Sports games have always been popular. Perhaps none more so than those centered around America’s Favourite Pastime.
Since the earliest days of virtual entertainment, baseball has been a mainstay within the video game market, offering would-be managers a chance to take to the field and lead their chosen teams to victory – all from the comfort of their living room sofa. No salary caps. No trade disputes.
While they may have been a little rough at the outset, steady improvements in technology throughout the 80s and 90s allowed the genre to really come into its own before too long, with the SEGA Genesis quickly setting the standard.
This is thanks in no small part to releasing some of the very best cartridge-based baseball games to come out of the 16-bit revolution.
Yes, while I will forever throw my hat in with Nintendo, I will also admit that no one did baseball games back in the day quite like SEGA. Thus, it should come as no surprise that a large library of these games would grace the Genesis before it was retired in 1997.
However, have you ever sat back and wondered which ones remain the true MVPs of the era? Let’s find out right now with a look back at the
5 Best Baseball Games For The SEGA Genesis
Super Baseball 2020
Easily the most over-the-top title on this list, SNK’s Super Baseball 2020 was released in North America to the SEGA Genesis in 1993. While the game does follow the basic rules of baseball, several upgrades are present given its futuristic setting.
Many of the players are robots equipped with super strength, while all the human characters use protective armor, jet packs, and specialty computer sensors for improved offense and defensive abilities.
Money earned in the game allows you to upgrade your players with new and better kit, while the game’s single stadium features everything from protective glass to a reduced home run zone that makes each match-up sufficiently challenging.
Also seeing a release for the SNES and Neo Geo in Japan, Super Baseball 2020 definitely takes America’s Favourite Pastime to a whole new level of ludicrous, but it’s also so unbelievably off-the-wall refreshing that you just can’t help but enjoy it!
Triple Play Gold Edition
Arriving rather late in the Genesis’ life cycle, EA’s Triple Play Gold Edition hit shelves in 1996 and dialed everything fans loved about the series up to an 11. You get a new “pro” difficulty, updated team rosters based on the 1996 MLB season, and a very cool four-player mode that allows multiple friends to take part in the fun.
While the gameplay is pretty similar to other entries in the franchise, Triple Play Gold Edition looks great and does a very good job of immersing fans in the game.
While it was not my favorite baseball game ever, it remains an excellent experience overall thanks to offering more than a few innovative options sorely lacking from most of its contemporaries at the time
Praised by critics as “…a solid baseball effort…”, the game was even nominated for Genesis Game Of The Year by Electronic Gaming Monthly. Not too shabby!
Sports Talk Baseball
Developed and published by SEGA for release on both the Genesis and Mega Drive, Sports Talk Baseball took to the mound in 1991.
The game featured updated rosters, All-Star game editing capabilities, and live play-by-play commentary courtesy of SEGA’s sports talk speech synthesis program – which was first introduced in Joe Montana II: Sports Talk Football earlier that same year.
Announcer Lon Simmons was brought on once again to record unique phrases and play calls for the game. Heck, even Sonic The Hedgehog makes a few cameo appearances in this one!
More than three decades have passed since Sports Talk Baseball, and still it is rated as one of the very best baseball games of all time.
Referred to by many as a real “gem of the genre”, the game is also known for its multiple match modes, MLBPA license, and use of the mercy rule. Yes, while it does adhere to most of the aspects of a professional game, Sports Talk Baseball differentiates itself from the competition by ending a game once one team has scored ten runs or more. This makes Sports Talk Baseball another unique entry to the field that also offers up more than a few innovative surprises.
Tony La Russa Baseball
One of the very best-selling baseball video games of all time, Tony La Russa Baseball is regarded by many as one of the most realistic baseball games on the Genesis thanks to its user-friendly interface and being the first baseball video game to feature a fantasy draft.
Additionally, the artificial intelligence for the game’s computer manager was actually provided by Tony La Russa – who was serving as the real-life manager of the Oakland Athletics at the time.
The game also includes interactive stats, richly detailed ballparks, and a really cool fly ball indicator among others.
Released in 1993, the game was developed by Beyond Software, Inc. and published by Strategic Simulations. Praised by critics on numerous occasions, it would go on to receive a single sequel on the Genesis, while additional platforms such as the Commodore 64, MS-DOS, and Microsoft Windows would also receive ports of their own right up until the loved baseball series ended in 1997.
World Series Baseball
This was my baseball game growing up. Released to the SEGA Genesis in 1994, World Series Baseball hails from the always-on-point BlueSky Software and is one of the most critically acclaimed sports titles to grace the 16-bit console.
It was the first game to feature both licensed teams and players in the same game. Additionally, it came with an updated roster taken right from the 1994 MLB season.
Praised by critics for its strong graphics, realistic gameplay, unique “catcher’s-eye” camera angle, and in-game commentary courtesy of late San Diego Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman, this was a fantastic title that continued to find a mainstay within the field of sports games right up until 2003.
Regarded by many as one of the very best cartridge-based baseball games of the era, it remains a favorite among fans almost thirty years later.
A Game Gear version was also released around the same time as the console counterpart, but you’ll want to track down the Genesis title for the full 16-bit experience!