Bases Loaded (Nintendo NES)

Datafile

Company: Jaleco
Year: 1987
Other Names: Moero!! Pro Yakyuu
Plataform: Nintendo NES
Controller: Default controller of the console.

Foreword

The stadium looks really big

The craze for home-console videogames has taken Japan by storm, and North America was following its steps at later 80s.

In the land of the rising sun, the competition for baseball videogames is quite fierce with titles to spare. At bat comes the entry for a game for a game of the company Jaleco known in occident as Bases Loaded. A reference to a baseball term when in every base there is a runner. In other countries may be known differently.

This game belongs to the line Moero this company developed for the Famicom (or NES) where many of them were sold at the american continent.

Game

OK, I’m generous, take a good ball.

The videogame takes elements already used in other baseball videogames from arcade, computers or consoles.

One of this games is Hardball, where it was taken the perspective pitching/batting, even the control mechanics of pitching and batting are the same, indicating with the cross where to throw the pitch, or directing the bat swing.

Pitching is quite similar to Hardball: first the type of pitch must be selected, then pressing the pitching button, and later the direction of the pitch. Be careful, because some pitchers can bean the batter.

I found two particular features interesting. The first one is that there can be players with different skin colors in the same team. Meaning afroamerican and/or caucasian. In other videogames all the players in the same team had the same skin color. The second one is the perspective changes a bit if the pitcher is left-handed or right-handed, which I consider a great feature. Compare the image at the top of the entry with the one at the top of this section to catch the differences in perspective.

Once the batter puts the ball into play, the game switches to a full view of the field, which is a bit far which gives a really good perspective of what’s going on, even if the fielders looks a bit like smurfs. This way you can get a really good idea of where the fielders and runners are.

Esta pantalla tiene algo de acción.

While fielding it keeps the classic control scheme of indicating to which base throw the ball with the cross of the controller. But you can do it with any of the two buttons, while not being to automatically run to a base. Instead, the videogamer has to take the filder towards the base. I particulary did not like this, because it was already used in previous videogames and at the time, was a sort-a-kind standard.

A nice feautre added, was handling the electronic board. In certain events of the games, like when a batter hits a homerun, or when there is a bench-clearing due to a pitcher hitting a batter (this can include ejected players) a closeup of the board shows these scenes. This element I did not see in previous games, but was clearly present in later games.

The japanese version is practically the same, sans a different title screen.

Finally, it’s possible to play a season of 100+ games, where after a finished game it shows a password which can be used at the start of the game. In theory, if the videoplayer wins 80 games, it can be proclaimed champion.

Teams

In the western market, the videogame did not acquired a license either from Major League Baseball, or from the Players Association, so only ficticious teams are available. When the players looks at the team select screen only the first letter of the teams are shown, and also, it appears to be a constraint of only using 6 characters in the names. We’re gonna give a brief description of all the teams, but you can in this link more detailed rosters:

OK, es una D, pero NO son los Dodgers
  • Philly – Probably the best pitching staff in the game, but IMO their weak spot is the bench.
  • Kansas – Excellent pitchers, the first half of the lineup is really good, but the second half and the bench is the exact opposite.
  • Boston – Team with good offensive power, and acceptable pitching. Funny it uses the Yankees’ colors.
  • N. Y. – The best all-around team in the game, really ballanced. Funny it uses the Red Sox’ colors.
  • Miami – The best starting pitchers in the videogame, the releivers not so, also with a batting lineup mediocre at best. Interesting name choice, considering the year when the videogame was released.
  • D. C. – Really powerful at bat, with weak pitching. Bench to cry.
  • Jersey – Ballanced team, with no shines and no visible weakness. Their main problem is their bad players, are really bad.
  • Hawaii – Just like D.C. with a weaker hitting and pitching, but with better bench. By the colors used, probably it was inspired by Houston Astros.
  • Utah – Really good, and really bad, pitchers. Solid offensive lineup without being spectacular. Bench irrelevant. I don’t get it why this name was used.
  • L. A. – Weakest offensive batting team, but can produce a lot of hits. Don’t expect good pitchers.
  • Texas – Just like L.A., with a modicum more of power, and slightly better pitchers.
  • Omaha – Think of it as the opposite of Utah, with a better pitching staff, but really bipolar offensive power. Probably named after the city where it is played the College World Series.

In the japanese version, it uses the first letters of the team’s nicknames of the Japan league. It’s interesting that in the land of the rising sun, there are not many troubles to use the names (or nicknames) of the teams, because other videogames did the same. I don’t know if the rosters are the ones from the year of the videogame release. If you are curious these are the teams:

G – Yomiuri GiantsL – Seibu LionsT – Hanshin Tigers
C – Hiroshima Toyo CarpW – Yokohama Taiyo WhalesD – Chunichi Dragons
S – Yakult SwallowsBu – Kintetsu BuffaloesBr – Hankyu Braves
O – Lotte OrionsF – Nippon-Ham FightersH – Nankai Hawks

Looks like the teams share the same pros and cons like their western counterparts.

Other Plataforms

Nintendo Game Boy

This is interesting. Jaleco did develop in 1989 another baseball videogame for this console in Japan called Baseball Kids GB with many differences when compared to Bases Loaded.

I don’t know the reason, but the title was sold in western countries with the name Bases Loaded. Even when the two videogames were really different: only two teams can be chosen, the batting perspective is also different, and the pace also.

I suppose that the company being the owner of both games has the right to advertise and sell them as they see fit, even changing their names between them. I would fell robbed when acquiring this game, specially when other NES videogames ported to the GameBoy were almost identical.

Arcade

Get ready for the homerun derby

There was a port to arcade machines with the name of Moero!! Pro Yakyuu Homerun Kyousou, which basically was a homerun derby.

You can choose a team from the pool of japanese teams and it’s possible to keep playing while the players keeps hitting homeruns. The game being in japanese, I don’t get it at all when the game is over, but if you hit many homeruns, you can keep playing. When you reach certain amount you change the stadium, and is slightly harder to keep the pace.

Looks like if you fail 3 times to hit a homerun in a stadium, the game is over.

I found it funny, even a bit simple. I don’t know if used in a TV eDerby would work.

Legacy

Just like other similar games at the time, there were sequels for this game. For the NES there were 3, but none of them had the same level of success the original had. Particularly the second one was so different, that probably will have its own entry.

There were also sequels for the Super Nintendo called Super Bases Loaded, ending the series with ports for the Sony PlayStation 1 and Sega Saturn in 1996.

Epilogue

The game has really interesting features, but to me, it falls short (barely) compared to other titles available for the same console.

The idea of a full torunament is funny, specially with the password feature. Featuring the batter and pitcher perspective, even if not totally new, it’s improved and polished enough.

References

Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.

Console Icons taken from Retroarch.

Image with teams rosters created by and it’s hosted in Gamefaqs.

EstadioRetro

Informatic guy and fan of retro videogaming. Mexican and spanish. I like to drink good coffee. My favorite sport is baseball, but I like to watch others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *