Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! Baseball (GB)

Retro Game of the Day! Baseball (GameBoy)

Baseball by Nintendo for the GameBoy, released at the system's launch in 1989.

Yes, here we find ourselves once again examining the launch lineup of GameBoy titles (amazing that there's still some to cover!) It's interesting to do this because prior to the GameBoy period, portable gaming was dramatically different - much more limited.

With that in mind, a title as simplistic as Baseball by Nintendo was worth picking up, when it was new. Oh sure, it was about as limited a baseball title as one could imagine, but at least it had all the necessary ingredients to bear the name.

Like many early GB games, the link cable was supported and so two players could battle it out against one another. This was particularly cool "to have your own unit" to play the game on, even if you were both seeing the same thing - it felt like each participant had their own window into this virtual world, it was a very novel concept at the time.

A couple of other things to mention about this iteration of the game - Nintendo mascots Mario and Luigi are "in" the game, on the boxart and listed as players, but are drawn just like all the other team members (basically, in name only). It was expected that the system had limitations, but this seemed kind of odd and disappointing. Also, looking at the similarly-primitive presentation that was Nintendo's Tennis GB release during the same period, one could not help but notice that the latter game was much more complicated (and enjoyable) than this Baseball title. I guess they just wanted to play it safe and "have a baseball title which would sell regardless."

All things considered, Baseball was a fun little diversion which grew old quite quickly; depending on your POV, either this or Alleyway was the low point of the GameBoy launch. It may have been a super lowbrow form of the sport, but it still felt like early 8-bit baseball and to be able to carry that around in your pocket in 1989, that was pretty neat!

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