Sunday, 13 September 2015

SNES game review 92: Nolan Ryans Baseball

Well I know that the last game I reviewed for the SNES was a baseball game and that hitting one again so quickly might seem a little stale but if you just play along here I have my reasons.

The game I am looking at now is Nolan Ryan's Baseball known in Japan as Super Stadium.  Now this game only came out for the American/Canadian market and Japan. The American version is obviously endorsed by the baseball player Nolan Ryan, who I know absolutely nothing about and who I have to add has no real bearing on this game at all. It has no licensing from any Major League Baseball team or Association which means that Nolan Ryan is the only real name you see here. The thing is though once you actually start the game the players can best be described as sort of little cutesy anime type characters so it really doesn’t matter in the slightest, this is something I will come back to though.

The game was made by a company called Affect which you most likely won’t have heard about before largely because they tended to primarily make games for the Japanese market which were released through various different publishers. This was one of their first games apparently with them producing games from 1990 to 2008 at which point they transitioned in to producing web based applications. Romstar Inc. published the game in America they were a video game distribution company based in Torrance, California that started operating in 1984.  Interestingly they were the original American distributors for SNK games (before SNK of America was founded in 1987). They bit the dust in 1992 though with various key members of staff going on to form mobile phone based games companies.

So what brought me to this game now, well the first thing is that it came out the same year as Cal Ripken Jr Baseball so it’s not like one was later in the systems lifespan and had the advantage of improved techniques, both of these games came out at relatively the same time and yet they tackle things in a slightly different way with Cal Ripken trying its best to look as realistic as it can and this game going for a more cartoon based feeling.

Nolan Ryan's Baseball is fairly straightforward to play. When you are the pitcher, you press a button to pitch the ball, the direction you press will affect the type of throw push down to make it go faster, up to make it go slower, and left or right to make it veer to either side. Bating is very simple in that you press a button to swing but its timing that is the key. It is still not easy to hit the ball but it is a heck of a lot better than in the last title I played. The game also seems to run a lot faster with the average game taking half the time, not only does this make it faster to get through games but it makes it more exciting making it more likely that you will play for longer. Unless you’re a baseball game pro you are still likely to lose the majority of the time but they will be much narrower more realistic loses and as such it won’t feel like getting better is an imposable journey. I also found fielding much easier, in this case I even caught the odd batter out which made me feel a lot better.

One almost off topic question that runs through my mind is how much did Nolan Ryan get paid for this, I know a lot of sports games will have the name of some player or manager stapled on to them in the hopes that it is a road to profit but beyond his face on the cart box and start up screen he simply has sod all to do with it at all, making me prefer the Japanese title super stadium. The teams make me laugh as they simply have letter names the first team I picked was called T team and had players such as CHAD, HERB, RON and OLAF set to play but I could swap them for benched players with names like CHUK,KIRK and DOC.

I really like the cutesy graphical style the game has,the more I play it the more it grows on me and added to it is some music which although not amazing is cheery and whimsical, I think it puts you in the right mood especially when you have the nice digital speech that comes with it starting by announcing ‘’lets play ball’’ and then going on to tell you when there had been a strike or when someone is safe.

Ok so I can gave Cal Ripkin Jr Baseball as semi recommendation. Saying that when it was played with a friend it could be good and giving it a 6 out of 10, now I don’t feel like this game is the best thing ever but I have to admit I found it just that bit more fun, it was quicker and I liked its style, it was equally as fun to play in multi-player but was a fair bit better as a one player game. Still I feel like there must be better out there, so all of this considered I give Nolan Ryan's Baseball a 7 out of 10 and at the moment I would call it the one to get.

Ok so if you’re desperate to own this game how much are you looking at paying for it? Well first things first it didn’t get an English release so you need to be looking at well either an American or Japanese import, meaning you will either need a foreign machine , a modified SNES or an adaptor. Bearing that in mind how much should an NTSC cart cost you? Well I couldn’t find any copies for sale over here as far as American carts went but you could buy a loose cart and pay for it to be posted here for about £10, I however did find a Japanese copy online for about £4 selling in this country and being a sports game I don’t think the language barrier would be too much of an issue.
Ok for now that’s it with the baseball titles, but I will come back to them as I am sure I own at least another two.

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