Publisher: Culture Brain
Year of Release: 1990
Date Reviewed: 2-1-98 ("Old Era")
This game changed nothing, and it changed everything about what we thought we knew to be the standards of a baseball game. It reaffirmed. It revolutionized. It left well-enough alone. It tweaked with the standards. And when all was said and done, no gamer would ever look at baseball in the same way.
Many people, myself included, have long maligned baseball as one of the most boring spectator sports in existence. Most NES translations of it did little to improve on that matter, but, pack-rat that I am, I bought them anyway. They were fun for a brief period of time, but I soon would find myself putting games like RBI Baseball into my tupperware container/game storage unit, and not retrieving them for months on end. Then came Baseball Simulator 1.000, and nothing would ever be the same again. I found myself watching the makeshift rosters with great interest, and marvelling at the "Ultra Plays". That's what BS1K did for me -- it took the boredom out of baseball.
The appearance of this game is very similar to previous NES adaptations of baseball. The players are disproportionate and funny looking. The pitching/hitting perspective is the same as its forefathers (behind the batter.) The interface of running and throwing is largely the same. The non-Ultra League music is akin to the standard ball park medley. But that is where the similarities stop.
Of course, the trademark of this game -- what sets it apart from all other baseball games -- is found in the "Ultra Plays". Essentially, these plays, which are specific to their respective players, do strange things to the ball. Hyper Hit allows the player to hit the ball with double his normal force. Missile Hit is a line-drive that carries anybody foolhardy enough to try to field it to the back wall. Freak Hit bounces in unpredictable directions, without regard for the laws of inertia. Bomb Hit explodes when it hits the ground. Tremor Hit causes an earthquake that renders all defenders motionless when it hits the ground. And the list goes on from there, including a myriad of "Ultra Pitches", and the less popular "Ultra Fields".
However, to say that only the Ultra Plays individuate Baseball Simulator 1.000 from all other baseball games does not do justice to the care that was taken in producing this game. The music in the "Ultra League" provides a sort of technological and fast-paced feel, but does not simultaneously lose any of that man-on-second charm of every other game of its kind. In addition, there are a total of six distinct playable fields: an urban one, a field by the harbor, the ubiquitous dome, a dirt field, a plain grass field, and a stadium floating in space. Also, this was the first NES baseball game with a season option that followed each player's individual statistics. There are Top 10 Batting Averages, Home Runs, RBIs, ERAs, etc., that add to the feel that the player is truly in control of the team. This is the first baseball game I can think of in which I actually cared about the players. I tried to give Bret a season in which he hit a home run at every At Bat, and succeeded. I tried to carry the rag-tag Homers to the Ultra League Championship, and did. The success of the players and teams meant something to me, both because their stats were manipulable and they were individualized by their respective Ultra Plays. This game gave me, and all its players, something to shoot for beyond simply nine innings of play.
My Score: 9.5
Count the seams... Count the seams...
Bret busts out the whuppin' sticks... That is the proper euphemism, isn't it?
I made it!
And countless fans leap into oblivion to catch the errant home run. ESPY WARNING!
Return to the main page - The NES
Return to the review index - Game Reviews