Hardball II (DOS)

Datafile

Company: Accolade (Developed by Distinctive Software, Inc.)
Year: 1989
Plataform: DOS compatible PC
Controller: Keyboard or joystick.

Foreword

Accolade had in Hardball a successful and great videogame, which was ported to many platforms at the time, it was simple and basic to play, giving the videoplayer a wonderful sensation of playing a baseball match.

Years later, the company develops a new sequel of the videogame, taking advantage of improvements in hardware technology, and trying to use those improvements to give a better simulation experience, even when the original programmer was no longer working for the company.

Game

Hit far the ball… if you can.

The control scheme remains the same as with its predecessor, with better graphics, which were really acceptable, although there were a good amount of years between the releases of both games, this one feels a bit primitive. This is not to say that the graphics are bad, only not as advanced as one would think.

A wonderful feature, used in prior games, is needing to warming up a relief pitcher prior to using him in the match and getting better results from him. It’s not neccessary to do the same with a pinch hitter or runner.

In fact, since the graphics are improved, I got an easier time to hitting the ball, and throwing a pitch. Since the previous version, the interface was clear enough, now it’s better which we, who are bad at batting, really appreciate.

I think this pitcher is over-achieving

The main difference of this game not rely on how to play a match, instead, they are more related to simulation of a tournament. This was a previous feature in other games, so they are not very different in idea, but here are well applied.

Other features of the game are playing in a tournament where the stats are being maintained, or even to create your own team. Of course, the videogame does not allow you to create with surreal stats, like getting more hits than at-bat turns. The instruction manual suggest using stats books, although in these times sites like Baseball Reference, provide good data for this purpose.

Teams

An important feature is that there a greater number of teams available to the videoplayer, instead of All-Stars and Champions, there are more options.

TeamNotes
Accolade Aces Substitute Champions.
Distinctive Stars Substitute All-Stars.
Kansas City Twisters Good hitters
Chicago Windsox Good pitchers
New York Apples Not confuse with the World Team Tennis team.
Boston Minutemen Not confuse with the North American Soccer League team.
Toronto Stealers Fast runners.
Cal Dreamers
Sandlot Swingers Included team to allow a rookie player to get an easier win while getting used to the game.
Well, both teams use the same colors, and they are distinguishable.

It does not matter which team is visiting or is in home, visiting team is always using a white and red uniform, while the home team uses a white with blue. Well, not always.

The game has many executables according to the monitor the computer used, so the videoplayer would have to know what kind of monitor was being connected to the PC. If used a CGA monitor, with the lowest amount of colors at the time, both teams used white and red. The difference is one team uses a red jersey, the other a red cap.

I found this particular situation a bit frustrating, because at the time, was no longer necessary of the user to know that kind of info, there were already programs who took care of that. Although at the time, the monitor (or video cards) not able to display a lot of colors were still commonplace.

Other Plataforms

The videogame was ported to the following platforms:

  • Apple Macintosh
  • Commodore Amiga

Legacy

The videogame, although was not able to replicate the success level of its predecessor, neither was a total failure to stop making sequels.

Actually, the most succesful sequel (in my opinion), Hardball III, improved the new features introduced in this videogame. In particular, the teams had different uniforms and logos.

Epilogue

Just like other videogames in recent entries, I was not able to play this game at the time. I had read about it in a magazine, but was never been able to play it, it attracted me the idea of playing with other teams, and specially the league mode to keep stats.

Frankly, I felt a bit disappointed, since I idealized that videogame, but I felt it far from the coolness of the first videogame, probably spared looking to improve the simulation features. In fact, in my opinion, is really hard to surpass other game at the time in finding the right balance of arcade and simulation.

The game which I was been able to play at the time, was the next sequel, which I enjoyed a lot, and will surely have its own entry.

References

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

MS-DOS computer icon designed by IconShock.

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.

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