Monday, November 14, 2011

Video game of the week: Realsports Baseball on Atari 5200

In the early 1980s, if you mentioned sports video games and Atari in the same breath, you were usually laughed at. The Atari 2600, despite being one of the best-selling home gaming consoles of all time, just didn't have quality sports games, at least not early on.

In 1982 Atari released Realsports Baseball for the Atari 2600. This won over some fans, but it still wasn't quite enough.

Then in 1983 when the Atari 5200 system was released, lots of sports gaming fans had high hopes. And they weren't disappointed.

Soon after the 5200 was released, Atari also put out a 5200 version of Realsports Baseball.

This game had everything. Line scores. Nine different complex pitches. Base stealing. Solid graphics. Great sound, including umpire's calls. You name it, this game had it.

In my opinion, not until the mid-to-late 1990s when graphics improved tremendously on gaming systems, did a better baseball video game come along.

But before then, there was Realsports Baseball for the Atari 5200.

As many owners of the 5200 can attest, this gaming console did not have the easiest of joysticks. In fact, the Atari 5200 had clunky joysticks with buttons on the side that were sometimes hard to push and a keypad that was just about useless. This did not make for ease of play when dealing with more complicated games, which Realsports Baseball was at the time.

Still, once you got used to the joystick and could figure out all its little quirks, Realsports Baseball was a thrill to play. It seemed like you could control just about everything on the field, and you could, or at least you could control each and every player (with a little help from the computer, of course). Also, controlling the pitches and the batters is a highlight of fun in this game.

As a little added bonus, you could also play against a friend, which could double the fun.

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