Baseball (1983 video game)

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Baseball NES box art.jpg
North American NES box art
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D1
Designer(s)Shigeru Miyamoto[1]
Famicom Disk System
Game Boy
  • Famicom/NES
    • JP: December 7, 1983
    • NA: October 18, 1985
    • EU: September 1, 1986
    Vs. Baseball (arcade)
  • List of re-releases
    • Famicom Disk System:
      • JP: February 21, 1986
    • Game Boy:
      • JP: April 21, 1989
      • NA: July 31, 1989[5]
      • EU: 1990
Mode(s)Single-player, two-player

Baseball[a] is a video game from Nintendo. It was launched with the Famicom in Japan in 1983,[6] and was then ported for arcades as Vs. Baseball in 1984 on the Nintendo VS. System with additional graphics and speech, becoming a hit in Japan and North America that year. It was then released as a launch game for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America in 1985,[7] and in Europe in 1986.[8] The universal appeal of an American sport as a launch game for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 in America is said to have made Baseball a key to the system's successful introduction in test markets, and an important piece of Nintendo history.[9]


As in real baseball, the object of the game is to score the most runs. The game supports one player versus a computer opponent, or two players. Each player can select from one of six teams.

Though lacking a license to give official team names,[9] their initials in the game are meant to represent the names of real teams from the Japanese Central League or the American Major League Baseball in their respective regions. In gameplay, the only practical difference between the teams is the uniform colors.[10]

Development and launch[edit]

In 1983, only three launch day games were available for the Famicom, and Baseball would soon join its library which would total seven by 1984. Shigeru Miyamoto said he "personally really wanted there to be a Baseball game", and was "directly in charge of the character design and the game design".[1]

At the 1985 launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System in the Manhattan initial test market, the game was featured prominently among 18 total games. It was demonstrated on a large projector screen, by real Major League Baseball players who played the video game and signed autographs for fans. Because the video game industry was so young and had crashed in America in 1983, and because the other NES launch games have abstract fantasy themes that were not instantly recognizable, the presence of a traditional American pastime was said to be an instantly relatable aid to the system's introductory presentation to a novice audience.[9]


Name Date Platform Notes
Vs. Baseball 1984 Arcade Nintendo Vs. Series, with additional graphics and speech
Baseball 1986 PlayChoice-10 Arcade
Baseball 1989 Game Boy
Baseball 2002 e-Reader Barcoded cards, readable with e-Reader and Game Boy Advance.
Baseball 2002 GameCube Baseball is a bonus NES game in the GameCube game, Animal Crossing.
Baseball 2007 Wii Virtual Console
Baseball 2011 3DS Virtual Console
Baseball 2013 Wii U Virtual Console
Baseball 2018 Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch Online. The emulator allows the game to be played online.


In Japan, the June 1, 1984 issue of Game Machine listed VS. Baseball as the most successful table arcade cabinet of the month.[11] It again topped the Game Machine table arcade game chart in July 1984.[12] In the United States, Vs. Baseball topped the arcade software conversion kit charts of RePlay (September[13] to November 1984)[14] and Play Meter (October to November 1984).[15] In Japan, 2.35 million copies were sold for Famicom.[16]

In 2007, IGN gave Baseball a 5.5 out of 10, noting its depth of pitching, its two-player support, "its still-intact sense of fun", and its important place in Nintendo's history. The review said that the 1985 test market launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System had "heavily relied upon" Baseball, due to the globally recognizable status of the sport. The review summarized that "the NES came out a winner—thanks, in part, to Baseball".[9]

In 2006, GameSpot gave Baseball a 4.2 out of 10, stating that while it was easy to play, the "bare-bones" replica of the sport "hasn't withstood the test of time".[10]

The game was a significant source of inspiration for Namco's Pro Baseball: Family Stadium.[17]


  1. ^ Japanese: ベースボール, Hepburn: Bēsubōru


  1. ^ a b Kohler, Chris. "Miyamoto Spills Donkey Kong's Darkest Secrets, 35 Years Later". Wired. Retrieved October 17, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "The Vs. Challenge". RePlay. Vol. 11 no. 3. December 1985. p. 5.
  3. ^ Horowitz, Ken (August 6, 2020). Beyond Donkey Kong: A History of Nintendo Arcade Games. McFarland & Company. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-4766-8420-8.
  4. ^ Akagi, Masumi (October 13, 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 57. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  5. ^ White, Dave (July 1989). "Electronic Gaming Monthly". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 3. p. 68.
  6. ^ Cornelius, Dylan (April 21, 2020). "Baseball (Famicom, 1983)". Retro Gaming Archive. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Matt (March 28, 2020). "All 30 Black Box Nes Games Guide (Including Pricing)". MCMROSE. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  8. ^ "NES Game List (Europe) | NinDB". Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Thomas, Lucas M. (January 16, 2007). "Baseball VC Review". IGN. Retrieved July 2, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ a b Thomas, Aaron (January 4, 2007). "Baseball Review". GameSpot. Retrieved December 13, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 237. Amusement Press, Inc. June 1, 1984. p. 29.
  12. ^ "Best Hit Games 25" (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 239. Amusement Press, Inc. July 1, 1984. p. 25.
  13. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. September 1984.
  14. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. November 1984.
  15. ^ "National Play Meter". Play Meter. Vol. 10 no. 21. November 15, 1984. pp. 28–9.
  16. ^ "Japan Platinum Game Chart". The Magic Box. Retrieved March 30, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Szczepaniak, John (August 11, 2014). The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers (First ed.). p. 363. ISBN 978-0992926007.

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