Blaseball

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Blaseball
Developer(s)The Game Band
Designer(s)
  • Sam Rosenthal
  • Joel Clark
  • Stephen Bell
Platform(s)Browser
ReleaseJuly 20, 2020
Genre(s)Simulation, horror
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Blaseball is a baseball simulation horror game[1] developed by The Game Band. It was released on July 20, 2020, and is played via web browser.[2] During each week the game is active, a full season and championship series of "Internet League Blaseball" is simulated, with elections on Sundays in which the community can change the rules of the game. Non-player characters, such as the league's owner or commissioner, occasionally deliver dialogue on the website and through Twitter accounts, creating an absurdist horror narrative.

The game has an active fandom known for their prolific fan works. There is a high degree of audience participation, with the game's developers actively engaging with the fan community online.

Gameplay[edit]

Blaseball centers on an absurdist simulation of baseball,[3] with fictional teams, featuring random events such as the "incineration" of players by "rogue umpires".[4] Each player has a name and a star rating, which is used to determine their stats.[5] After their first log-in, users choose a favorite team and are given some coins.[6] The game allows users to use these coins to bet on the outcomes of the simulated games.[7][8] Fans could previously also "idol" players and earn coins based on their performance, though this feature is currently absent. Each season lasts a week, and users are able to follow what happens in real time. The matches are organized every day on the hour, while the post-season happens in two parts, with wild card matches and quarterfinals happening on Friday and semifinals and finals happening on Saturday. Users are able to use their coins to vote on events and rule changes that will happen after each season on Sunday.[9]

Narratively, the story of Blaseball unfolds across eras spanning multiple seasons, and largely impacted by players' collective choices through elections. These eras include the Discipline Era, marked by the league banding against a giant malevolent peanut known as The Shelled One, and the Expansion Era, featuring a coin dubbed only as The Boss who wished to add increasingly complex rules to the sport. On July 30, 2021, as Season 24 ended, Blaseball became unplayable due to the weather condition "Black Hole" consuming the League. Starting October 28, 2022, a weekly event called the Fall occurred announcing one random returning player falling from the black hole to each team, as well as announcing new vague sign-up goals and mechanics, leading up to the return of Blaseball. On January 9th, 2023, the game resumed with a clean slate, featuring the same teams, but with entirely new rosters consisting of both new and returning players. The vast majority of returning players ended up on new teams, and with their stats randomized. Following the first season the name of the new era, The Coronation Era, was revealed.

As of January 17, 2023, there are 24 teams:[10]

  • Atlantis Georgias
  • Baltimore Crabs
  • Boston Flowers
  • Broken Ridge Jazz Hands
  • Canada Moist Talkers
  • Charleston Shoe Thieves
  • Chicago Firefighters
  • Core Mechanics
  • Dallas Steaks
  • Hades Tigers
  • Hawai'i Fridays
  • Houston Spies
  • Kansas City Breath Mints
  • LA Unlimited Tacos
  • Mexico City Wild Wings
  • Miami Dale
  • Moab Hellmouth Sunbeams
  • New York Millennials
  • Ohio Worms
  • Philly Pies
  • San Francisco Lovers
  • Seattle Garages
  • Tokyo Lift
  • Yellowstone Magic

Development[edit]

Sam Rosenthal, the creative director of The Game Band, spent some time on video conference calls during a quarantine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with friends who do not usually play video games, but were still eager to play browser adaptations of board games. The idea of creating a title that would bring people together attracted the developers.[11] At first, he thought to make a horse-racing gambling game, but the team decided that the whole concept was better suited for baseball.[12]

From August 9, 2020, to August 24, 2020, The Game Band put the game on a temporary hiatus, citing the problems associated with running into unexpected viral popularity.[13] Blaseball was put on another hiatus, referred to as a "Grand Siesta", from October 25, 2020, to March 1, 2021.[14][15]

The Expansion Era ended in July 2021, and Blaseball went into a lengthy siesta, allowing the Game Band to work on overhauling the game. On November 1, 2021, it was announced that Blaseball would return for a shorter format season, called Blaseball: Short Circuits, for the purpose of testing out quality of life improvements and new features. On October 26, 2022, The Game Band announced that Blaseball would be returning with a prologue, beginning on October 28, 2022. The Game Band also announced a mobile version of Blaseball would be released around the same time.

