History of Baseball Video Games #8 - World Championship Baseball

This is a series of blogs based on my own personal game collection. I will attempt to go through them in a chronological order according to their release date. I will also attempt to play then on their original platform using the original controllers the game was designed for. If I am unable to get the system or the game working then I will use PC emulation or another platform emulation like the Intellivision Lives! game for the gamecube

Previous entries

  1. Videocart 12 - Baseball (1977)
  2. Astrocade's Tornado Baseball (1977)
  3. Atari 2600's Home Run (1978)
  4. Intellivision's Major League Baseball (1980)

5. Microvision's Baseball (1980)

6. Atari 2600's RealSports Baseball (1982)

7. Nintendo's Baseball (1983)

World Championship Baseball for Intellivision (1983)

In my RealSports Baseball entry, I mentioned the bitter rivalry between Intellivision and Atari. One of the aspects of this rivalry centers around the sport genre. Between 1980 and 1982, Intellivision managed to expand their cartridges from 4k to 8k. With this increase size, the Intellivision developers decided to take their existing sports line up and expand it by adding new features to reduce cost of developing an entire new game from scratch. Sounds familiar right? Next time you see the next Madden or Call of Duty you have Intellivision to thank for this new business practice. Because this is more of a retooling of an existing game, this entry will be shorter. Please refer to Intellivision's Major League Baseball entry for more in depth look at this game. I don't own the actual cart of this game but instead part of the Intellivision Lives! disc for the gamecube.

Graphics

The graphics are not too different from the previous game. The field is a little different and more defined. The on screen text is different as well, Out,Inning,Strike and Ball stats are positioned the same; but the score is different. The previous game included labels for each team; "HOME" and "VSTR" but now they are removed. This game adds more animation and there is a border around the game that helps sell the concept of the field.

Players

Overall the players look exactly the same, except for more advanced animation. This animation is where this game truly shines. For the first time the runner over runs first base like how you are taught to do in little league all the way up to the pros. The base runners now can slide in to the base and this sliding animations includes dust spraying around the runner. This mind-blowing animation reminds me of Pig Pen from the Peanut cartoons. The slide into base appears to be more of a graphical advancement as it doesn't actually help you avoid a tag.

Field

Major League Baseball (1980)World Championship Baseball (1983)

As you can see from the images above, The field is more realistic and more in tune to how MLB fields were shaped in the early 80's. Gone are the color of concrete for the baseball diamond, replaced with the color of dirt.

Fans

Nothing has changed regarding the fans from the previous version

Home Run Celebration

Nothing has changed regarding the home run celebration from the previous version

Camera/Screen

Nothing has changed regarding the camera and screen from the previous version. There is however an extra setup screen that lets you enter the number of players and the skill level.

Sound

The sound doesn't appear to change from the Major League Baseball game this game is based on.

Gameplay Modes

Now we can see where the extra 4k of memory went with this game. The extra 4k went to making the previous game now one player. We can now play baseball on the Intellivision alone. Along with the benefit of either playing one or two players, the skill level option has been retained from the previous version.

Gameplay - Defense

Once again in Intellivision fashion we have a controller overlay that is used to help control the action on the field. With the addition of fly balls and grounders the ability to run and then throw the ball is very important and the controller lets the gamer do just that. The pitching remains the same; you move the joystick in the direction of the pitch type you want to pitch.

Gameplay - Offense

I mentioned it before. One of the advances of baseball video games is the ability to produce a pop fly. With this advancement comes the requirement of having to control that. This is handled by the batter. The player is now able to select to hit a grounder, line up or pop fly based on the button on the keypad you press for your swing.

Rules of Baseball

With all these advancements in baseball video games we seeevery year, we have to go through the rules and baseball traditions with a finer tooth comb. While we now have sliding base runners and hitters running through first base, we should expect a more finer controlled tagging system and catching a runner between the bases. The controllers still don't provide the gamer with fast switching between fielders and the throwing animations is very stiff.

We still don't have a game that requires baseball strategy in terms of roster management. There is no difference between top of the order or bottom of the order. The pitcher is just as strong in the first inning as he is in the ninth.

