Written: 3.12.10 Acquired: 3.25.06 Status: Cart only Price: $1 (!)
When Super Baseball 2020 came out nearly 20 years ago in 1991, 2020 seemed like it would never come. It's a bit of a trip to think we're only a short decade from seeing our favorite Major League ball players all replaced with robots who can leap in the air 50 feet to rob potential game winning home runs. 10 more years. OK it's not going to happen, but as a kid this game made you wonder about the future. But is it a faithful port? 10 more years to 2020... time flies!
WAVE OF THE FUTURE
The year was 1993. January to be precise. I'll never forget the night my brother came home toting along with him this super awesome looking EGM issue. I instantly fell in love with the cover. The rich colors, the clash of red, yellow and orange and a promised new mascot hyped to no ends changed life as you knew it. At this time the Street Fighter II boss code rumors were swirling, gamers just came off a grueling summer and winter full of great SFII wars and memories, and the SNES was getting ready to *TOTALLY* take off. The SNES had been in US markets for around 15 months now, and 1993 was poised to be a breakout year
It's hard to put it in words, but it was an exciting time like no other. I was nine-years-old and to me this issue just symbolized the potential of that era. The mag had a futuristic feel. It was just very "en vogue"
It was an exciting time to be an innocent nine-year-old!
My favorite memory of this issue: The 59-pages inside previewing SNES games currently out or on the horizon. Over 300 games! It was insane, and truly a testament of the good times to come. And indeed, 1993 was a great year
But a quick rewind -- back in the early '90s my bro and I came across a Neo Geo MVS innocently enough, and once we played Neo Geo classics such as Fatal Fury and King of the Monsters, man... we never looked back. The awesome two-player co-op modes won us over in a heartbeat. Other games we played and loved includeSengoku Densyo, World Heroes and of course, Super Baseball 2020. I still vividly remember that night we first discovered the Neo Geo cab
There I was, a ripe eight-years-old, at the local Safeway with my brother and dad. It was just another typical Tuesday night in the ole neighborhood. Grocery shopping at 8 PM, trying to convince the old man to buy us those yummy dinosaur fruit snacks, or those teeth-rottingly good WWF ice cream bars, and being ecstatic if Pops caved in to even just one of 'em
We got in line. It was very, very long. My brother and I weren't exactly the most well-behaved kids in the history of kids. We spotted an arcade cab nearby -- where they sell the coal. Dad plopped two quarters in our hands and off we ran, disappearing from that long and boring line like two chalky ghosts in the night
The rest, as they say, is history
Inside that classic EGM issue #43 was a preview of 59 SNES games either out recently or on their way. I absolutely loved the presentation -- it just had a very "futuristic" feel to it all and was a sign of the times to me as a youthful nine-year-old boy. My bro and I were both incredibly excited seeing two of our favorite Neo Geo arcade games being ported to our beloved SNES: Fatal Fury and King of the Monsters! Oh how we drooled about having the ability to play the classic two player co-op mode in the comfort of our living room and PJs. Sadly, both ports tanked, lacking the two player co-op modes we had been clamoring for. The first two Neo Geo ports on SNES were just not meant to be. Though I love KOTM so much that to this day I still have a special spot for the SNES port; memories of it being my first video game purchase ever
Of course, ya know me, I gotta give my ol' favorite World Heroes a special shout out. LOVED the arcade, and praise the Lord, loved the awesome SNES port as well (that's my opinion and I'm sure sticking to it!)
Fuuma's classic Dragon Punch vs. Dragon's epic Dragon Kick!
Following the disappointing Super Nintendo ports of Fatal Fury and King of the Monsters, Super Baseball 2020 found its way on rental game shelves the world over in the summer of 1993. My brother had me immediately rent the game and I'm proud to say the third time was the charm. What we remember had made the arcade game so fun, was left intact in the SNES port. Fond memories of playing it for the weekend that we had it. Now flash forward some 13 years later...
