It’s no secret that baseball has some of the most dedicated fans in all of the sports. From watching games on TV and tracking stats online to playing video games based on Major League Baseball teams, players and stadiums, there’s seemingly no end to how fans can show their love for America’s pastime. And while the MLB has its share of detractors – mainly due to a lack of parity across teams – it should be noted that the league is arguably one of the best-run organizations in professional sports today.
While this list isn’t comprehensive by any means (we could have easily added another dozen games), here are the seventeen best major league baseball video games:
1. RBI Baseball
The first major league baseball video game to feature real MLB players, RBI Baseball, was released in 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Developed by Namco and published by Atari Games, it laid the groundwork for a franchise that would release multiple iterations over the next decade.
The original RBI Baseball is considered by many to be one of the best baseball games ever made—so much so that it inspired a reboot in 2017 (which we reviewed). The 2018 version is available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U; an updated version will launch on May 23rd for Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.
2. Intellivision World Series Baseball
Intellivision World Series Baseball was a major league baseball video game released for Intellivision in 1979. It was the first baseball video game released for Intellivision and the first sports video game to use 16-bit graphics. The game also featured real player names and team colors from that year’s Major League Baseball season.
3. Baseball Stars
Baseball Stars is the first baseball game to feature a battery backup, which allows for saving files. The game was released in February of 1989 and has become one of the most popular SNK titles ever. It was developed and published by SNK, who would release many other classic sports titles such as Super Baseball 2020 and King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing (which you should play if you haven’t already).
The first version of Baseball Stars was released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System peripheral. Still, it didn’t make it out West until 1991 as part of a four-game compilation cartridge that also included Soccer League Champions Field Hero ’91, Super Sidekicks Football, and World Cup Soccer Special Edition.
4. Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball
Released in 1999, this was the first entry in SCE San Diego Studio’s MLB Slugfest series. It featured all of the logos and uniforms from Major league baseball teams and nearly all of the players on those rosters—even those who weren’t on their teams at the time. The video game was also notable for being one of the earliest sports titles to feature online play.
5. MLB ’09: The Show
MLB ’09: The Show is the first major league baseball game for the PlayStation 3 video game, and it’s also the first to feature a full season mode. You can play through all 162 games in a season and even make trades with other teams. The pitching system is new, too; you have to control both your pitches’ speed and their curve (or location). It was named best sports game at the Spike Video Game Awards in 2009.
6. Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey, Jr.
Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey, Jr. was released in 1994 by Sony Imagesoft for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game. It is the only baseball game on this list that is not a modern sports simulation game and also one of two games featuring Ken Griffey Jr., as he was already an established star when this game was released.
The game allows you to choose from any team in Major League Baseball and play through a complete MLB season with them, with each team having its own unique lineup and roster. The gameplay isn’t exceptional: you can choose between hitting right-handed or left-handed, swinging at different pitches using one button (for home runs), stealing bases, and more basic options common in many other sports titles such as Madden or FIFA. However, this title stands out from others because of its unique feature where only Ken Griffey Jr. can hit home runs whenever he wants!
7. Tony La Russa Baseball
Tony La Russa Baseball is your best bet if you’re looking for a video game with many options and different ways to play. Released in 1992 for the Sega Genesis and Super NES, this game offers everything from exhibition games to an extended season mode that lets players take their team through over 1,000 games to the World Series. If that’s not enough Major league baseball action for you, there are playoffs, league championships, and even international tournaments where players can compete against teams from around the world.
Best of all: It’s easy! This game has some intuitive controls that make it easy for anyone—even kids—to pick up and play without much training (although it helps if they’ve already played other sports games). The graphics aren’t as good as MLB 15: The Show or Out Of The Park Baseball 19, but they’re still quite satisfying given how old this title is (it was released in 1992).
Hardball! was released in 1988 and developed by Atari. It’s a baseball game for the Atari 2600, and it was based on the 1988 season. The game is not licensed by Major League Baseball or any other professional league; instead, it’s an original team roster made up of fictional players with names like “Boomer” and “Killer.”
The player can play as any team they want in a three-game series against another team of their choosing; this is all done via text input (there are no graphics). If you win your first two games and get past five innings in each one of them, then you move onto the next round, where there are four more teams to beat before advancing to the championship game against Cleveland Indians pitcher Dennis Eckersley (an honest guy who actually did pitch for Cleveland at this point).
