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TV sports baseball logo

MINDSCAPE * £25.99 * 1 meg * Joystick * Out now

TV sports baseball T V Sports Baseball is the third release in the TV Sports series. American Football was the first, and it just so happens that it was rather good. I say was, because the game has now been superseded by the highly acclaimed John Madden’s Football. Next in the series was TV Sports Basketball, which oddly enough received a number of mixed reviews. Now here’s TV Sports Baseball, and you know what? Baseball is a funny old game (Acme Jimmy Greaves quote).

The idea behind it is simple. Whoever scores the most points wins. A point is awarded by running around all four bases. It is just as simple to play. A pitcher hurls a ball at the batter – and when I say “hurtles” I mean it, because some of these pitchers can throw balls at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. The batter must hit the ball – if he doesn’t it’s called a strike.
If the batter misses three times, it’s three strikes and he’s out. If he manages to hit the ball, he must run to first base or further depending on how far the ball travels.
If the ball is hit over one of the surrounding fences, the batter scores a home run, everyone goes a bit bonkers and the batter is allowed to trot around all four bases looking very smug indeed.
Unfortunately for the batter, there are many ways of getting yourself out. One – you can be caught out. Two – three strikes and you’re out. Three – while running between bases you can be tagged with the ball and you’re out. Ahem. Four – while running between bases, the fielders can throw the ball to the base where he’s running to and stump the base – the poor hapless batter is out. Five – if the batter hits the ball behind, it’s one strike. If he does it again it’s two strikes, but if he does it again he doesn’t get out.
I told you it was a funny game, this baseball lark. So he’s not out, but it improves the pitcher’s chance of getting him out. As you can see, the odds are heavily weighed against the batter.

Well, that’s the game and some of the rules explained. What you’re probably wondering is if this TV Sports Baseball malarkey is any good. The answer is no with a capital N. It’s rubbish.

TV sports baseball For starters, take a good long thoughtful look at baseball. What did you see? Just kidding! When I look at baseball I see atmosphere, I see thousands of completely mad Americans screaming and shouting for their teams. In TV Sports Baseball you could hear a blooming pin drop. There are a few samples of the umpire shouting “Ssstttrrikkkeeee Onnneee” and so on, but the only crowd sound is when you score a home run and the crowd suddenly spring into action. No, nein, non , zilch atmosphere.
The second problem is batting. I know baseball is a tough game, but at least let me hit the ball. The ball comes at you like a nuclear missile – well sort of – and you swing your bat in hope that you’re going to hit it, and miss. Next ball, you swing, you miss. And again and again until it’s time for you to field. When you eventually hit the ball, you haven’t a clue how you did it.

TV sports baseball Most of the time it’s a foul shot, or you smack the bugger, it looks as though it’s going to be a home run and it drops pathetically into some fielder’s hand and you’re out.
Fielding is much more fun than batting, simply because it’s easier. As I write, I’m on my fourth match in the league and still haven’t won. It’s not because I’m rubbish – no one else in the office can do it either.

On the press release it says, and I quote: “The most complete computer-baseball game ever developed”. I think that should have had a great big “Not!” at the end because someone somewhere’s been telling porkies.
The graphics are fairly good, but they’re not as good as RBI Baseball 2. In fact the whole game is nowhere near as good as RBI Baseball 2.
To top it all off it needs a megabyte of memory, and I thought one meg games were meant to be good. Take a look at Team 17s Project X and Alien Breed to see how a one meg game should be made.
If you love baseball don’t waste your money on this – you’ll become terribly depressed. Turn Channel Four on and watch the game instead.

Amiga Computing, Issue 52, September 1992, p.16 (Gamer)

G G G G *
Graphics OK, but nothing special.
G G * * *
A measly crowd cheer and a few duff samples. Very poor indeed.
G G G * *
As addictive as having a baseball bat shoved up your backside.
G G G * *

Fielding is good fun, but batting is awful.