Saturday, March 25, 2006 at 12:27 PM... I left my house that Saturday afternoon full of hope and optimism. Just a little over two months prior, on January 17, 2006, I experienced a Super Nintendo Resurrectionfor the ages. Burnt out on Saturn gaming, it was on that long University winter break that the urge to play my childhood favorites as well as discover the gems I missed back in the day hit me so hard I could no longer deny it. But I digress. Back to March 25. The night before, Friday night March 24, I made my local rounds on Craigslist and found an ad about some guy liquidating all his old 16-bit games. I emailed him that very day and he responded by asking me to come visit his store (about a twenty-five minute drive) on Saturday to see which SNES games he had. He promised he would give me a good deal
And so the next morning I was off on yet another trek. I remember those early days very fondly. I had just come back into all things Super Nintendo. And having a want list of HUNDREDS meant a good chance I was always going to find something. That's a pretty cool feeling lemme tell ya! It was a peaceful March Saturday morning. Listening to my music, driving to reclaim bits and pieces of my childhood... great stuff
When I arrived, I met Aaron, the guy whom I had been in email contacts with. Hmmmm. Home boy looked oddly familiar... I couldn't escape that feeling that I'd seen this fool somewhere else before.... as I browsed his SNES offerings it suddenly hit me. Holy crap. I had a college class with this guy Spring 2002! In fact, not only were we classmates, but we were group mates for the final! How's that for a weird little story?
He was looking at me sort of funny too. It had been four years since we seen each other. Now I remember crystal clear, I thought to myself standing there. For our final, which we had to share with the class one of our hobbies/passions (it was a rec class), I talked about my love for playing basketball. At that time my love with the game was at its peak (thanks partly to Coach Butler and 9/11). Meanwhile, Aaron shared with the class his passion for video games, which included Nintendo, Sega and as I now recall it, the Atari Jaguar
Standing there recalling to myself who this guy exactly is, almost on cue, he came over and broke my train of introspective thought
"Finding everything good?"
I asked if he remembered that class we took
"Man, I knew you looked familiar. ... Steve, wasn't it? Yeah I totally remember that class... easiest A+ of my life! How the hell ya been?"
We chewed it up for a while. So random and so crazy! Turns out Aaron's dream has always been to own his own game store, and he does. He was the manager of this little store, at just 22 years young. I was happy for him. We were never best buddies in college, but we were cool, and just seeing him randomly on this day and finding out that he achieved his dream at just 22 years old, that was nice. It's always nice to run into an old face and find them doing well in the game of life
I brought these four to the counter. I was so excited to find Knights of the Round; my first time spotting a copy in the wild. Good memories of it, as well as Super Baseball 2020. Never did really play the SNES port of Power Instinct, but had always wanted to as I was a bit of a fan of the arcade. Aaron gave me a good little deal. KOTR was price tagged at $8 but he gave it to me for $6. PI at $8 but he took $4. SB 2020 went for a measly $1 (!!!) and I got Super Soccer Champ for $2. What a wild trip, all courtesy of my checking Craigslist the night before, *JUST* to see if I might come across any enticing SNES ads. Little did I know, I would run into an old face from my early college days, see that he was doing well and that life had been good to him, and get a nice little deal in the process. Driving home that Saturday afternoon, I rolled down the windows, blasted the music, and just digested what had just gone down. I looked at the games sitting on my passenger seat, smiling as old fond memories of playing these games crept back up to the surface. Ahhh. It was the perfect drive home. Those early hunting days... man.... I'll never forget them. The feeling of excitement in the air... reclaiming my childhood.... running into old faces... GOOD TIMES... DAMN GOOD TIMES
HE HITS IT HIIIIGH...
... HITS IT DEEEEEEP... [That's what she said -Ed.]
... IT ISSSSSS...
... OUTTA HEREEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!
Followed by ye ol' classic giant scrolling title!
Gotta love that classic Super Nintendo controller look
FAIR OR FOUL?
In the year 2020, baseball rules and regulations have drastically changed. Now the emphasis is on a large fair playing field, making action quicker and more exciting. The foul zone has now been reduced to strictly behind the catcher. One can score hits all over the field!