9. Bases Loaded II: Second Season
Bases Loaded II: Second Season was released in 1991, and it’s one of the best major league baseball video games of all time. It’s a baseball game for the NES, so if you’re unfamiliar with that system, it may seem like an odd choice. But no matter how old or young you are, there’s something special about playing this classic video game that will make you feel nostalgic.
Bases Loaded II: Second Season is a lot like its predecessor: You take control of one player on each team and try to win as many games as possible before facing off against your rival team. To do this, players choose from any number of modes, including exhibition mode (playing games against different teams), league play (where players participate in leagues with their favorite teams), or tournament mode (where players compete against each other).
10. MVP Baseball 2005 (PC)
MVP Baseball 2005, also known as MVP 2005, is a baseball video game developed by EA Sports and published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube. It was released in 2004. It was considered one of the best sports games of that year.
According to video game review aggregator Metacritic, the game received “generally favorable reviews” on all platforms.
11. RBI Baseball 3
RBI Baseball 3 is a classic baseball game from MLB and Atarisoft, released in 1995.
This game features real-time gameplay that allows you to play as your favorite MLB team and take them through the season. You can also pick up individual players from real teams, such as Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, or Cal Ripken Jr., who are all featured in the game. Each stadium has a unique look that makes it feel like you’re playing at Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium. With RBI Baseball 3, you can play as an entire team or just one player—it’s up to you!
12. Left Fielder
Left Fielder is a baseball video game released in 1988 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was published by Jaleco and developed by Data East. The game was re-released for the Virtual Console in Japan on January 18, 2011.
13. Mike Piazza’s Strike Zone
Mike Piazza’s Strike Zone, released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, featured the voice of Mike Piazza and was based on the MLBPA license. This baseball video game allowed you to play a season mode, exhibition mode, or home run derby.
14. Super Spike V’Ball/World Cup Soccer Combo Cartridge
The Super Spike V’Ball/World Cup Soccer Combo Cartridge is a compilation of two sports games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. In Super Spike V’Ball, you play volleyball with seven other players on each team. The game features a “Super Spike” button that gives your player extra power and allows them to spike the ball at an angle that an opponent’s arms can’t block. World Cup Soccer allows you to select 28 international teams worldwide and compete in matches against other nations to win gold medals.
15. All-Star Baseball 2005 (Xbox)
All-Star Baseball 2005 is undoubtedly the best baseball game on the Xbox. The graphics and animations are some of the best in any sports game, and its gameplay is smooth and responsive, especially compared to other games from around that time. It’s not as realistic as MLB: The Show, but you’ll find yourself playing it often because it’s fun! All-Star Baseball 2005 has a single-player season mode and various other mini-games like Home Run Derby and even a Homerun Challenge. If you’re looking for something affordable that plays great with others or alone (or both), this is an excellent choice!
16. Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 / Super Moero!! Pro Yakyuu Homerun Rally ’91 Combo Cartridge (Famicom)
Released in 1991 for the Japanese Famicom, Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 / Super Moero!! Pro Yakyuu Homerun Rally ’91 Combo Cartridge is notable for being the first baseball game on any console to feature a save function. It’s also the only one of its kind that uses overhead cameras instead of a third-person perspective (though its sequel, Super Baseball Simulator 1.000, would change this). This makes it feel more like watching real professional baseball than any other game on this list—which is weird because The Sims was released two years later!
Super Moero!! Pro Yakyuu Homerun Rally ’91 was followed by an improved version called Baseball Simulator 1000 which added better graphics and more options such as player creation and trade during exhibition mode games.
17. Pro Yakyuu ’91 Ketteiban (Famicom)
Pro Yakyuu ’91 Ketteiban, released in 1991 for the Famicom, was a baseball game based on the 1991 Japanese pro baseball league. You can play it by yourself or against others, and you can choose one of three teams: the Hanshin Tigers, Yokohama BayStars, and Hiroshima Toyo Carp. That’s just a start; you also have many options!
There are six different modes from which to choose: Exhibition Match/Simulation/Fantasy League/Playoff/Batting Practice (where you can hit balls at will) and Home Run Contest (in which you attempt to hit home runs). There’s also an option to create your own team—just select all 27 players and name them whatever comes to mind! And don’t forget about Manager Mode—which allows players access to crafting their own roster if they so desire!
In addition, there are eight different stadiums where games can be played (five in Japan plus three outside), each with their own unique characteristics including size capacity but also weather conditions such as rain or snowfall during games.”
That’s a wrap for our list of the best baseball video games. We hope this article has given you some new ideas to go on and play, or maybe even re-play some old favorites.
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