I don't like sports but for some reason I love playing baseball video games. Here, I'll cover all the bases as to why this sport appeals to non-fans like me so let's get this ball game going.
A humble beginning
Back when I was just old enough to grip a controller, I played NES whenever I could. Between lengthy sessions of favourites like Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man, and Adventure Island, I found myself regularly booting up Bases Loaded. There was something about the simplicity of it all that captivated me. Timing each swing of the bat perfectly while occasionally hitting a home run and making batters strike out by throwing a chain of increasingly tricky pitches was incredibly satisfying. You could even charge the mound although it first required some figuring out exactly how to pull it off. One feature that delights gamers to this day is the catcher's floating mitt (also known as the "phantom paw") which seems to catch the ball no matter how far off it's thrown. It just goes to show what a great game this is that such a silly sight doesn't even detract from the gameplay. Anyway, I remember trying other baseball games like R.B.I. Baseball but nothing was quite as fun as Bases Loaded.
Going through the motions
After the NES days, I took a long break from the diamond. I played a few PlayStation baseball games but they were trying too hard to be realistic so I mostly gave up on the genre. It wasn't until I got a Wii that I started to enjoy baseball again. Motion controls were the new fad in gaming and although it's easy to be cynical looking back at it now, there's no denying how exciting it was when Wii Sports first debuted. Swinging the Wiimote to hit home runs and watching a character that you created excitedly run the bases was a very special moment. Although I didn't play Mario Superstar Baseball for GameCube, I did have some fun with Mario Super Sluggers for Wii a couple years later. When I got a Kinect (which was much later than you'd think), I downloaded Home Run Stars. The simple gameplay of just swinging your arms is a blast when you watch the fireworks go off upon hitting a home run in the colourful fun-filled stadiums.
A Super Mega return to form
Recently, I picked up a copy of Super Mega Baseball. I can't believe how well it captures what made the genre fun decades ago. It truly brings video game baseball back to its roots. That being said, there is plenty of depth and realism so whether you're a casual player or a hardcore baseball enthusiast, you'll probably find a lot to love about Super Mega Baseball. Thankfully, you don't need to pay attention to any added complexities because it still manages to boast tight controls that make it easy to pick up and play with little explanation. On top of this, RPG elements allow you to upgrade your team to superstar level. The stadiums are just as wacky as a Mario game and the cartoonish characters are great fun to play with. Too bad there are only four stadiums to play in but maybe they'll release more as DLC one of these days. In the end, Super Mega Baseball made me fall in love with the genre all over again.
I hope you liked reading about all of the baseball games that I've enjoyed over the years. Whether you're a fan of the sport or not, leave a comment and let me know which baseball games you have fond memories of.