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
Composer(s)Tim Follin
Platform(s)SNES, Game Boy
Release
  • NA: March 1994
Genre(s)Sports
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

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 Ken Griffey Jr.). 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 Griffey 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:

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 - Warren Track, Barny Tater, Sammy Scrap, Can O' Corn & Nick Noheart.

The game features the voice of umpire Steve Palermo for called strikes, balls and outs.

The game's other vocal soundbite, 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 Guaranteed Rate Field. 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 (this layout was mostly used for the concrete donuts such as Riverfront Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium, themselves noted for being generic). 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 Cincinnati Reds have a blue outfield wall as opposed to their signature green wall at Riverfront Stadium. The Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox are the only two teams to play night games at their respective ball parks. Kauffman Stadium features it's signature water falls in the outfield and signature scoreboard in Center Field. Both old Yankee Stadium and Tigers Stadium are almost identical except that Yankees Stadium has shorter right field bleachers and you can hit the ball out of the park while Tiger Stadium has an upper deck all away around. Toronto's Skydome hotel/restaurant are visible in play if a Homerun heads to center field. Wrigley Field has it's signature Ivy on the outfield wall but is missing the apartment houses in Left and Right Field respectively and the manual operated scoreboard in Center Field. The Kingdome has it's signature large right field wall as does The Metrodome.

The Philadelphia Phillies are the only team to play in the generic stadium with astroturf and the green outfield wall.

The Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants, and the Oakland Athletics are the only teams to play in the generic stadium with natural grass and the green outfield wall.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, Montreal Expos, and Cincinnati Reds are the only teams to play in the generic stadium with astroturf and have a blue outfield wall.

The Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, and California Angels are the only teams to play in a generic stadium with natural grass and a blue outfield wall.

The Chicago White Sox wear their black alternate top as their Home uniform in the game.

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.

The team rosters are based on the 1993 Baseball season with stats included. The game also features the 5 new logos and uniforms designs of the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and the Detroit Tigers compared to what they looked like in 1993. The game also features the new ballparks Globe Life Park - the home ballpark to the Texas Rangers, and Progressive Field - the home ballpark to the Cleveland Indians which replaces Arlington Stadium and Cleveland Stadium respectively.

Bugs[edit]

Due to a bug, during a full season some home run totals for players reset to zero after the All-Star game. A Nintendo Customer Service representative acknowledged this bug, further claimed that sometimes during the World Series players are prevented from using their best pitchers, and bluntly summarized, "Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball sports some pretty serious bugs."[5]

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.

The play by play is provided by former Seattle Mariners play by play announcer Dave Niehaus.

Reception[edit]

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.[6] Electronic Gaming Monthly criticized that the computer is too difficult to beat in one-player mode, but praised the general playability. They scored the game a 6.6 out of 10.[7]

Legacy[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (SNES) FAQ," GameFAQs.
  2. ^ Bevan, Mike (December 2013). "Bubbles, Baseball and Buzz Saws...". Retro Gamer (122). Imagine Publishing. p. 78.
  3. ^ The Man With One Red Shoe (1985) Orig. Theatrical Trailer
  4. ^ Ken Griffey Jr Major League Baseball gameplay
  5. ^ "Buyers Beware". GamePro. IDG (84): 119. September 1995.
  6. ^ "Griffey Sent to Minors". GamePro. No. 70. IDG. July 1994. p. 116.
  7. ^ "Review Crew: Ken Griffey Baseball". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 60. Sendai Publishing. July 1994. p. 33.