Fanbase and community[edit]

Blaseball is known for its sizeable fan community, which has developed a deep lore around the game and its teams. Fans have also contributed by creating art and social media accounts for Blaseball players, leagues, sportscasters and union representatives.[16][17][18] The Blaseball community often uses its platform to engage in charity and activism, including charitable donations through the collectively-run merchandise store Blaseball Cares,[19] campaigning for Nithya Raman for LA council,[20] and running a series of Industrial Workers of the World union training courses.[21][22]

Fan-created works[edit]

Creators Work Day Released
Fourth Strike, Ophelia Black, Kimberly Dauber, BONES, and rain Blaseball: the Musical: The Deaths of Sebastian Telephone December 26, 2020
Fourth Strike The Garages: The Band N/A

Awards[edit]

Blaseball was a 2021 finalist for the Nebula Award for Best Game Writing.[23] It was also nominated for Best Video Game at the 2021 Hugo Awards.[24]

In July 2021, Blaseball won the Nuovo Award at the 2021 Independent Games Festival.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Game Band (September 17, 2020). "A Dark Week in the Discipline Era". Medium. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "Introducing BLASEBALL". Twitter. Archived from the original on July 20, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  3. ^ Martin, Garrett (July 31, 2020). "The Problem with Blaseball". Paste. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  4. ^ Greszes, Sam (August 6, 2020). "An absurdist baseball game is tearing up the internet, thanks to fans". Polygon. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  5. ^ Jackson, Gita (July 21, 2020). "Blaseball is the Real Return of Baseball". Vice. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  6. ^ Parrish, Ash (August 10, 2020). "What Is The Forbidden Book, And Other Blaseball Questions Answered". Kotaku. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Martens, Todd (August 24, 2020). "It's a beautiful summer for 'Blaseball.' Yes, 'Blaseball,' where America's pastime meets 'D&D'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  8. ^ Van Allen, Eric (July 31, 2020). "Blaseball Is the Absurd Sports Game That's Been Filling Your Social Feeds". USGamer. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  9. ^ Livingston, Christopher (July 29, 2020). "Place bets on Blaseball, a simulated baseball league with the occasional Hellmouth". PC Gamer. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  10. ^ "BLASEBALL". www.blaseball.com. Retrieved January 15, 2023.
  11. ^ Valentine, Rebekah (August 20, 2020). "Making Blaseball, at our mercy". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  12. ^ Farr, Stephanie (August 10, 2020). "At Tastykake Stadium, the Philly Pies are two-time champs. Welcome to Blaseball". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  13. ^ The Game Band (August 9, 2020). "Blaseball is Taking an Extended Siesta". Medium. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  14. ^ Walker, Ian (February 16, 2021). "Thank God, Blaseball Returns On March 1". Kotaku.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Jackson, Gita (March 2, 2021). "Blaseball is Back. WTF Is Blaseball?". Vice. Retrieved March 6, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Baseball Fans Rule In An Online Game Made For Pandemic Times". NPR.org. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  17. ^ Greszes, Sam (August 6, 2020). "An absurdist baseball game is tearing up the internet, thanks to fans". Polygon. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  18. ^ Lewis, Danny (October 20, 2020). "Cosmic Horror And Devoted Fans Made Blaseball The Best Sport Of The Pandemic". Gothamist. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  19. ^ "BLASEBALL CARES". Blaseball Cares. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  20. ^ "This week #Blaseball is proud to support Nithya Raman for LA City Council District 4! Join us on Twitter for a Live Q&A with Nithya at 3PM PDT!". Twitter. September 20, 2020. Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  21. ^ "WELCOME TO THE BUREAU OF UNITY". SPIES. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  22. ^ Marshall, Cass (February 8, 2021). "Blaseball fans are taking their wild campaigns into union organizing". Polygon. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  23. ^ "SFWA Announces the 56th Annual Nebula Award Finalists". SFWA. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  24. ^ "2021 Hugo Awards". January 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  25. ^ "2021 - Independent Games Festival Finalists & Winners". Independent Games Festival (IGF). October 6, 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2022.

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