Definitive 50 SNES games: #49 Super Baseball 2020
The futuristic sports game Super Baseball 2020 takes 49th on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games. It was released for the Neo Geo in 1991, and ported to the SEGA Genesis and Super Nintendo in 1993.
There are two modes in Super Baseball: the 1P League and a head-to-head single-game two player mode. In the 1P League, the player battles through a “season” of 15 games, culminating with a final match against a super-team, not otherwise available for play in the game.
There are two leagues of six teams each to choose from, the Exciting League and the Fighting League. In multiplayer, competitors can only choose teams from the selected league. In single player, the player must battle through all of the opponents in his or her league before moving on to the world series.
Super Baseball takes the standard baseball formula and gives it a unique, streamlined, and more arcade-y feel. Only one stadium is available to be played in, and it is known as Cyber Egg Stadium. The entire crowd is covered by a protective glass wall, and the ball can be batted onto this covering without the play counting as a home run. Due to the super-human capabilities of the sportspersons, only hitting the ball into the furthest back centre portion of Cyber Egg will register as a home run. Additionally, special zones have been added to the play area to increase the chaos. “Stop” zones will immediately hold a ball and prevent it from moving, possibly ruining a player’s chance of getting on base. Below the Home-run zone, there is a “Jump” zone which allows a player to leap far in the air in order to try to catch hard-hit potential home-runs.
As a game progresses, players earn and lose money by performing plays. For example, striking out a player will result in the pitcher’s team earning $1000, while it will subtract $100 from the team of the player who was struck out. This money can then be used to power up various abilities for players. Humans can have their hitting, fielding, and pitching abilities improved. Robots can be upgraded for general stat boosts, depending upon how much the player chooses to spend.
The futuristic theme of Super Baseball bears heavily on the capabilities of the players. In the not-so far-flung future of 2020, robots have been developed capable of competing against, and even beating, human opponents. The incredible batting and jumping powers of the robots in 2020 means that humans have been equipped with technology allowing them to perform the same feats. For example, all the players in 2020 have jet-packs.
Frankly, Super Baseball 2020 is still a joy to play. In my opinion, the simplified gameplay and wacky additions actually ensure its superiority over modern baseball games. The graphics are clean and stylized, ensuring that they hold up well. Super Baseball is a true hidden gem of the 16-bit era, and an entirely worthwhile pick-up, not only for collectors, but anyone looking for some straight-forward fun on the SNES.
Check back next week for entry 48 on the Definitive 50 SNES games.