Bad News Baseball is a game I’ve wanted to see released on the Wii’s Virtual Console since the VC was first announced way back prior to the Wii’s release. It still hasn’t been released on the Wii VC, and it isn’t likely to be released for the Wii VC or any forthcoming Wii U VC. So I had to purchase a Retro Duo NES/SNES Player, and a used copy of Bad News Baseball, in order to once again enjoy this gem of a baseball game. All in all, $65 was spent. So, how does the game I fondly remember playing stand the test of time? Let’s find out right now!
In a way, this game was exactly as I remembered it. That is to say, it’s still a good and fun baseball game featuring little league players and rabbit umpires. Graphically, it’s exactly what you would expect 8-bit NES goodness to look like after 20 years. The game looks good for the time period we’re talking about, and still is good enough to be both playable and enjoyable… something that cannot be said for a few other NES games, but that’s for another time.
Then there’s the aspects of the game that I had forgotten. Your fielders are insanely slow, and when you move one, all of the move-able players also move in the same direction. This mass moving of players means you have to multi-task with your eyes and watch all of them, lest you have players ending up in the way of other players when you’re trying to throw the ball. Nothing makes you quite as mad as when the ball is hit to third, and your short stop gets in the way. You go to throw the ball to first to get the runner out, your short stop is standing there to catch the ball, so now you have to make him throw the ball to first. If you’re really unfortunate, your pitcher will be standing near the first basemen and right in the way, which means he’ll catch the ball and you’ll once again have to throw it to first with him. That’s four players involved in one routine hit to third and trying to get the runner out at first. Usually, you’ll be able to still get the runner out, that is unless it is one of the teams fast players, then you’ll just throw your controller down in frustration.
Thankfully, this doesn’t happen all the time or even a majority of the time. Nevertheless, it does happen far more than I would like for it to.
Batting is pretty damn simple, although it was the NES and thus you didn’t have but two buttons not including the D-pad… and only one of those buttons is used for batting. The thing about batting that I don’t particularly care for is bunting. In order to bunt, you have to perfectly time your swing and let off the button at just the right time, which is quite hard to do on a consistent basis and most especially in a clutch we’re your looking to advance a few runners at the expense of one.
Another thing I don’t care for us running the bases. You’re players will run automatically once the ball is hit, it’s up to you to make them turn around and run back in the case of a fly ball. Often, the CPU will make a bullshit catch and you’re runner is already on the bag, and once that happens, there is no going back. Also, it’s pretty easy to have multiple runners running at the same time, when you only mean to have one running. This can create a little jam that will royally screw you over if you don’t watch it.
With batting though, hitting home-runs are fun; not necessarily easy per say, but fun. You’ll get a cool little animation with your team celebrating, and if you get a good hit on the ball to send it out of the park, you’ll get an awesome little scene with the balling flying in space having completely left the Earth. Absurd? Yes, but it’s awesome and fits right in with the cartoonish aspects of the game.
If you still have a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or a Retro Duo, this is definitely a game worth having in your collection. There are aspects of it that are highly flawed and will quite often make you mad by costing you a for sure out or giving up a run that should not have been given up. But the game is almost 20-year-old, so it does deserve some leeway in that regards. Flaws or not though, it’s still a super-fun game that can be played very quickly.
Bad News Baseball gets a four out of five: GREAT.