Top 15 Baseball Video Games In History

By Douglas Smith

Best Baseball Video Games

Best Baseball Video Games
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Baseball video games can be tracked back to the Atari when playing a console was done just for fun and for the novelty of it. Now generations of gamers have seen franchises come and go leading to limited choices in the baseball video game world. A lot more strategy has been built into today's games, but there is something to be said about games of yesteryear.

15. Home Run

Home Run was released in 1978 for Atari 2600. It is a one-on-one baseball game with mechanics drawn from Pong. It is the first game that featured hats on the players and computer beeps as the sound. There are four game modes. It makes the list for nostalgia. It was as if the game was replicating what happens in your backyard when only one of your friends can come out to play.

14. MLBPA Baseball

Though available in different formats, this was one of the better baseball games on Super NES. It featured the music for the Atlanta chop in the game. Its MLBPA license allowed for use of 1993 rosters, but the lack of MLB license meant cities only in the team selection. The game known as Fighting Baseball in Japan featured a ball that enlarged to show detail while in the air.

13. Bases Loaded

If you played sports on NES then you probably had this game right next to Blades of Steel. It features umpires named Yuk, Boo, Bum and Dum. A shadowy fan figure behind the plate left periodically during game play but always came back to lean on the same spot. If you like pitching then play with Miami and Henter, but if offense is your thing then play with Jersey and Paste. This game is also remembered for the go-go gadget arm of the catcher and passwords to save your season.

12. Triple Play Baseball

Triple Play was the predecessor to MVP baseball and ran from 1997 to 2002. It featured different players on the cover each season including Brian Jordan in 1998. It was produced mainly for PlayStation. Certain features such as the option to play in certain weather or at night would go missing from year to year, but it was simple and fun. It had the previous year's rosters when it was released so gamers had to go about rewriting history.

11. Sports Talk Baseball

This game featured the official MLB rosters from the 1991 season with Ron Gant and Howard Johnson as the two best players in the game. Winning often meant using the domination feature which meant beating your opponent by 10 runs. It was the second game to feature Sega's sports talk speech synthesis.

10. Tommy Lasorda Baseball

This game had no licensing but was endorsed by the then Dodgers' manager. It was one of the many Sega games that proudly pronounced on the cover that it was a 16-bit cartridge. Its season mode was 30 games long. Players could pick to sway the game in the favor of the batter or pitcher in the menu. One of the best features of the game was an announcer that told you where the ball was hit in order to make it a little easier to field.

9. Frank Thomas' Big Hurt Baseball

Before he was a Hall of Famer, Frank Thomas endorsed a game that appeared on Sega Genesis, Super NES and PlayStation. Ironically the game emphasized defense and pitching to oppose the other games on the market at the time. Diving to make a play was a big part of the game, but it was often awkward. It also featured a Reebok ad in center field. There were over 700 MLB players available in the game.

8. All Star Baseball Series

The game featured Derek Jeter and Frank Thomas on the cover and ran from 1997 to 2005, the year of Acclaim's bankruptcy. The 2000 and 2001 versions were the best received while 1999 was the first to feature play-by-play. Players could create an expansion team and even place them in Puerto Rico or Mexico City. The 2003 version was highly anticipated given the availability of the game for Xbox.

7. MLB 2K Series

This series came to an end at the beginning of this year after 10 versions were released. In its early days it had an agreement with ESPN, but it soon signed a third party deal with MLB, MLBPA and MLBAM to continue producing the game. The last few versions were basically the same game, but when the game was going strong it was top notch and known for a near-photo-realistic pitcher/batter interface.

6. MVP Baseball 2005

In 2006 this game made IGN's Readers Choice Top 100 Games of All Time. Its "Hitter's Eye" batting interface was great, but it took some getting used to for those looking for realism. It featured many minor league teams and every notable player other than Barry Bonds. He removed himself from the MLBPA, so the Giants had a player named Jon Dowd. The game also moved well and had a great soundtrack.

5. Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run

Griffey Jr. was Nintendo's go-to player for many of their baseball games. This game commemorates the winning run scored in the 1995 Divisional Series. It featured the 28 teams available at the time, but playing an entire 162-game season unlocked the Tampa and Arizona expansion franchises. If you sat idle for long enough the umpire would knock on the screen. Griffey was the only player whose name could be used, but the developers made up for it with pun-laden names such as Muscles McFee for Barry Bonds.

4. R.B.I. Baseball

R.B.I. Baseball was re-released this year for the first time in almost 20 years. It was the first game to be licensed by the MLBPA, so it used actual players. However, it was not licensed by MLB, so there were just eight teams listed by city only. Those eight teams just so happened to be the first place teams of each division in 1986 and 1987. There were also two All-Star teams with completely different players. One of the best features is being able to slide the pitcher across the rubber.

3. The Show Series

MLB: The Show started in 2006 and contributed to the downfall of the 2K games. It has spanned gaming generations and put a lot of its commentators, like Matt Vasgersian, in the public eye on a global scale. Its first-party MLB license has allowed for great marketing while its expansive game play keeps players coming back.

2. Baseball Stars

Baseball Stars was released on NES in 1989 and quickly became a hit in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. It is often considered the best baseball game ever available on the Nintendo. It was the pioneer in the create a player and create a team game modes. Winning meant earning money and prestige, which meant increased attendance and the ability to buy upgrades. It also had a feature to buy female players for your team.

1. World Series Baseball

The same company that brought you the Ren and Stimpy video game, BlueSky Software, is responsible for the best baseball video game franchise of all time. This was only available on Genesis but featured real-life players, teams and stadiums. This franchise was taken over by 2K Games in 2003. The Seattle Mariners with Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner in the heart of the lineup were the preferred team.

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