worse games than Baseball.

Baseball contains six teams to choose from, but the team you choose will not affect gameplay at all. In North America, the team names are designated with letters. "D," for example, represents the Dodgers, while "Y" represents the Yankees. Clearly released before the MLB began licensing games, it's still a clever touch that players can appreciate. In single player, you alternate between batting against the CPU and pitching. Most modern strategies are absent here; hit the ball with the correct timing and hopefully you'll get to the base, and pitch in hopes of getting the batter out. When pitching, the AI-controlled fielders run to get the ball, but it's up to the player to throw the ball to the correct base to get the team out. It's tricky, and there's very little instruction; reading the digital manual is quite useful in this instance. Home runs are accompanied by some flashy fanfare and music, but there's very little animation.

There is some strategy when pitching. Pitchers can use the D-pad to determine if they'd like to throw a fastball, a slow ball or a regular pitch. The game rules are largely accurate for baseball, but every so often the game determines that a hit is fair when it's clearly foul. Not being able to directly control fielders is frustrating, meanwhile, especially when the AI-controlled batter is running all three bases while a fielder slowly jogs to get the ball from the side. In a two-player game, this feels less cheap, considering both players are dealing with the same learning curve and not having to contend with the computer. Still, when hitting a home run or getting the other team out, players will be satisfied and want to keep playing.

The music is as primitive as one would expect from an NES launch game, and the graphics are extremely simple. Playing on the GamePad is satisfying, though, thanks to the compact screen and ability to save at any time. And trust us — after a few frustrating runs thanks to slow AI, you'll definitely wan to consider utilising the Virtual Console restore points.

Conclusion

Even though Baseball is a simple, primitive title, it still feels like a Nintendo title. While, slow, the game is by no means broken; players will likely be satisfied when they finally get the hang of throwing the ball to basemen and gaining points over the other team. It's better as a two-player experience, and the price is a little steep for such a primitive game, but if you absolutely love sports and want to see Nintendo's early take on them, Baseball is hardly the worst way to go.

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User Comments (22)

Neram

#2

Neram said:

That's the thing about Nintendo's early sports games, even if they aren't notable or stand out today, back then it was hard to come by sports games that even functioned properly but theirs always had a certain level of quality you'd expect from Nintendo. The games are totally playable.

bezerker99

#3

bezerker99 said:

This game could often be found inside my NES back in the day. I have played many innings with this game over the years. It's not a bad game of baseball.

Cohort

#4

Cohort said:

"Nintendo acknowledges lack of virtual console titles", You don't say?

Shiryu

#5

Shiryu said:

Ha d a lot of fun alone and with friends with this one. It does exactly what the title says and does it very well indeed. Yet nothing comes close to the original NES "Ice hockey"! Where is that one , Ninty?

jasonbra

#6

jasonbra said:

For $5 I can easily get an original copy. Nintendo really needs to fix their pricing for downloadable games.

Such a huge opportunity for them being completely wasted. They should put out all of their NES, SNES and N64 games immediately. Charge like $5-10/month for all access. Would make them a killing.

QBertFarnsworth

#7

QBertFarnsworth said:

@jasonbra I agree. I have no problem paying $5 for something like Super Mario 3. You are owning one of gaming's masterpieces. Nobody, not the biggest NES fans, not the biggest baseball fans, has ever said that "Baseball" is their favorite NES game. Anybody who owned baseball and maybe enjoyed it immediately renounced their love as soon as RBI Baseball, Bases Loaded, Tecmo Baseball, or Baseball Stars came out.

There should be a section of free to play games that you can mess around with for 10 minutes here or there, and it should include games like this, Ice Hockey and other bare-boned experiences.

Paperluigi

#10

Paperluigi said:

I really dont know why Nintendo bothers releasing games like this on the WiiU. GameCube and N64 games please, Im not even going to look at baseball on the eshop.

Tryken

#15

Tryken said:

I always preferred Bases Loaded to this title. Something about Bases Loaded felt more like a "baseball game" than Baseball. Don't get me wrong, I've played it, and it's functional no doubt, but Bases Loaded 1-3 kept me pretty entertained for my baseball itch. Now if only they'd release a Mario Sluggers for Wii U.

Captain_Gonru

#16

Captain_Gonru said:

@BulbasaurusRex No. That was "Hardball" for the Commodore 64, though I think the sound effects were from one of the Atari-era baseball games.
And put me down for a vote for Bases Loaded as well. I really liked Roger Clemens Baseball, too, though I imagine between licensing and steroids, it probably would never happen.

KeeperBvK

#18

KeeperBvK said:

The old review was way more spot-on in my opinion. This game's a boring trainwreck.

PixelPerfect

#20

PixelPerfect said:

Why do we have to suffer through all these dud titles again just like we did with the original Wii?

Beau_Skunk

#21

Beau_Skunk said:

I'm amazed this review & score was much more favorable then the ones for "Balloon Fight" & "Balloon Kid." I thought those were a much better games then NES-"Baseball" personally. (At least you had control over your character.)

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