The Best Retro Baseball Game

The Best Retro Baseball Game

THE DRAW

QUARTERFINALS

Baseball Stars (1989) vs. World Series Baseball (1995)

World Series Baseball was one of the best looking games of its time and was the first baseball game to incorporate MLB and MLBPA licenses, making for a far more realistic experience. Baseball Stars is a classic and was an introduction to these games for most of us, but it gets edged out here by the Sega powerhouse.

Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (1994) vs. Sports Talk Baseball (1992)

Sports Talk Baseball paid attention to the fine details to make their game unique and exciting, including custom batting stances and running commentary, but Ken Griffey Jr.’s was in another class. They hit an upper deck walk off and move into the next round.

Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball (1995) vs. Bases Loaded (1988)

Big Hurt Baseball is unquestionably the best game graphics wise of this tournament, as it was one of the first to merge both SNES/Sega games with the new systems (Playstation) coming to market.
Bases Loaded took the modest graphics of previous NES games and improved upon them greatly, ushering in a new era of baseball video games. An inside the park home run moves them into the semi’s.

RBI Baseball (1986) vs. Base Wars (1991)

Base Wars was amazing, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who says differently, but they simply don’t have the bat speed to touch RBI Baseball.

SEMIFINALS

World Series Baseball vs. Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball

Even in present day you have to be impressed with World Series Baseball. It would lead to the MLB 2k series that’s so well known today, and really captured the fine details of a real baseball game. But, the gameplay in Ken Griffy’s was so good that all the graphics in the world couldn’t match its video game experience. It hits a grand slam and move into the finals. 
Are you tired of the baseball analogies yet?

Bases Loaded vs. RBI Baseball

Bases Loaded gets a lot of flak for having its main point of view behind the pitcher, which they changed in Bases Loaded 2. I’m in the minority who liked this vantage point as it gave a bit of diversity to baseball games, and made pitching a little more fun. 
This is all moot though, as they’re up against RBI baseball who casually strolls into the finals.

FINALS

Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball vs. RBI Baseball

Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (1994 for SNES)

This game could have made the finals for its smooth gameplay alone, but it had so many other features that were impressive for its time. It had a MLB license and incorporated real teams. Perhaps even more excitingly, it had the actual stadiums they played in. This allowed for Home Run Derby’s (another huge feature) at any ballpark you wanted, including Fenway, Rigley and Camden Yard.
The graphics aren’t as realistic as some other names on the list, but they were still great for 1994 and had a distinct video game quality to them rather than going for intense realism.

RBI Baseball (1986 for NES)

RBI Baseball was arguably the first baseball game that real fans could play and feel like they were playing the game they loved. It was the first game to include the license to MLBPA, which meant they could use real MLB players but could not use the team names. Instead they used eight teams and simply defined them by the name of their city. 
It included in-depth stats, realistic game play and specific skills sets for each player.
On the NES console this game stands head and shoulders above any other baseball game.

RBI Baseball

Not only does RBI Baseball top the list of all retro baseball games, it is in the conversation when discussing the best sports video game ever made. 
Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball is a phenomenal game that is still incredibly fun to play, but it had a tall task to dethrone the game that got it all started eight years earlier.

Your champion – RBI Baseball.

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