Champion Baseball

In 1983, most arcade denizens were looking to live out lives in space, magic mazes, or other extraordinary realities. Other than lackluster efforts like Extra Bases, America's pastime was curiously absent from arcades until Sega released Champion Baseball, giving Leo Durocher wannabes a chance to manage one of 12 MLB-esque teams to victory in a pixelated little field where the weather was always perfect and the stands were always filled to capacity.

Gameplay: Just like real baseball, this game is 50 percent hitting, 50 percent pitching, and 50 percent fielding. After your chosen team races onto the field, you'll step into the batter's box and attempt the first 50 percent. It isn't too complicated: Just keep your eye on the ball, and swing. If you get on base, you can steal, bunt, and fly out to short with the bases loaded, just like the 2002 Cubs. Once you're in the field, the game really gets fun: You can turn double plays, pick off runners, and control your pitches with the joystick, sending brutal slurves, blistering fast balls, and wicked changes at the computer-controlled batter... which always manages to hit them to the gap, sending you home empty-handed, just like the 1986 Red Sox.

Could be mistaken for: Champion Baseball II, Super Champion Baseball, Curveball

Kids today might not like it because: They choose to play as California, (which is what the Angels were called before they were the Los Angeles Angels of we're-really-in-Orange-County-but-want-Los-Angeles-in-our-name fame), and find that their pitcher is "Bert" instead of Nolan Ryan. Sorry, kids, it's 1983, and licensing for video games is still a decade away.

Kids today might like it because: When the announcer from 10-Yard Fight calls the runner out and says, "Hurry up! Change sides!" it's impossible to deny that Champion Baseball is just as fun today as it was 23 years ago.

Enduring contribution to gaming history: Champion Baseball was the first baseball game to bring animated players and real-life teams into arcades. Its legacy includes just about every EA Sports title in existence.

Wil Wheaton can't believe you called that a strike. Seriously. Are you even watching the game?

Filed Under: Games

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