Today, June 20, officially marks the first day of summer (2017). Summer always reminds me of hot dogs, fireworks, SNES games (see The Summer of Imports) and of course, baseball. Although basketball is my favorite sport, baseball has always been my first love. There is something very romantic about the sport of baseball. Tecmo has been well known for their sports games. Tecmo Super NBA Basketball and Tecmo Super Bowl spring to mind. Tecmo Super Baseball was a game I wanted to play back in the day but never did until recently. I’m happy to say Tecmo did not disappoint. This just might be my second favorite baseball game on the SNES… trailing only the almighty Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball. So kick your feet up, grab your peanuts and Cracker Jack and let’s head to the ballpark.
Officially licensed by MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) but not sponsored or endorsed by MLB (Major League Baseball). What this means is you get real pro players but not actual teams. Not a deal breaker by any means. Welcome back, Tecmo Bunny.
Atlanta, not Atlanta Braves. No team names here, just the city. I like the portraits of the players scrolling across the title screen. The menu is classic Tecmo. By the way, it must be said, hell of a “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” rendition here!
Speaking of Atlanta, they had an amazing starting staff that year of 1993. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery combined to win 75 (!) games. Love how each pitcher in this game has a specialty pitch.
Select from all 28 MLB teams at that time. The two Super Stars teams are the All-Star teams, but Tecmo couldn’t secure the rights to the official titles. You can adjust the positioning of your defense to your heart’s content.
Barry Bonds is the best offensive player in the game. Look at those ratings — almost every category is maxed out! This was before steroids. I love how the game rates each player’s abilities as well as show their stats from the 1993 season. Definitely appeals to the hardcore player.
Tecmo Super Baseball allows for two perspectives. Hit select to switch between the two. Personally, I love the pitcher’s view. You can actually see curveballs and changeups move up and down. Pitchers have the option of four pitches. The highlighted one is their specialty pitch. Batters have four choices as well. I use normal most of the time but I like to use power for the big boppers.
Playing view on the defensive side takes a little while to get used to. Most baseball games from that era used the opposite view. Center field is typically north but here home plate is north. Tecmo even called it “The Flying Camera.”
Beautiful seeing the ball dip like such!
Markers help indicate where the ball will land.
National League “Super Stars” go up 1-0. But wait a second here, is that fool seriously trying to make it to third base? OH HELL NO!
Rickey Henderson you ain’t, SUCKA!
Leave it to Ken Griffey Jr. to quickly respond. Home runs are accompanied by a quick popping sound effect. Unfortunately “The Flying Camera” doesn’t show the ball landing in the bleachers. The American League “Super Stars” go up 2-1.
American League showing that it can play small ball just as well as the National League. Crisp single followed by a well executed bunt. OOH! That elbow is going to be sore in the morning…
Baseball games from that era tended to suffer from the lack of ability to score from second base on a single. However, Tecmo Super Baseball actually allows you to score in such situations! It’s my favorite thing about this game.
Nobody will ever accuse this game of having excellent CPU AI. Notice that the third baseman didn’t wait to tag out at the runner at third — in a non bases loaded situation he needed to tag him. To compound the error, he throws it home a smidgen too late. If the third baseman had simply tag my guy out, it would be end of the inning 2-1. Instead, it’s 3-1 with a runner on third. D’oh.
Sacrifice flies were tough to do in many baseball games from this era. It’s the same here. Unless you throw to a bad base. In this case I was trying to gun out the runner from first, but he got back well in time. Sadly for me, the runner from third is taking advantage of my own stupidity…
Although the AI is pretty bad generally speaking, it will seize opportunities should you present them.
Trying to sneak another run across, eh? I don’t think so.
Cutting off a ball from rolling toward the gap with a diving save is sick.
Another diving save… d’oh! It slid under my glove and rolls all the way to the wall. Baseball can truly be a game of inches…
Scoring from first base on a double was also pretty rare for a baseball game from this era. But you can do that here, just like you see in the Major Leagues. It makes playing Tecmo Super Baseball extra fun when the scoring mirrors that of real life.
Another diving save? Nope, BOTCHED! Son of a bitch!
Should have been satisfied with runners on first and second. Foolishly he tried to get to third base but promptly got denied. [Story of your life! -Ed.]
Double play is a pitcher’s best friend. Love the animation of the second baseman leaping to avoid contact with the incoming runner. It’s just like it is in real life.