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
Also new in 2020 is the usage of money to upgrade your robot players into super soldier robots of destruction. Earn or lose money on positive and negative plays alike. Adds a bit of depth and strategy to the ol' baseball formula. Insert Pete "Hit King" Rose joke here....
Indeed it does. You know it does
Exceptional out's are captured by these special cutscenes. Just like the arcade game!
Check out the timing on this one. The ball should sail off those fancy blue glass plates for a single or double, but alas...
Ah, the agony of defeat, and the thrill of victory
Some robots are faster than others
"AW C'MON! YER BLIND UMP! I WAS SAFE BY A MILE! YA GOTTA BE KIDDIN' ME!"
"AW C'MON! YER BLIND UMP! HE WAS OUT BY A MILE! YA GOTTA BE KIDDIN' ME!"
ARMOR OF 2020
Ephesians chapter six talks about putting on the full armor of God to combat the enemy in the spiritual realm -- the belt of truth, shield of faith and all that. It's a decision an individual must make every single morning he or she wakes up. Just like how a soldier doesn't go to bed with his gear on, in the morning it's up to each discerning individual to pick his or her path
In the year 2020, our baseball players have their own special armor as well. Take a look
Shield of Faith -- don't leave home without it
NEO-TITANIUM ALLOY BAT FTW!
Armor for the pitcher and batter -- multi-sub eye -- say whaaa??
With your rocket pack and the JUMP ZONE, anything's possible!
THEM FANCY COOL AS THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PILLOW BLUE GLASS PLATES
One of the coolest things about Super Baseball 2020 for me as a kid was NO DOUBT about it those futuristic looking blue glass plates that cover the audience. Not just used to cosmetic purposes, in the year 2020 balls that are hit on the glass plates are in play! This leads to what I like to call "Wall Ball" and balls potentially rolling down several planes of glass for miles and miles, allowing you to stretch singles into doubles or even triples! No other baseball game offers this, so it made SB 2020 very unique and fun to play
Home runs in 2020 are delegated to dead center
Oi! JUUUUUUST foul!
You gotta love Wall Ball. Hits to the far reaches of the stadium that bounce slowly off the glass as your men round the bases is utterly and completely satisfying. For this feature alone, Super Baseball 2020 is a winner!
Super Baseball 2020: Balls to the walls fun [You're fired -Ed.]
BTW do they remind anyone else of Lego's colored glass?
Don't get me started on LEGOs now. As a kid I totally ate that crap up, not literally. One of my favorite aspects of Lego other than the huge bases and fortresses you could play with for hours and hours, were the cool colored glass plates they had. Playing Super Baseball 2020 really harkens me back to those innocent childhood days playing with my brother's precious LEGOs as soon as he left for school and I was still four years old. One of my favorite sets that I never got to buy was the Metro PD Station. It was one of those $66 suckers that I could only dream of owning back in the day. It looked like an absolute blast to play... all those glass windows and doors... ahhhhh such ripe opportunities for hundreds of different scenarios a kid could fool around with for weeks and weeks. The good old days eh?
LEGOs ruled the day back in the glorious '80s
Two simple options. No 162-game season here, just a simple 15 game one
"OHHHH YEEEEAH BROTHA! DIG IT!"
"WHAT CHU GONNA DO BROTHA WHEN THE MEGA POWERS RUN WILD ON YOU!"
Talk about a 1989 flashback. Hogan's still wrestling today in TNA!
Select from 12 teams spanning two leagues. My personal favorite = Taiwan Mega Powers
Ninja Black Sox has got to be one of the coolest baseball team names of all time, maybe ever. The ?? ratings indicate the team's "chance" AKA luck factor. Let's take a closer look
First up we have the Exciting League. These teams are, er, exciting...
Ah so they're like the Yankees of recent years eh?
Imagine telling a chum you're a Tokyo Samurai... suh-weet
Now imagine saying you're a Naples Seagull. Not quite the same punch eh?