Video Game Innovations

  • Ball travels in the air, complete with shadow
  • Sliding base running
  • Base runners through the first base
1 Comments
1 Comments
Posted by jbn566

This is a series of blogs based on my own personal game collection. I will attempt to go through them in a chronological order according to their release date. I will also attempt to play then on their original platform using the original controllers the game was designed for. If I am unable to get the system or the game working then I will use PC emulation or another platform emulation like the Intellivision Lives! game for the gamecube

Previous entries

  1. Videocart 12 - Baseball (1977)
  2. Astrocade's Tornado Baseball (1977)
  3. Atari 2600's Home Run (1978)
  4. Intellivision's Major League Baseball (1980)

5. Microvision's Baseball (1980)

6. Atari 2600's RealSports Baseball (1982)

7. Nintendo's Baseball (1983)

World Championship Baseball for Intellivision (1983)

In my RealSports Baseball entry, I mentioned the bitter rivalry between Intellivision and Atari. One of the aspects of this rivalry centers around the sport genre. Between 1980 and 1982, Intellivision managed to expand their cartridges from 4k to 8k. With this increase size, the Intellivision developers decided to take their existing sports line up and expand it by adding new features to reduce cost of developing an entire new game from scratch. Sounds familiar right? Next time you see the next Madden or Call of Duty you have Intellivision to thank for this new business practice. Because this is more of a retooling of an existing game, this entry will be shorter. Please refer to Intellivision's Major League Baseball entry for more in depth look at this game. I don't own the actual cart of this game but instead part of the Intellivision Lives! disc for the gamecube.

Graphics

The graphics are not too different from the previous game. The field is a little different and more defined. The on screen text is different as well, Out,Inning,Strike and Ball stats are positioned the same; but the score is different. The previous game included labels for each team; "HOME" and "VSTR" but now they are removed. This game adds more animation and there is a border around the game that helps sell the concept of the field.

Players

Overall the players look exactly the same, except for more advanced animation. This animation is where this game truly shines. For the first time the runner over runs first base like how you are taught to do in little league all the way up to the pros. The base runners now can slide in to the base and this sliding animations includes dust spraying around the runner. This mind-blowing animation reminds me of Pig Pen from the Peanut cartoons. The slide into base appears to be more of a graphical advancement as it doesn't actually help you avoid a tag.

Field

Major League Baseball (1980)World Championship Baseball (1983)

As you can see from the images above, The field is more realistic and more in tune to how MLB fields were shaped in the early 80's. Gone are the color of concrete for the baseball diamond, replaced with the color of dirt.

Fans

Nothing has changed regarding the fans from the previous version

Home Run Celebration

Nothing has changed regarding the home run celebration from the previous version

Camera/Screen

Nothing has changed regarding the camera and screen from the previous version. There is however an extra setup screen that lets you enter the number of players and the skill level.

Sound

The sound doesn't appear to change from the Major League Baseball game this game is based on.

Gameplay Modes

Now we can see where the extra 4k of memory went with this game. The extra 4k went to making the previous game now one player. We can now play baseball on the Intellivision alone. Along with the benefit of either playing one or two players, the skill level option has been retained from the previous version.

Gameplay - Defense

Once again in Intellivision fashion we have a controller overlay that is used to help control the action on the field. With the addition of fly balls and grounders the ability to run and then throw the ball is very important and the controller lets the gamer do just that. The pitching remains the same; you move the joystick in the direction of the pitch type you want to pitch.

Gameplay - Offense

I mentioned it before. One of the advances of baseball video games is the ability to produce a pop fly. With this advancement comes the requirement of having to control that. This is handled by the batter. The player is now able to select to hit a grounder, line up or pop fly based on the button on the keypad you press for your swing.

Rules of Baseball

With all these advancements in baseball video games we seeevery year, we have to go through the rules and baseball traditions with a finer tooth comb. While we now have sliding base runners and hitters running through first base, we should expect a more finer controlled tagging system and catching a runner between the bases. The controllers still don't provide the gamer with fast switching between fielders and the throwing animations is very stiff.

We still don't have a game that requires baseball strategy in terms of roster management. There is no difference between top of the order or bottom of the order. The pitcher is just as strong in the first inning as he is in the ninth.

Video Game Innovations

  • Ball travels in the air, complete with shadow
  • Sliding base running
  • Base runners through the first base