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Bases Loaded - Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) - Great Video Games
Like Really Playing Baseball
Bases Loaded was the first video game for me that truly captured what it was like to play Baseball. Goodness, I loved just about everything about it. I never owned this game, but I must have rented it a bunch of times during the baseball season. I played little league, so this game was the perfect thing to come home to after practice. I’m sure many other kids share similar memories.
Baseball games that came before Bases Loaded always seemed so clunky and strange. I remember playing at least 3 or 4 different ones, and they always had cheap graphics or poor playability. This game got it perfect. Even the music was perfect – all the tunes brought home that pastoral, “at the old ballgame” feeling. Jaleco did a good job.
Ah, and you're playing college baseball in this game. That's why the bat has a metal ping when you hit the ball. Heh - so it was definitely more like little league than most other games.
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Ah, and the controls in this game were superb. You really felt like you were controlling ball players. The pitching was complicated enouh, and you could throw different types of pitches based on your button combinations. The ball could be controlled all the way down to home plate. If you were feeling saucy, you could just wind up and throw a bunch of fast balls down the center. Since the computer always knew what was coming, you had to get pretty creative in trying to fool it. I eventually got pretty good at that. I always wondered, was the game coded so that things were fair? Or did the computer respond to exactly what you were doing instantly? I know that you did have to get pretty creative to fool the CPU, but it wasn't overly hard.
The graphics were delicious. I loved how the hitting and pitching screen looked like it does on TV. That gave it such a fun feel, but I suppose it made hitting awkward. You had to hit the ball from the pitcher's perspective. Hitting wasn't too complicated. You just pushed the D pad to the area (mostly just low, middle, and high) where the ball was coming and swung. It was primitive, but what else could you do? I think most baseball games back then were similar. Even the advanced ones. I haven't played any newer ones.
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Bases Loaded Gameplay Video
Anyone Remember RBI Baseball? Yuck.
The first baseball game that came out on the NES was Tengen’s RBI Baseball. That game had the more standard, “behind the umpire” view. That view is used far more often, because it gives the hitter the advantage of seeing the baseball's path. I still like how Bases Loaded favored the pitcher over the hitter, though. The emphasis on pitching over hitting is more like how real baseball works. Hitters don't often get a hit, but pitchers work their buns off. And in true fashion, I do remember RBI baseball being a ridiculous grand slam fest.45 to 1? Yeah, that's a realistic score. I still remember renting that game and just laughing so hard at the final scores from the CPU. I played one game where every hit was a home run, I think.
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Good Design. Good Playability. Bases Loaded Rocked.
Even with the excellent graphics (for the time) in Bases Loaded, the NES handled the game very well. There wasn’t much slowdown, which can happen in a lot of older games. The players really look like players, and the bird’s eye view for the field works excellently. Unlike many other baseball games, the coding was done well enough that it didn’t always look like you were controlling all the outfielders at the same time. This made the game so many leaps and bounds better than other games that made it look like all the fielders were doing some sort of choreographed maneuver every time someone hit the ball.
The game was challenging. I loved how the hitters had different stances, and how the pitchers all had individual strengths and weaknesses. I'm not sure the batting stances did much. This was a game that you truly could play for hours, both alone and with a friend. The computer was a tad on the easy side, and the game could have benefitted from a difficulty setting with multiple options. With friends, this game was a blast that could go on for a while. I have many fond memories, and I still play a game of Bases Loaded once in a while to this day. Thanks, Jaleco.
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