Liu is a LEGEND! That guy is a doubles/Home Run machine, 'scuse the pun
Gotta love the random "run the 50 in under four seconds" stat, heh
Eh... they're just a bunch of girls [Oh no you dih-ent -Ed.]
These teams always put up one heck of a fight [You're fired -Ed.]
Pretty cool to see them reference to the New York Yankees
NINJA BLACK SOX
Coolest baseball team name EVER
I'll take my very own Lu against ol' Jon any day of the week!
In the '90s women actually were -- [Don't you dare start! -Ed.]
Jack of all trades... except Seagulls do it better by one. D'OH!
A team for the Rickey Henderson fanatic
Check out how the players come to the plate. 10 more years, people... just 10 more years...
Throughout the course of a game, robots will lose energy and give warning signs before completely breaking down. Be sure to replace them as once they start to leak, so to speak, they become close to ineffective (hit/power/speed all drastically dip)
Uhhhh, I think I'm gonna go with Lu there... [I'd go with Song if I were you... -Ed.]
Sit back and enjoy the game of the century!
All games in 2020 are played exclusively in the Cyber Egg Stadium. So gone are unique team stadiums and home field advantage. It is a bit of a shame but the Cyber Egg Stadium's definitely a cool place to play ball
Apparently, even in the year 2020 some things never change. Seems like in the offseason the Cyber Egg Stadium also acts as a football stadium. Oakland A's and Florida Marlins, I'm looking at you
"It's at the 10... the 20... it could... GO ALL THE WAY!"
In 2020 home runs only count when hit to dead center
[Tsk tsk, I told 'chu you shoulda went with my guy Song... -Ed.]
When you see that blazin' trail, it means $$$
Hurry, you headless faceless 'bot! Get in position! NOW JUMP I SAY! *CLUNK* D'OH!
It's good to be fashionably late in 2020
A long, slow wall ball hit > Home Run. Yes I'm sick
Indeed. Bounce and roll my friend, bounce and roll [You need help -Ed.]
Trash talkin' while all this is going on is half the fun!
You can call "time out" and replace your pitcher, fielders, base runners or hitter with a robot off the bench, or upgrade if you have the cash
Oooh, look at its brand new shiny exterior... be a shame to ruin it...
YOU BLOODY MURDERER!!!
Hmmm, I wonder what 'botslaughter gets ya in 2020? [We'll see in 10 years -Ed.]
REVENGE OF THE BOTS V: BALLS TO THE WALLS
With the bases loaded there are few things more satisfying in video games, really
Check out how far this ball travels...
Not stopping for the first row...
... Nor the third row...
After scrolling for eons and eons, it finally lands somewhere on the 8th glass plane and begins to bounce off several on the way down. Meanwhile the runners are circling the bases like mad ants and the opposition can't do a DAMN thing about it but wait and curse... OH YEAH BABY!
For this unique gameplay feature alone, Super Baseball 2020 delivers
6 to zip and STILL bouncing!
I'm not kidding you, the fun that comes from the trash talking in these such moments against a friend or brother is immensely awesome. My bro and I totally got our kicks off on taunting one another on these bases loaded slow and long wall ball hits. Such a cool and unique feature made up for the game only having one stadium for all teams
7 zip and STILL no end in sight... wow. GOOD STUFF
Another unique aspect: STOP signs in the field
Instead of a lame 7th inning stretch, in 2020 the 7th inning means the WILD CARD INNING where both teams receive a major dosage of added power
Ya gotta admit, she kinda does resemble ol' Samus
Uh oh... crap. Oh well, I'm up 9 nada anyway...
And there goes my shutout. Hey, mercy still exists in 2020 [Riiiight -Ed.]
Fireworks down 9-2? What bitches
Samus collapses in anguish as the batter celebrates his moment of glory. Foolish git. Doesn't he know the unspoken rules of baseball?
He's SOOO getting beaned next time up... mwahahaha...
