Just like any other popular sport, baseball video games have been popular since the first home consoles. The Magnavox Odyssey came out with baseball in 1972, which was just a version of Pong with a baseball field background.
Nevertheless, in the 8-Bits systems, we got really good virtual baseball titles such as the R.B.I. trilogy on the NES, as well as some fun arcades with more powerful hardware such as Capcom’s Baseball released in the late 80s and SNK’s Baseball Stars for their MVS system.
With the arrival of the Super Nintendo, we were bound to get more detailed baseball games with better graphics and faster gameplay than its predecessor.
And while the first Super Nintendo baseball games didn’t look like a huge leap in visuals compared to R.B.I. 3 on the NES, for example, these games took advantage of the new controller with more buttons and the rotating and scaling effects the SNES could pull off.
So, let’s take a look at the
Table of Contents
5 Best Baseball Games For The Super Nintendo
Extra Innings (Sony Imagesoft – 1992)
Featuring short round guys that look like characters from the ‘80s anime “Doctor Slump”, this baseball simulator may look like it’s aimed at kids (and it kinda was). But it’s a very good title that’s more enjoyable to play than some more realistic SNES baseball games and those with the MLB license.
Here the players look small, very small on the screen, but they’re very expressive and well-animated. You can see them reacting to plays and are capable of breaking their bat when striking out.
Once you hit the ball, you see an overhead view and they look like rounded “chibi” characters, and while the action is kinda slow compared to the next games on this list, it’s a relaxing take on the sport, and things can get exciting when there are 2 outs and all bases loaded. Be it that you’re the pitcher or the batter.
The music is worth mentioning, since each stadium has its own theme song, and many different tunes play depending on what’s happening on screen. The special cutscene that plays when there’s a homerun is extremely well done, and surprising for the time, with the cheerleaders dancing while the players in the bases run towards home. And they even have more than one dance.
Sony made 2 more games in this style, but they didn’t bother to localize them, so if you have the chance, try out the only one they did bring over here since it’s a good take on the sport.
Super Baseball 2020(Tradewest Sports – 1993 )
Originally released for the Neo-Geo, this futuristic take on America’s Pastime features players (men and women), wearing cybernetic armor, glowing balls, and electric bats, as well as robots that can play alongside their human teammates.
The arcade game features fast-paced gameplay, huge sprites, very colorful graphics with many frames of animation, voiceovers, crowd noise, and many different songs that play depending on the action. Surprisingly, most of those features made it to the SNES port, and while the gameplay is a tad slower with smaller sprites for the characters, almost everything is here.
By the early ’90s, Baseball games were becoming mostly the same, and a blend of the same type of game. SNK launched this “sci-fi” title that set itself apart, not only in the theme of the game, but it also has power-ups and a money-earning mechanic that depends on your actions (or inactions) as a player.
The original Neo-Geo release also features landmines on the field that explode if you step on them, and it adds more as the game progresses. Sadly the SNES port doesn’t have those, probably because of censorship by Nintendo.
Still, the way this game uses money to power up your batter or pitcher (or fielders) was a true novelty.
The game is very fast-paced since the stadium crowds are covered in glass, and the ball bounces off it, keeping the play alive and making the action non-stop.
Truly a great effort by the programmers that ported this game. And one worth owning in your SNES collection even if you’re not a fan of the sport.
Super Bases Loaded 2 (Jaleco – 1994)
This game uses a pseudo-3D perspective for batting and pitching, and it changes to a top-view with small sprites for the players once there’s a flyball and you need to cover more area to field correctly.
Jaleco made good use of the Mode 7 graphics and the characters also blend in pretty well from this perspective. When changing to the bird’s eye view it doesn’t feel “off”, and it complements the gameplay quite well.
This game doesn’t have any background music or theme song, except for the small midi tunes you may hear in a stadium like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” that play out from time to time. Still, it doesn’t really need music, since the sound effects are so great and the voiceovers are pretty good for the system. And the lack of a soundtrack like the previous games on this list just adds to the realism and immersion this SNES game tries to accomplish.
Some gamers may prefer the camera perspective of the first game in the series, or the faster gameplay of Super Bases Loaded 3, but the 2nd title on SNES (the 5th overall, since this series started on the NES) is the best mix of good graphics, sound and gameplay out of this 16-Bits trilogy.
Tecmo Super Baseball (Tecmo – 1994)
The 3D look of the field is even better here than in the last game. The game play takes place in a huge field and the camera changes position when you throw the ball and a player catches it, moving around in 90 or 180-degree angles in a way that didn’t seem possible to do by a home console of the early 90s.
Instead of using a top-view perspective with small sprites, the camera follows the ball, and the fielder you control looks pretty big and detailed and is very well animated. The other players in the background scale down as the ball gets farther away from home, but once you throw it back everything scales back smoothly and with no slowdown.
Tecmo developers did a great job taking advantage of the hardware.
For batting and pitching there are lots of options, and here you’re actually able to control a curve ball in mid-air, adding a lot of strategy to the defending part of the game.
When there’s a flyball and you’re defending, a target will appear where the ball will land, and you’ll take control of the fielder closest to the target to move over and catch it. You can even attempt a dive if you’re a little too far.
This game also has the license of the Major League Baseball Players Association, so you can play with actual real-life players, and each of them has their picture and stats. Truly a wonderful title to spend your time on if you’re a fan of old-school Major League Baseball.
Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (Nintendo – 1994)
Probably the best Baseball game in the 16-bit generation, and still one of the best games sport has ever seen. The graphics, audio, and gameplay are outstanding, and while it doesn’t have the pseudo-3D graphics and dynamic camera of the previous two games on this list, it’s the best a 2D baseball title can be.
The players are huge sprites, and very detailed, with many little animations like moving their fingers around the bat, chewing gum, looking around, or tapping their hats.
Nintendo got the MLB license, so you can see the official logos on their uniforms, and while they didn’t have the MLBPA license to use real players (except Ken Griffey), you probably can make out who they’re supposed to be anyway.
The field looks awesome as well, and the background music is quite catchy. It doesn’t get old or annoying like in other baseball games of the time.
The stadiums are different from each other, the same way there are many different body types for the players and not just swapped colors.
The voice-over work is outstanding, like when a player strikes out and yells “Oh, C’mon!”
The fastball realistic gameplay is as entertaining as it was when this game came out, and while it got a sequel developed by Rare (Ken Griffey Jr.’s Winning Run), the gameplay just wasn’t as enjoyable as the pre-rendered 3D graphics had washed out colors and didn’t look as lively and detailed as in this legendary title.
Even if you’re just a casual fan of baseball video games, and only played the wacky arcade ones like Baseball in Wii Sports or Super Mario Sluggers, give this one a chance, and find out why many gamers consider it the greatest baseball video game on the SNES.