Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball

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Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball
Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball
Front cover
Developer(s) Software Creations
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Super Famicom/SNES
Release date(s)
  • NA March 1994
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single-player
Multiplayer
Distribution 16-Mbit cartridge

Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball is a Super NES baseball game that was released in 1994. The game has a Major League Baseball license but not a Major League Baseball Players Association license, meaning that the game has real stadiums and real teams, but not real players (except Griffey). The fictitious players have the same statistics as their real-world counterparts, and the game comes with a name-changing feature that allows players to change the athletes' names. Nintendo released a portable version of the game in 1997 for the Game Boy with real players and stats from the 1996 season. The gameplay is similar to its predecessor's, though it is sometimes sluggish due to hardware restrictions. The SNES version came with a promotional Ken Griffey, Jr. collector's card packed inside[1] and was a major commercial success, with 1.2 million units sold.[2]

Features[edit]

Fictitious players in the game are themed with their teammates. Some of the themes include:

The only actual baseball player is Ken Griffey, Jr. himself, although the New York Yankees have several player names that are references to past Yankee superstars. Griffey's name is the only one that cannot be changed.

At the end of every game, the game provides box scores and scoring summaries in newspaper format, providing a humorous newspaper headline on other goings-on in the world of Major League Baseball.

The game has several other features, including a home run derby in which players practice their power hitting against either Ken Griffey, Jr. or against one of five fictitious power batters (for instance, Griffey's NL analogue is named "Nick Noheart").

The game features the voice of umpire Steve Palermo for called strikes, balls and outs and Jack Buck provides the play-by-play.

The game's other vocal soundbyte, that of a batter turning to the umpire and screaming "Oh come on!" after a called strike three was sampled from a Jim Belushi line in the 1985 movie The Man With One Red Shoe.[3][4]

Gameplay[edit]

The game was groundbreaking and had a long list of features for its time. Nearly every team has its own venue, sometimes complete with unique features, including Dodger Stadium's "slants" by the outfield crowd (the outfield "roof"), Shea Stadium's minuscule center field crowd, and the large scoreboard in the right field of Comiskey Park. Due to cartridge space limitations, some stadiums could not be added, and in those cases a generic stadium with green or blue walls is used. Some of the stadiums are particularly realistic; Fenway Park's trademark Green Monster is in the game, as is Joe Robbie Stadium's teal wall and Oriole Park at Camden Yards' trademark Warehouse in right field. The game featured statistics from the real-life 1993 season, and also kept statistics for the team controlled by the user throughout a season, though all of the statistics of CPU-controlled teams remained unchanged.

Pitching is one of the simplest elements in this game. There is also a battery-backed season mode, where players can select a team to play for 26, 78, or all 162 games. Players who finish first in their division earn a playoff berth and a chance to be in the 1993 World Series. Unique to the game was the ability to choose playing a season using a system of either 4 or 6 divisions, as the game was released after the 6 division system was proposed, but before an actual season was played using six divisions.

Errors[edit]

There are a few players whose game counterparts' races are depicted incorrectly. For instance, analogues of Glenallen Hill and Lenny Webster are Caucasian in the game, when they are actually African-American. Analogues of Ben McDonald and Rob Deer are African-American, when they are actually Caucasian.

Some of the counterparts' statistics, such as batters' batting averages and pitchers' ERAs are off as well (usually by a digit). Due to unknown reasons, during a full season some home run totals for players reset to zero after the All-Star game.

Saved information, such as edited player names or seasons, are known to erase unexpectedly.

Game Boy version[edit]

Screenshot of the Game Boy version

The game was released in 1997 for the Game Boy, with Super Game Boy capabilities. Due to cartridge space, there is only one stadium. Unlike its predecessor, the Game Boy port's players have stats from the 1996 season, but they play in the 1997 season. It also has both a Major League Baseball and a Major League Baseball Players Association license- a first for a Ken Griffey, Jr. game on a Nintendo console. The home run derby in this version is also free of the six player limit, so gamers can select any non-pitcher MLB player. 1997 Rookies of the Year Scott Rolen and Nomar Garciaparra debut in this game, along with Deivi Cruz.

Unlike its home console counterpart, which was developed by Software Creations, Nintendo developed the Game Boy version.

Legacy[edit]

Nintendo later published three more games featuring Ken Griffey Jr., one developed by Rare and two developed by Angel Studios.

References[edit]