Ah, sports games. This is a genre that I have done my best to avoid in these historical articles. The reason being, for the most part, sports games don’t age well. Bases Loaded is one of the few that, while not having aged well, still holds a great place in my heart as a gamer. This was one of the first “realistic” baseball games for the Nintendo Entertainment System that I played. Realistic in that it did not feature a certain plumber, nor did it feature wild physics. Just straight, as possible, baseball in a cartridge. There were some shortcomings but those were not in my field of vision when playing Bases Loaded.
First off, Bases Loaded does not feature a player’s license nor a team license. This means no Major League Baseball teams nor the players for those teams. What we did get was cities instead of teams and reasonable, sometimes lawsuit perfect, interpretations of famous players.
In the pitcher vs batter view the minimalist graphics worked great. There are little bits of detail in the pitcher while the batter was understandably not nearly as detailed. When the ball is in play though, the graphics take a big dip and near the age of ColecoVision- meaning slightly better than Atari 2600’s best.
Bases Loaded did a lot of things well such as scoreboard animations. Make a major play and you see your player run the bases while the pitcher is kneeling in shame. Team mates cheer you on, opponents react accordingly and more. This was one of many little touches that set Bases Loaded apart from the competition on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Jaleco had a hit and they knew it because they came back to the unlicensed MLB well three more times on the NES and a few on the Super Nintendo and at least once on the Game Boy.
Bases Loaded has been released digitally but if you want a physical copy you are going to have to hit Ebay. There are better baseball games on newer platforms but few can touch the sheer fun that Bases Loaded offers.