Bad News Baseball

Classy, fun title screen. The intro scene is wonderful, too.

“Good stuff.”
– excerpt from the full review, which can be read here

I have heard it said somewhere (probably on Twitter, right?) that the genre of sports simulations is the one category that retro gaming can claim supremacy in. I am not sure I am ready to confidently get behind that train of thought, but you can understand the point: There is something to be said for simplicity over complexity, pixel art over realism, Tecmo Bowl over Madden, lighthearted fun over hardcore competition, and other various factors. Just a thought to consider.

And if you like 8-bit baseball video games, boy, the NES was a treat, wasn’t it? There were about 20 baseball games for the console. More miraculously: Most of them are pretty good!

Bad News Baseball, in my opinion, is one of the better ones. This game hits a sweet spot of compromise between strict, tightly honed simulation and carefree, laidback arcade title. Some of the just-for-fun flourishes are obvious: Those goofy animations. The pink rabbit umpires (?!). The strangely not-quite-fitting background music.

But beneath the hood of this wagon is a robust, capable engine that purrs pleasingly under the colorful action and roars to life with very competent, confident precision. The baseball engine really knocks it out of the park, figuratively speaking.

… I couldn’t resist a baseball pun.

Strange-lookin’ fellow on the left? Yeah, I have no idea.

Read The Full Review For: Analysis of the baseball engine compared to other NES hardball titles, the topic of white supremacy, a little more fun with baseball puns, thoughts on the pursuit of perfection, and other coverage.

NES Gameplay Tips For Bad News Baseball: Practice. Don’t be a neanderthal and think that loading your line-up with as many home-run hitters as you can is the best way to go — trust me, having speed on the base paths is a very important part of offense, too. Due to the physics engine of this game, your baseball tactics are going to be slightly different than in other NES sims; for example, pitching is going to fully rely on trickery and pixel-perfect exploitation of swing-and-miss zones. On defense, take advantage of the A.I.’s odd tendency to send the runner back to first base when there is a tag out there from the oncoming batter.

I love how the players are K.O.ed on the basepaths whenever they get out.

Pitch-perfect grassy pixel background. Also: With enough home runs, eventually the “TODAY’S HOMERUNS” board just says “ETC,” haha.

Password insanity. If you thought Metroid and Kid Icarus were bad…

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