Baseball (1983 video game)
Famicom Disk System
Baseball[a] is a video game from Nintendo. It was launched with the Famicom in Japan in 1983, 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, and in Europe in 1986. 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.
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, 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.
Development and launch
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".
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.
|Vs. Baseball||1984||Arcade||Nintendo Vs. Series, with additional graphics and speech|
|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||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. It again topped the Game Machine table arcade game chart in July 1984. In the United States, Vs. Baseball topped the arcade software conversion kit charts of RePlay (September to November 1984) and Play Meter (October to November 1984). In Japan, 2.35 million copies were sold for Famicom.
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".
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