TV sports baseball logo

Mindscape * £25.99

TV sports baseball Baseball eh? Essentially a souped-up version of rounders, but with more pedantic rules and regulations which the TV Sports version sticks to like glue. You control each member of the batting team until three are out. Then you switch to the pitcher, and attempt to do the same to the opposition. Controlling your players is really simple: a click of the fire-button launches a ball or swings the bat, and the rest is down to luck (and maybe a bit of timing).

TV Sports provides a few good moments: panning views of the baseball field, accompanied by the commentator’s speech, but to be honest it’s not exactly a world of excitement.
Neil Jackson

Verdict: 67%

Amiga Format, Issue 37, August 1992, p.60

Kanal fatal

TV sports baseball logo

Arme Company: Erst ging Cinemaware die Kohle aus, worauf die Firma von Mirrorsoft geschluckt wurde, dann wechselte man zu Mindscape, weil Mirrorsoft nun selbst pleite ist. Arme Fans: Auch die aktuelle PC-Konvertierung kann nicht an den Ruhm vergangener Tage anknüpfen...

TV sports baseball ...was aber keinesfalls heißen soll, daß wir ihr generell ein Amutszeugnis ausstellen müßten. Nein, der US-Sport spielt sich hier ganz nett, auch im Duo-Modus, wo zwei Werfer und Schläger gegeneinander antreten dürfen. Noch während des Abwurfs kann die Flugrichtung des Balls beeinflußt werden, beim Schlag natürlich auch – die Kamera schaltet dann automatisch auf die Ecke im Stadion, wo die Kugel gerade liegt oder fliegt. Scrolling und Animation gehen dabei voll in Ordnung, aber die Grafik hat halt trotz des obligaten Reporter-Screens nicht mehr die Klasse von Klassikern wie "TV Sports Basketball" oder "Football". Und auch der Soundteppich mit seinen wenigen FX, dem bißchen Sprachausgabe, und den ganz netten Musiken bei den trocken präsentierten Menüs scheint uns ein wenig dünn gewebt zu sein.

An Features wird so das Übliche geboten: Man darf sich für eines von 26 Teams entscheiden, Statistiken begutachten, zwischen Einzelspiel und Ligamodus (bis zu maximal 162 Partien) wählen, die Mannschaftsaufstellung ändern und mittels Editor Spielereigenschaften verschlimmbessern. Das ist nicht unbedingt die Welt, zumal lange Ladezeiten die Freude an der gelungenen Joystick-Steuerung und dem simplen Gameplay trüben.

Alte Cinemaware-Fans werden somit von der Präsentation ein wenig enttäuscht sein, und alte Baseballer warten ohnehin auf die Umsetzung des viel komplexeren "Hardball III"- schade. (pb)

Amiga Joker, September 1992, p.94



Amiga Joker
1 MB

TV sports baseball logo

Would-be Pittsburgh Pirate, Steve Merrett, pulls his cap to one side, spits on the ground (nothing new there), and prepares to steal the base with Mindscape’s first Cinemaware release...

TV sports baseball IN TO BAT…
There was a time when fancy TV-style introductory scenes would fair whet a game-player’s appetite. Now, however, it takes far more to get your average joystick abuser drooling. Cinemaware’s TV Sports series are a fine example of this, with both Basketball and Football selling in droves thanks to their stunning appearance. Everything the Amiga user could want was featured in these games: incredible graphics, sampled sound to add to the glitzy proceedings, and realistic animation. What more could anyone want? Well, playability would be nice, as the Cinemaware games lost out in this department.

With Baseball, however, things have taken a step in the right direction and whilst the familiar presentation (complete with the obligatory commentator) doesn’t seem quite so great as it once did, Cinemaware are obviously aware of this and have tightened up the gameplay accordingly. Maybe Baseball is more suited to the Cinemaware treatment but whatever the reason, this knocks RBI out of the park – and not since the C64 version of Hardball have I played a Baseball game so much.