MEGA POWERS WIN IT ALL
I played a 15-game season with the Mega Powers and was neck and neck with the all-female team the Battle Angels. The most epic game of the season came in the 13th game of the season when my Mega Powers (10-2) went head to head with the Battle Angels (10-2). This was a HUGE make or break game. I was up 6-4 going to the bottom of the 9th, but the Angels scratched back to tie it 6-6. Son of a mother! I ended up surviving a barn burner 7-6 after 13 innings and five (!!!!!) dead robots. It was one of those epic games where you stepped back and you go, "Whoa... that was SICK." I finished the season 13-2 and defeated the special team in the Championship game
WITH NEWER TECHNOLOGY COMES SOME DOWNSIDES...
Some folks believe with the explosion of the internet, human interactions have dwindled and too many people are engrossed in emailing, facebooking, twittering and texting that face-to-face has taken a backseat to the advent of technology. 2020 promises some exciting new changes for the better, but here are some gameplay quirks that I found to be a negative
No tagging back. If you attempt to advance on an outfield out, there's *NO* turning back. I guess the robots were programmed with this flaw and no one simply caught it before they left the lab
Inability to change the batting order or fielders
Zero individual stat tracking whatsoever
You cannot run to the next base until the other runner passes it. With a fast robot trailing a pair of slow-as-molasses-in-January robots, this is more than a mere annoyance
Bet this ad took them all of half a minute to put together. Still, gotta love the classic 2020 look they stayed true to
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
The SNES port of Super Baseball 2020 was well received for the most part. The arcade original caught many eyes for its different feel that even non-baseball fans can enjoy. Let's see how the game ranked in the eyes of GameFan and Super Play Magazine
GameFan: 70, 76, 80, 82
Super Play: 85%
The Japanese SNES version came out March 12, 1993. Wow, that's EXACTLY seventeen years ago today. I swear I did *NOT* plan this. Sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction...
It was quite the thrill seeing this childhood favorite game at my college buddy's game store four years ago. Seeing Super Baseball 2020 in the wild brought back a flood of fond memories of playing the Neo Geo cab in Safeways and of renting the SNES port. It was an even bigger thrill playing it again not too long ago for the first time in nearly 17 years. The things I remembered about the game remained intact; it was awesome to see that my memories did not cover for a bad game. Being that the game takes place in the year 2020, there's a neat little futuristic feel to the whole game... from the robots to the sleek looking blue glass planes that cover the entire Cyber Egg Stadium to the interesting financial aspects that bring a new dimension of strategy and cunning planning to the old baseball game formula. Put together, it all works, and works rather well. I cannot stress how fun it is to play this game against a like-minded friend or sibling. Sure, there are only 12 teams, only one stadium and too many same-y looking players (R2-D2 wannabe, guy and girl robots), but somehow, as the game unfolds you don't care much about what isn't there, but rather what is. And what is, is a fun game, baseball fan or not
Is it the pinnacle of baseball games? No. It's certainly not without its gameplay flaws as noted earlier, but you simply won't find quite another baseball title like this on your 16-bit Super Nintendo. Any time a game can put itself in a "special class" of its own, and is fun to play, it's going to earn bonus points with me. Nothing beats hitting those scorching wall ball hits. The best ones are the rare hits where the ball doesn't bounce... but rather ROLLS slowly down the glass planes. These hits lead to inside the park home runs, but are *extremely* rare, which makes it all the more satisfying and noteworthy when it does happen. Aside from the missing bombs and of course, some frames of animation and speech, this is a faithful translation from where I sit; certainly moreso when compared to the terribly disappointing SNES ports of Fatal Fury and King of the Monsters. The third time was the charm. The graphics are big and colorful. There's a certain solid simplicity to Super Baseball 2020's visuals. The game sound is nothing to write home about, but not something I hated. The bottom line is, it's just a fun little, quirky, casual baseball game. It doesn't touch the epochal Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball, but for a decent alternative with a neat futuristic ambiance and quirks you just won't find elsewhere, Super Baseball 2020 smashes a solid double in the bottom of the 9th