BaseballStarsCoverSNK’s Baseball Stars did for video game baseball what Tecmo bowl did for video game football. Actually that isn’t right. Tecmo bowl merely made video game football more fun and realistic. Baseball Stars not only made video game baseball more fun and realistic, but it also introduced features that were unprecedented at the time. By being one of the first video game sports titles to feature built-in memory, it contained some features that were unseen in other sports titles at the time. It is considered by many to be the best baseball game ever released on the NES, and many of the features it introduced still impact sports games today.

Baseball Stars features 8 teams. Although there are no real teams or players, the teams have unique personalities all on their own. There is a team called the Ninja Blacksocks, a team called the American Dreams, and even an all-girl’s team. If you don’t like any of them, you can even create your own team, and have a total of up to six created teams. You can edit the names of the players on your team, change their stats, and trade them to other teams. The game also includes RPG elements. After winning games, you earn money which you use to improve your players and purchase new ones. You can even create a league and play a whole season. The on field gameplay wasn’t bad either. While the batting and pitching were basic, the fielding was quite realistic for its time. It featured outfielders moving toward fly balls, the ability to jump and dive, and fielders catching balls that went anywhere near them.

Romstar created a Baseball Stars 2 for the NES, but it didn’t have the ability to rename created teams, thus making it less popular than the original. SNK made a few Neo Geo sequels, but neither of them had the impact that this NES original had. Baseball Stars was ahead of its time on the NES. Even modern day games such as Madden and NBA Live copy some of its features. Hopefully it won’t be much longer before we see this on the Wii Virtual Console service.