Check up on your pitcher’s current abilities. It actually shows how diminished your pitcher is currently compared to their original ratings. LOVE THIS! Hard to believe strikeout king Randy Johnson has 0 strikeouts thus far. Well, he quickly rectified that
Tecmo Super Baseball even allows you to switch up the rosters to a certain degree. Want your favorite ball player, Lee Tinsley, to play with the All-Stars? Done!
Unlike many other baseball titles from that era, you can actually score from second base on a single. However, it’s not always guaranteed (as it should be… it’s the same way in real life baseball). It depends on the type of single you hit as well as the jump your runner gets and his speed. Here you see Wade Boggs, not known for his foot speed, getting gunned out at home plate.
Boggs’ speed is about average or slightly below. Belle, on the other hand, is above average. Let’s see the difference below.
Albert Belle beats the throw by a decent margin — speed matters! Scoring from second base on a single is one of my favorite things about playing Tecmo Super Baseball. Most baseball games you can’t score from second on a single. But you can here!
SHADES OF LAZINESS
Tecmo Super Baseball is far from perfect, however. There is only one stance for all the players. The only difference is whether they bat left or right handed, and whether they’re white or African American. Speaking of one, there’s only one ballpark in the entire game. A bit of a downer to say the least since ballparks are one of the unique and beautiful things about baseball. Basketball courts look relatively the same from team to team, but baseball is the one sport where each field has its own special, unique look. Maybe not all 28 parks but would it have killed you Tecmo to give us at least 3?
“ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US”
What’s going on in that first pic there? Talk about giving new meaning to the term “getting to third base” … even though he’s sliding home. [And that second picture says it all about your humor -Ed.]. Hey, you win some, you lose some.
SNES AND GENESIS DIFFERENCES
The Genesis version lacks the innovative “Flying Camera.” Instead it uses the standard baseball view from that era. I personally prefer the SNES version. Here’s an ad that Nintendo themselves ran in gaming magazines back in 1994.
SPEAKING OF ADVERTISEMENTS…
I remember seeing this ad in EGM June of 1994 and being absolutely intrigued. First of all, Tecmo has always made solid to great sports games. And secondly, the ad simply captures that time frame for me. It perfectly depicts a lazy hot summer night in the suburbs of AnyTown, USA. And the feeling of kicking back in your favorite La-Z-Boy to enjoy a good old 16-bit baseball game. The ad got me super hyped to play the game. Hell, the house in the ad even looked exactly like my childhood home! Sadly I never got to play it when it first came out. Such is the joy, then, of being able to finally play all these old games you never did 20+ years ago. In some ways it’s the closest we’ll ever get to a time machine.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
The critics loved Tecmo Super Baseball. In particular, GameFan used to have a GameFan Sports section to their issues. This “cover page” is forever burned into my retina. I just love the way they repeated the image of the goofy looking Tecmo slugger. There’s a pseudo-Garbage Pail Kids aesthetic to it all. EGM gave it ratings of 85 and 89%. GameFan rated it 94%. GameFan reviewer Talko called it the best SNES baseball game. Personally, I disagree — Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball is number one in my book, but Tecmo Super Baseball is easily in my top 5.
Tecmo Super Baseball gets my stamp of approval. Talko said it best. It blends simulation with a quick arcade style that makes playing it rather fun. Games are quick and fast. Best of all is the ability to score from second base on a single and from first base on a double. Very few baseball games from that era did that. The hitting is simple and the fielding is generally very smooth. A couple negatives, however. Every outfielder throws the ball like a bullet, despite varying defensive ratings. It’s pretty much impossible to score on a sacrifice fly. As mentioned earlier, all player stances are identical. Diving is not as smooth and natural feeling as in other baseball games. There’s also only one ballpark and the computer AI is terrible. Then again, most baseball games from the ’90s had awful AI. But these are minor quips. The game delivers otherwise.
The graphics are a bit lackluster. The crowd is indistinguishable. The one ballpark doesn’t have much of a personality to it and the players don’t differ in size whatsoever. But who plays sports games in particular for its visuals? I love the sound in the game, particularly the “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” rendition. The announcer adds a nice touch. The gameplay is what makes this game. Nothing beats seeing the 12 to 6 Uncle Charlie curveball. It actually dips if you play using the pitcher’s perspective (which is my recommendation). On the offensive side, you can select whether you want to bat using power, contact, normal or bunt. It adds to the variety of what you can do. If you’re a baseball fan and you still enjoy playing the Super Nintendo then I can’t recommend Tecmo Super Baseball enough.
What a great rendition
Happy first day of summer!