I bought a Sony PlayStation way back in mid-1995, with a couple of games. Prior to that I owned the Sega Master System (SMS), the original 8-bit Nintendo, then an SNES. When I bought the PSX, it was like stepping into a whole other world for me as far as console gaming was concerned. As with the other consoles, I always loved and enjoyed the baseball games they made. With the Nintendo, I couldn’t get enough of the Nintendo-released Baseball(tm), or R.B.I Baseball, or Bases Loaded. For the SNES, it was Ken Griffey Baseball. So for the PlayStation, I had one choice: Triple Play Baseball ’97. It came out just before spring training in 1996, and I loved it to death. Todd used to play this one game called Baseball All-Stars, and it had this option to create your own players. TPB did the same thing, and it captured the whole arcade feel that some of the baseball games for the PC had lost. The PC games tended to be a little more clinical than fun, often just being fantasy league simulators with the option of watching full games played out, like Baseball Mogul.
TPB 97 was followed by 98. 98’s version improved several features but retained most of the game that I loved. 99 was the same thing, and 2000 was amazing. Then, in 01, things started to suck. 2002 I didn’t even bother buying, as it had taken it to moving a cursor around this stupid little box in order to get a proper hit. You couldn’t even be bothered with the feel of actually swinging the bat anymore, not the way I was used to. In the other games, you moved the directional pad a certain way, you swung the bat and off you went. Now, with the newer games, you must move your bat into position and then swing, instead of changing bat position on the fly. I felt too removed from the gameplay for it to be enjoyed.
Now that I have a PS2, I’ve been looking for a decent baseball game to play. I bought the 2002 TPB but it blew chunks, so I traded it back in for store credit and I picked up High Heat Baseball 2003. Everything that Triple Play lost, High Heat made up for. Gone is the stupid cursor, and they enhanced the aftertouch on pitching to make those curves a little curvier, or the knuckleball almost insanely wicked. I love this game, it just returned to me all the cool features I loved about all my early baseball games. Also, it does allow me to create players, so now I have this roster of players made up of nothing but anime characters!
I’m taking this team to the series!