Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball
|Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball|
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 predecessors, though it is sometimes sluggish due to hardware restrictions. The SNES version came with a promotional Ken Griffey, Jr. collector's card packed inside and was a major commercial success, with 1.2 million units sold.
Fictitious players in the game are themed with their teammates. Some of the themes include:
- The Atlanta Braves are famous dance DJs, such as Sasha & Digweed whose real life counterparts are (John Smoltz) and closer (Mike Stanton). A pitcher for the team is named G. Park, presumably in reference to Atlanta's famed Grant Park whose real life counterpart is (Steve Avery). In addition, D. Crime and D. Neon likely refer to Fred "the Crime Dog" McGriff and "Neon" Deion Sanders, respectively.
- The Baltimore Orioles pay tribute to Baltimore native John Waters with B. Divine whose real life counterpart is (Harold Reynolds), P. Flamingo, (Mike Mussina) M. Trasho whose real life counterpart is (Mike Pagliarulo), and H. Spray whose real life counterpart is pitcher (Jim Poole), as well as Waters himself standing in for Cal Ripken Jr.
- The Boston Red Sox contain members from the show Cheers. Cliff Claven who in real life is (Scott Bankhead), Norm Peterson who is in real life is pitcher (Greg Harris), and Sam Malone who represents closer (Jeff Russell) are all present. Also included are Boston landmarks (B. Common who is really infielder (Luis Rivera), M. Harvard) who is really catcher (Tony Pena) and figures from early American history (J. Adams who is in place of (Billy Hatcher), J. Hancock who takes the place of (Rob Deer), A. Hamilton) who is infielder (Scott Fletcher).
- The California Angels have famous actors on their team (F. Astaire whose real life counterpart is (Chad Curtis), H. Bogart whose real life counterpart is (Chili Davis), J. Wayne) whose real life counterpart is (J.T. Snow).
- The Chicago Cubs has game director Brian Ullrich standing in for Ryne Sandberg. The bullpen has some seemingly generic names, such as P. Drifter, T. Yokel, and R. Steel.
- The Chicago White Sox are former basketball players from St. John's University (M. Sealy, C. Mullin, M. Jackson).
- The Cincinnati Reds are writers (B. Stoker, P. Dick, E. Queen).
- The Cleveland Indians have famous actresses and glamour girls on their team. (A. Margret, A. Hepburn, M. Monroe, G. Garbo).
- The Colorado Rockies contain famous names from horror movies (including G. Romero whose real life counterpart is (Kent Bottenfield), B. Lugosi whose real life counterpart is (Alex Cole), and T. Savini) whose real life counterpart is (Bruce Ruffin).
- The Detroit Tigers are famous Motown singers, (A. Franklin whose real life counterpart is (John Doherty), G. Knight whose real life counterpart is (Bill Gullickson) and R. Smokey) whose real life counterpart is Gary Thurman).
- The Houston Astros are cartoonists (G. Larson, W. Eisner, S. Lee).
- The Kansas City Royals are based on U.S. presidents (the third batter is D. Ike, whose real-life counterpart is DH Hall of famer George Brett).
- The Los Angeles Dodgers are based on punk rock pioneers from Los Angeles and other areas around California including Exene Cervenka whose real life counterpart is (Jose Offerman), John Doe whose real life counterpart is (Mike Piazza) and DJ Bonebrake of Xwhose real life counterpart is (Brett Butler), Poison Ivywhose real life counterpart is (Mitch Webster) and Lux Interior of The Cramps whose real life counterpart is (Eric Karros), Jello Biafra whose real life counterpart is (Ricky Trlicek), and Klaus Flouride of the Dead Kennedys whose real life counterpart is (Pedro Astacio), and Lee Ving of Fear whose real life counterpart is (Orel Hershiser).
- The Milwaukee Brewers have a pitching staff consisting of superhero "secret identities" (P. Parker, C. Kent, B. Wayne), while their position players are fictional secret agents and detectives (J. Rockford, J. Bond, P. Columbo).
- The Minnesota Twins are not named for famous sets of twins. The player's names are based on celebrities of various backgrounds, from actor Adam West (Kent Hrbek), guitarist Jimi Hendrix and pitcher W. Herzog.
- The Montreal Expos are people from the 1980s music scene in Manchester, England, including members of New Order, The Smiths, and Ian Brown of The Stone Roses.
- The New York Mets are based on punk rock pioneers from New York including Johnny Thunders whose real life counterpart is (Eddie Murray), Joey Ramone whose real life counterpart is (Jeff Kent), Tom Verlaine whose real life counterpart is (Bobby Bonilla), and Jerry Nolan whose real life counterpart is (Anthony Young).
- The New York Yankees have the nicknames of famous Yankee greats, such as Bambino whose real life counterpart is (Danny Tartabull), and New York boroughs such as S.Island whose real life counterpart is (Spike Owen).
- The Oakland Athletics apparently hired more authors with H. Ernest (he replaces Mark McGwire), L. Byron whose real life counterpart is (Mike Aldrete), M. Twain whose real life counterpart is (Brent Gates), and L. Tolstoy whose real life counterpart is (Dave Henderson).
- The Philadelphia Phillies feature a Rocky homage in R. Balboa (Darren Daulton) and A. Creed (Dave Hollins). They also have a Philadelphia landmark (L. Bell) and some of the musicians produced by Phil Spector (D. Love, B. Medley), as well as Spector, himself (John Kruk).
- The Pittsburgh Pirates are named after characters from the soap opera Coronation Street.
- The San Francisco Giants are members of Software Creations, the team that developed the game.
- The San Diego Padres are based on punk rock pioneers from England including (Billy Idol, the members of The Damned, Johnny Rotten, and Sid Vicious).
- The Seattle Mariners have Nintendo of America employees on their team, except Ken Griffey, Jr.
- The St. Louis Cardinals are comedians (H. Moe is actually Bob Tewksbury, O. Hardy is famous shortstop Ozzie Smith).
- The Texas Rangers, appropriately, have a Western theme (their best pitcher, T. Mix, "fills in" for Kevin Brown).
- The Toronto Blue Jays are players from the Wigan Warriors Rugby league team (E. Hanley, M. Offiah, D. Betts).
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'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.
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.
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
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.
Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball received generally mixed reviews. GamePro heavily criticized the game's lack of realism, citing the fictitious players, inaccurate ballparks, inability to adjust defense, "stylized" player sprites, and the ability to control the ball even after it leaves the pitcher's hand. However, they acknowledged the game has good music, "one of the best manuals for a baseball game", and gameplay that is very accessible to beginners. Electronic Gaming Monthly criticized that the computer is too difficult to beat in one-player mode, but praised the digitized voice of Steve Palermo and the general playability. They scored the game a 6.6 out of 10.
- Ken Griffey, Jr.'s Winning Run
- Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey, Jr.
- Ken Griffey, Jr.'s Slugfest
- "Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (SNES) FAQ," GameFAQs.
- Bevan, Mike (December 2013). "Bubbles, Baseball and Buzz Saws...". Retro Gamer (122) (Imagine Publishing). p. 78.
- The Man With One Red Shoe (1985) Orig. Theatrical Trailer
- Ken Griffey Jr Major League Baseball gameplay
- "Griffey Sent to Minors". GamePro (60) (IDG). July 1994. p. 116.
- "Review Crew: Ken Griffey Baseball". Electronic Gaming Monthly (60) (EGM Media, LLC). July 1994. p. 33.