Baseball – NES 1985
I can’t believe that I’m forced to confess something so early on in this entry. Before I receive flack for this, let me make it clear – Baseball Stars was the quintessential baseball experience on the NES. In fact, some of my friends (Shout out to Bondo) still play it today. Unfortunately, I never experienced Baseball Stars until just recently. Instead, I cut my teeth on Baseball – which was released with the NES console as a launch game. It was awful, but it was my first foray into video ball and accordingly deserves mention.
Ken Griffey Presents: Major League Baseball – SNES(1993)
Just in time for the 1994 baseball strike a game that I consider one of the foundations of my youth was released for the SNES. What was wrong with this game? Bizarre pitching mechanics, invisible foul line wall, faulty save batteries and most importantly the player’s names! Without a liscence the game creators were forced to assign fictional names to sprites that resembled, with remarkable detail, their Major League counterparts. The names, which were assigned to each team via a theme, were hilarious AND replaceable. If you were one of those kids who spent hours replacing the names of the players with their real Major League titles, please raise your hands up! Now chastise yourself for so many waster hours. This was an excellent game to play with a buddy and its overall gameplay quality kept many kids hitched for years. It wasn’t until 1997, in fact, that I found a game that could even come close to Griffey on the shelf that exists in my heart.
All Star Baseball ’99 – N64 (1998)
I’m going to gloss over a series of awful games that we had to tolerate during the 16 Bit era and I’m even going to forget about the Triple Play Series, that I never really go into, and introduce you to first 3D game that really caught my eye: ASB99. Forget the fact that the series fell apart in subsequent years – in 1998, just in time for Big Mac and Sammy, ASB was the best looking game with the slickest controls. My favorite part? Going over to Cleveland and bringing up a gigantic minor league slugger with inifinite swat (Sexson). We played this game, a lot. It featured pretty good comentary, for its time, and a neat take on the swinging mechanic that influenced many games that would come.
MVP ’04/05 – All consoles
Amongst the greatest crimes in the history of the world occured on the day that video gamers were told that the MVP, without an MLB liscence, would cease production. The 2009 season approaches and this is still the most played baseball videogame around (if you’re a PC owner its easy to pick up modded versions with roster updates). Its deep, has responsive controls, fantastic pitching and hitting mechanisms, a minor league system and is just a lot of fun to play. I tolerated a lot of garbage before MVP and I’ve tolerated a lot of garbage since and I will not rest until EA is allowed to ressurect this franchise as a Major League Baseball masterpiece. Damn you SEGA Sports.
MLB Power Pros – Wii – 2007
Something had to pacify me. MLB Power Pros does a good job. A port of the system upon which popular Japanese games have been made for a long time, Power Pros features accessible controls, good physics, and the deepest statistical tracking I’ve seen in a game. Get over the cartoony nature, unless you can pick up the show this is your only choice as a baseball gamer.
(All non-opinion based information was taken from the wonderful fellows at www.ign.com)