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Saturday, September 21, 2019

What’s the best WEIRD baseball video game ever?

First, a bit about the games. Base Wars came out first, and features a bunch of robots (a cyborg, flybot, mcycle, or tank) playing standard baseball ... if standard baseball included fisticuffs for every close force-out or put-out. There are literal base wars, and even if you were definitely out, if you win the ensuing brawl, you get the base anyway. Now that’s a concept a big man like myself can get behind.

That’s the main hook, but the game also has a great aesthetic that includes multiple types of robots. The pitching robots fire the ball out of an arm cannon. The catcher is a unicycle robot and it controls like it. The ball moves pretty quickly as, again, it’s robots throwing the ball.

Things get a little Too Real when you read the backstory for the game: it’s the 24th century and baseball team owners have grown tired of paying large player salaries, so they replaced them with robots. It has a tournament mode with some mild RPG elements, where you can upgrade your robots with better weaponry or simply repair them in advance of your next game.

As it came out on the NES, there isn’t a lot in the way of extra modes, but Base Wars is a very solid baseball that can be enjoyed by virtually anybody.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2019 at 12:53 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: video games

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: September 21, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5881549)
Super Baseball 2020.
   2. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 21, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5881560)
Matel's Super Challenge baseball. 2600. There was no shortstop. You could throw all kinds of junk. It was TTO baseball in 1981. Loved it. Still play on occasion. Only head to head 2 player. Lots of quirky baserunning glitches which led to bad calls on bases. Impossible to hit a triple, next to impossible to hit a double.
   3. Davo Posted: September 21, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5881590)
Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball, easy. Most of the players were human, but a few were creatures from various mythologies (like a wizard and an elf), the best of whom was a devil named Diablo who swung a spiked club in place of a bat.

The baseball fields were lots of fun too, including one adjacent to a school, where if you hit a homer that broke a classroom window, you were automatically out.
   4. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: September 21, 2019 at 05:47 PM (#5881677)
Davo is correct.
   5. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: September 21, 2019 at 06:24 PM (#5881708)
It wasn’t weird, just early technology but the amount of time I spent playing the Atari game “home run” compared with how good it actually was was definitely skewed.
   6. The Run Fairy Posted: September 21, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5881714)
Super Baseball 2020.

This is a good pick (especially with its "robots threw the World Series" backstory) and it's winning the poll on the bottom of the article, but Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 deserves a mention for being a SNES baseball game with a create-a-team mode, 165 game seasons with stat tracking and leaderboards (unheard of at the time), combined with the ability to have your pitcher transform into four pitchers throwing four pitches simultaneously or your batter have the ability to summon an earthquake that freezes all fielders whenever he hits a ground ball.
   7. KronicFatigue Posted: September 21, 2019 at 07:28 PM (#5881740)
It wasn’t weird, just early technology but the amount of time I spent playing the Atari game “home run” compared with how good it actually was was definitely skewed.

Loved that game, and if you go by that standard, there was one on the commodore 128 (well technically I think the game was for the 64) that I played to death. I'd even keep a notebook and assign real life Mets to the positions.

But I think the answer has to be Mario Superstar Baseball for the gamecube

You pick a captain, and I think that captain would have special powers that you could activate. Then you fielded the rest of your lineup between stars and scrubs. The stars were as you'd expect...luigi was fast, donkey kong was strong, etc. The scrubs were bad at everything except ok at one thing. There was some strategy involved in picking your team, where to play them, etc. And the fields were all different and created obstacles.

Good stuff
   8. Omineca Greg Posted: September 21, 2019 at 10:10 PM (#5881778)
I love Mario Superstar Baseball! It's great fun. So much crazy stuff can happen. The players all have different strengths and weaknesses, so the strategy is more subtle than you might expect. I know nobody here believes in it, but in this game all the players have compatibility factors, so if Mario is playing third and Bowser is playing first, expect a few more throwing errors than normal. Clubhouse chemistry is not a myth! It's a strange niche, because I think most people want to play a baseball game with real players; this has all the trappings of that, but applied to Nintendo characters.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: September 21, 2019 at 10:45 PM (#5881785)
there was a primitive one in the 1970s which wasn't far advanced from "Pong."

not sure of the brand, but it was a one-player game, I think, of basically little red blips.

I played it so often that eventually I figured out how to time my "swing" to hit a ton of home runs.

not so different than the guy who "gamed" the Press Your Luck TV game show's electronic patterns.

except he made more than 100 grand in a week and then died at a young age.

I like my version better.
   10. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 21, 2019 at 11:25 PM (#5881789)
Super Dan Brouthers

Grand Theft Buhner

Circle Me Q*Bert
   11. Mike A Posted: September 22, 2019 at 01:43 AM (#5881802)
It may not be the weirdest baseball game, but Winnie the Pooh Home Run Derby is the most evil. As Kotaku noted: "instead of the nice woodland creatures you know and love, they've been replaced with rocket-armed ür-beasts that would eat Randy Johnson with a side of honey."

I made it to Christopher Robin, a feat I rank up there with my beating of Mike Tyson in Punch-Out. But when I realized I would have to devote all available waking hours towards defeating Christopher, I bowed out, head hung in shame. Perhaps one day I will make it back to 100-Acre Woods to try my luck again, but that day will not be any time soon.
   12. JAHV Posted: September 22, 2019 at 01:51 AM (#5881803)
I played a ton of Base Wars as a kid. The unicycle robot was by far the best. You could just flip over and over again and there was very little the opponent could do. The cyborg stunk. I loved being able to upgrade my guys. I had a tank that pitched and literally rocketed the ball in there.
   13. winnipegwhip Posted: September 22, 2019 at 02:39 AM (#5881806)
My son just got MLB 2019 and has been playing the home run derby with various old time players. Mays, Gehrig, Ruth etc. I asked if Mickey Mantle was in the game and he stated he thought so. We then discussed that they should have a drinking video game with the likenesses of old-time players and see how much various old-timers could put away. Mantle, McDowell, Don Newcombe, Hack Wilson etc.

My son also stated that Ty Cobb was one of the sluggers available in the home run derby game. I then asked if Cap Anson was there explaining he was the first player to 3000 hits. My son was not sure. I would love the irony of Willie Mays facing Cap Anson in HR Derby based upon Ansons alleged historical quote.

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