Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Game of the Week: Major League Baseball for Intellivision

Baseball. Is there anything for American than this sport? It's even been dubbed America's favorite pastime. It's such a great game, early on it made its way into video games.

One of the best early baseball video games was Major League Baseball for the Intellivision home video game system made by Mattel in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

What made this such a great baseball game? In part, it was the graphics. Of course by today's standards those graphics are pretty lame, but when this game first was available in 1980, it had the best graphics around for a home baseball video game.

Also, the colors were solid, the sounds decent and the gameplay quite strong. The one big drawback? This was a two-player only game. That's right, you couldn't play by yourself. If you wanted to play Major League Baseball on your Intellivision, you had to have a friend or someone play with you. No single player! Which seems almost barbaric by today's gaming standards.

However, the gameplay was pretty realistic. You could steal bases, hit home runs, go for intentional walks, control the batter, control the pitcher, control the fielders ... stuff that's pretty standard nowadays but back then was rare for a baseball game.

This game was so popular, more than a million of them were sold, which makes it the most popular video game ever for the Intellivision system. Of course, it didn't hurt those numbers that this game actually came packaged with the Intellivision.

The popularity of this game was so strong that Mattel actual made a version for the Atari 2600 under it's M-Network titles. You can even find this game available on Intellivision Lives, a modern compilation of Intellivision games.

And just in case you go looking for this game and there's some confusion, it was also released under the title Big League Baseball and, simply, Baseball.

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