Baseball Simulator 1.000

 

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Genre: Sports – Baseball

Publisher: Culture Brain

Total time played: 3 hours

Short review: An arcade style baseball game with stat tracking and super powers and one of my favorite sports games on the NES.


Interesting links related to Baseball Simulator 1.000


The First Great Baseball Game on the NES

Each sport has a standout game on the NES. Football has Tecmo Bowl, Soccer has Nintendo World Cup, basketball has Double Dribble, hockey has Blades of Steel. Baseball not only has more games on the NES than any sport (20 games) but also is the only sports game where there isn’t one standout.  Some people say RBI Baseball is the best, others say Baseball Stars, some like the arcade wackiness of Base Wars and then there is me who thinks Baseball Simulator 1.000 is the best of the bunch.

The most fun I’ve had playing against friends 

My brother and I would rent this game constantly and the two of us and my friend Nathan would take turns playing against each other all summer long. This isn’t your typical baseball game as it features the “Ultra” league where the players on each team have super powers. Using the super moves in a two player game is so rewarding. If you are pitching and the bases are loaded it is so satisfying to use a super pitch and guarantee that no runs are scored. It is basically like telling your friend “screw you buddy”. If you are batting and use a super move you are almost guaranteed to get on base. Something about the timing of using the super moves in a two player game is so much fun.

Tell me more about these super moves

Each team in the ultra league starts off each game with a certain number of points (around 120). Each time a super move is used your point total decreases by a few points. There is no way to replenish the points during a game so the timing of using the points has to be strategic. If you use them all in the first half of the game you are probably going to jump out to a big lead but if your opponent doesn’t do the same then the second half of the game is going to be tough. If both the batter and pitcher use a super move on the same pitch a lot of times it is a wash and no one gains an advantage. Each player on a team has pre-determined moves. Some of the moves are as follows:

Batting

  • If you hit a popup several shadows of the ball appear making it hard to determine where the real ball is.
  • If you hit a popup the balls shadows moves quickly in a large circle making it hard to see where the ball will land.
  • A line drive that will push anyone in its way all the way back to outfield wall.
  • A bomb that causes an explosion when the ball lands knocking out anyone in its path.
  • A Tasmanian devil move where the batter spins quickly in a circle creating much more power when the ball is hit.

Pitching

  • Pitch 3 balls at once making it hard to know which is the real ball.
  • Throw a super fast ball up to 137mph (at least that was the fastest I saw)
  • Throw a ball that is solid black and dense causing the batters bat to break
  • Stop pitch, hit A to pitch and A again to pause the ball halfway to the plate, basically a guaranteed strike.

Fielding

  • A super jump where the fielder jumps 100 feet in the air to rob a homerun (I never successfully used this move).

Statistic tracking

This game features statistic tracking over a season making it rewarding to see how your players rank in homeruns, RBIs and batting average compared to other teams. The stat tracking is very basic and only major categories are tracked but it is much better than other games from the same period. I think Baseball Stars offered a deeper statistics tracking experience but I still find this game more fun (at least from a nostalgic point of view).

Season Play

This is the first time I played a season as usually it was just my friends and I playing one off two player games. You have the option to play a season with as few as 5 games or as many as 165.

After playing the 5 season game I can almost guarantee only crazy people could play 165 games season due to one major gaming flaw.

Playing the season you choose the league you want to play, I chose the ultra league as I wanted the ability to use the super powers while playing. The other leagues do not allow the use of the super powers. The Ultra League features 6 teams, you play each team one time during the season and then the top two teams play in the equivalent of the World Series.

But, you have to either watch or simulate every single game played by every single team. In a 5 game season with 6 teams that means you have to simulate 2 games for every 1 game you play. This isn’t the only game that requires simulation of CPU vs. CPU games but I would venture to say it is the slowest simulation of any game ever. A game takes around 20-25 minutes to play, a simulation takes 10-12 minutes. That means after playing a game you have to simulate 2 games that when combined are just as long as a playing a game.

I would usually play on my phone until the simulations were done. I can’t imagine having to simulate games for every team during a 165 game season. Simple math tells me you would spend close to 70 hours watching the scoreboard update a half inning at a time for teams that aren’t you in simulation mode. That means you could beat most RPG’s in the time it would take to simulate baseball games that you aren’t playing. You are looking at close to 150 hours to beat a full season in this game, no thanks.

I also quickly found out that during a season playing against the computer the super moves didn’t really give me any advantage and I found it kind of annoying. Turns out what makes the super moves so much fun is screwing over your friends, the computer doesn’t react the same way which takes away the joy.

Attention to detail

The game features a lot of little things that make it great:

  • The pitchers breath hard and start to sweat as they get tired letting you know it is time for a substitution. (But, they tire out very quickly, sometimes I’d throw 10 pitches and the pitcher would be worn out.)
  • If a runner is on bases the pitcher will do a couple of head fakes and look at the base where the runner is before pitching the ball.
  • There are 6 distinct stadiums, each with advantages and disadvantages. The most fun is the outer space stadium where the gravity is absent meaning you will hit way more homeruns. Unfortunately, during my short season I never once played in space.
  • If you hit the scoreboard with a homerun it breaks a hole in the scoreboard.
  • After hitting a homerun the music changes to the “rally” music heard so often at baseball stadiums around the country.
  • When in the field your fielder will look up and hold up his glove to show you that you are in the perfect position to catch a pop fly.
  • If you are ahead by 10 runs the game ends in a mercy rule. I experienced this quite a bit as a kid playing with friends but playing the computer I never was lucky enough to be ahead by so much to have a game end early.

My team

I’m sure at some point as a child me, my brother and my friend Nathan played as every team looking for the best. But, I can only ever remember playing as HE (the teams don’t have full names). The HE team’s logo is a baseball with a face on it. There were two reasons:

  • The leadoff batter Boyd is the fastest player in the game. If you bunt the ball you are guaranteed a double. You cannot be thrown out stealing bases. If you hit a pop fly that isn’t caught or hit a line drive that goes to the wall you can get an inside the park homerun every time. As kids we always said “Boyd is truckin’ around the bases.” Of all the memories I have of this game saying the word “truckin'” in response to Boyd’s speed is the strongest.
  • The 5th batter Bret hit 14 homeruns in my 5 game season. If you make contact with the ball you are knocking it out of the park. Bret is more dominate in this game than Bo Jackson is in Tecmo Bowl.

Final thoughts

The game isn’t nearly as fun playing one player and the impossibly slow simulation makes playing a season not worth it. But, the attention to detail, fast arcade action and nostalgic memories of screwing over my brother by throwing the STOP pitch makes this game a must play. If I was rating solely on two player play it would be a full 8 heart game, but as you won’t always have a friend to play with I dropped it down to 6 hearts due to the less than stellar one player action.

If you get a chance to play two players may I suggest playing as the HE team and setting the game in outer space. That is a guaranteed good time.

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I have marked all of the players on my team with a blue dot.

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