Having picked your way through the plethora of typically accurate options and menu screens where your team can be shaped and moulded for optimum efficiency, all that stands between you and first base is a change of park – although this has no real bearing on the game. Following that, it’s time to spit on the ground and get ready to knock the ball into next week. As with Basketball and Football, TV Sports Baseball is a doddle to pick up and play. Pitching is simply a matter of setting the speed and position of your throw, whilst batting requites the player to position the batter and swing the bat in the vain hope of hitting the ball. However, as with so many Baseball games, this proves easier said than done and is initially very frustrating – perhaps a practice option against a computer-controlled pitcher would have been an idea? Also, fielding is just a matter of guiding the nearest player to where the ball is heading before lobbing it back towards the base areas. It is this simplicity, though, that makes Baseball such a dream to play, but that’s not to say that it isn’t without a few problems.

TV sports baseball STRUCK OUT
My biggest gripe lies with players currently on bases. As soon as the batter has whacked the ball, they all dash off to the next base – no problem there – but if the balls shoots off for a foul, getting them back to their previous base is seemingly impossible and often results in the entire team being thrown out. Additionally, in the same vein, whenever the player hits the ball behind them for a foul, it is counted as a ‘Strike’ – something I have never encountered before. On a more positive note, though, TV Sports Baseball actually goes some way to capturing the excitement the real sport generates. There’s a real sense of achievement on cracking a Home Run and seeing your player stroll from base to base to rack up points, and the disappointment of muffing an all-important shot is similarly deflating.

This atmosphere is further aided by the assorted effects which accompany the game. For instance, whenever a player is currently on third base, a short jingle plays which leads to a fanfare when the player reaches fourth (although this sounded rather like the ‘Sale Of The Century’ introductory tune). In terms of graphics and sound, it is very hard to criticise Baseball, The pitching and batting sprites are large and well animated, and whilst the fielders are represented by miniscule sprites, these are equally well done and throw the ball about with real gusto.

If it wasn’t for the rather dodgy play faults and the computer’s seemingly infallible skills, TV Sports Baseball would be a genuine sports sim classic. However, whilst it is extremely playable, these little niggles tend to grate after a while and mar an otherwise excellent simulation. That said, though, this Cinemaware game far outstrips its plentiful competition in terms of quality, realism and atmosphere. Accolade’s Hardball used to reign supreme as far as I was concerned, but, despite its shortcomings, Mindscape’s first Cinemaware release is the new Joe DeMaggio on the block.

CU Amiga, August 1992, p.p.68-69

BABE IN ARMS Baseball has thrown up a series of legendary players in its time, ranging from Joe DeMaggio to Walter Johnson. Perhaps the most famous of all, though, is Babe Ruth. Famed for his ability to hit home runs, Ruth was a massive character both on field and off. If George Best was the fastest living face of soccer, then Babe preceded and outdid Best’s antics both in years and in scale. Ruth led an extravagant lifestyle and a far from healthy one! Oddly enough for a sportsman, Ruth would often wolf down fifteen egg-omelettes, or would chew his way through six hotdogs during a film or match. ‘The Babe’ was also a fan of high living and was similarly renowned for his flash cars, fancy clothing and love of night clubs. The latter ‘hobby’ won him a legion of female ‘companions’ and between his two marriages, Ruth’s reputation as a womaniser spread rapidly, with tales of him satisfying up to three women in a night regularly circulating (what’s so unusual about that? Dep Ed.). However, busy as his social life obviously was, it never seemed to affect his prowess on field. He could hit a ball like no other player and it is also listed that he hit a ball further than any other man. On playing Chattanooga’s Engel Stadium, Ruth hit a ball which landed in a coal truck heading west. By the time the truck had finished its journey, the ball was picked up in St. Louis, Missouri – a massive 2000 mile journey in all!

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