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Cover art of R.B.I. Baseball
Domark Software (home computer ports)
|Composer(s)||Junko Ozawa, Brad Fuller, Don Diekneite, John Paul, Kent Carmical|
R.B.I. Baseball (known as Pro Yakyuu Family Stadium in Japan) is a baseball video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The original version, developed by Namco, was released in Japan in 1986. R.B.I. spawned two sequels on the NES as well as numerous ports to home computers and consoles. R.B.I. is an initialism for "run batted in".
Namco developed and released Pro Yakyuu Family Stadium (also known as Family Stadium) for the Family Computer (the Japanese version of the NES) in December 1986. Family Stadium was a success and spawned numerous sequels across a variety of platforms in Japan. Atari Games released a Nintendo Vs. Series arcade machine of Family Stadium named Atari R.B.I. Baseball in 1987 which was also successful, so its programmer, Peter Lipson, developed a console version for the NES which was published by Atari Games' subsidiary Tengen.
Gameplay and features
RBI Baseball was the first console game of its kind to be licensed by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and used actual MLB player names, unlike other baseball video games of the late 1980s. It was not licensed by Major League Baseball (MLB) itself, however, and thus did not use team nicknames or logos. Instead, the game contained 8 teams listed only by city name: Boston, California, Detroit, Houston, Minnesota, New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco; their real-life, MLB counterparts were the first place teams in each division in 1986 (Boston, California, Houston, New York) and 1987 (Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis, San Francisco) MLB seasons. The game also boasted two All-Star teams, American League and National League; the two featured established veterans such as George Brett, Dale Murphy and Andre Dawson—none of whom appeared on the other eight teams—and up-and-coming players like Mark McGwire, Andrés Galarraga, Kevin Seitzer and José Canseco.
Each player has different capabilities in the game; hitters vary in ability to make solid contact, to hit the ball with power, and their base running speed. Vince Coleman is the fastest player in the game; it is very difficult to catch him stealing second base. Pitchers vary in pitching speed, and the amount by which the player can steer the ball left and right during its flight. Pitchers also have varying stamina; as a pitcher gets tired, the ball slows down and is harder to steer. Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens are two pitchers in the game with the fastest pitches. Fernando Valenzuela, without a hard fastball, has tremendous movement in both directions with his pitches. Mike Scott has a sharp and deceptive breaking ball. The best pitcher is debatable, depending on how they are used by the players. There is no evidence that fielding abilities correspond to individual players.
The abilities of each player do not necessary correspond with the statistics shown on the screen when the player comes to bat or takes the mound. These statistics are generally accurate, with many exceptions (see below). They do not change during the course of the game or sequence of games.
A rudimentary box score is displayed during and after the game showing composite statistics for each team. A hit batter is credited with a walk, and anyone reaching on an error gets credited for a hit even as the other team is charged with an error. Conversely, a batter thrown out while trying for extra bases is not credited with a hit.
The rosters for the eight teams are fairly accurate if simplified representations of the playoff rosters from their respective years. Each team has 8 starting batters, four bench players, two starting pitchers and two relievers. The player can start any pitcher they like, though the relievers have very low stamina. But if they play consecutive games without resetting the system, any starting pitcher used in the previous game will be unavailable. The player has to wait until the game starts before substituting players with pinch hitters, who can play any position.
In Vs. RBI Baseball, the teams are made up of legends from 10 different franchises. These players were statistically represented with their best seasons. A notable exception was that of McGwire, who was included on the Oakland team, and was statistically represented by his potential numbers. In a remarkable display of foresight, he was projected to hit 62 home runs in his best season. In 1998, he set the then-major league record for home runs in a season with 70.
- R.B.I. Baseball 2 - features teams and players from the 1989 season.
- R.B.I. Baseball 3 - RBI 3 also has every major league team available from the 1990 season, as well as postseason teams from 1983 to 1989. A regular season feature was available for RBI 3. Players could choose one team to compete against every other team. All star teams and postseason teams were eligible for this season mode. Passwords were given after each game to help players complete schedules. Once all teams had been defeated, the player had to compete against a fictional all star team from Japan, which included players with incredible HR and AVE stats and pitchers that could not be hit. Released in 1991 for the NES and Sega Genesis.
- R.B.I. Baseball 4 - released in 1992 for the Sega Genesis. Cory Walker of Lebanon, TN is regarded as the best RBI 4 player in United States history. In 2004, he issued an open challenge to anyone in the world and as of 2016, he says the challenge still stands. Walker is known for coining several nicknames for baseball players in the game such as Rickey Hen (Rickey Henderson), Turlet Bowl (Danny Tartabull, Cal Rip (Cal Ripken Jr), HoJo (Howard Johnson), and Pal Mal (Paul Molitor). Walker hit the longest recorded homerun in RBI history in 2003 with a 601 foot shot using Matt Nokes and the baseball completely cleared the stadium. When asked who the greatest hitter on the game is, Walker responded, "Without a doubt Kevin Mitchell. If you give him a pitch to hit, he will make you pay." In a 2016 interview Walker said, "RBI 4 baseball is the most competitive game ever created."
- Pro Yakyuu World Stadium '91 - Released in 1991 in Japan exclusively for the PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) platform. No U.S. version was released.
- R.B.I. Baseball '93 - released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis.
- R.B.I. Baseball '94 - released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis and Sega Game Gear
- Super R.B.I. Baseball - released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo.
- R.B.I. '95 - released in 1995 for the Sega 32X.
- R.B.I. Baseball 14 - released in Spring 2014 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Android and iOS. Developed and published by MLB.com.
- R.B.I. Baseball 15 - released in Spring 2015 for the Xbox One, PS4, Android, iOS, and on Steam. Developed and published by MLB.com.
- R.B.I. Baseball 16 - released in Spring 2016 for the Xbox One, PS4, Android, iOS, and on Steam. Developed and published by MLB.com.