I used to be a huge baseball fan. I watched games, collected baseball cards and played regularly in a league. Of course, this was little league and by the time I got to high school my enjoyment of baseball had pretty much ended. Coincidentally enough, that was about the same time the MLB went on strike so my hobby and the game itself went down the crapper at the same time.
Growing out of baseball
I don’t hate baseball. I listen to sports radio for about an hour a day which keeps up to speed with the teams and a lot of my co-workers actively watch and talk baseball too, if anything, I’ve caught a little baseball bug because of it. However, I still find it hard to watch on TV until the post-season, when the fans are at their most passionate. It’s just too slow and boring, especially since I don’t have any one team that cheer for. Only when the games start to matter at playoff time does it get interesting, and even then only when there is good drama or a rivalry going on.
What’s worse, though, is that I even lost interest in baseball video games. They got too complicated. It was hard to find a simple pick-up-and-play baseball game. Most of the sports games seem to require that you know the ins and outs of real sport to even mildly enjoy yourself, allowing only the ultra-hardcore fans to have any fun. I just want a baseball game that lets me do simple batting and simple fielding…more or less automatic play but letting me enjoy the “fun” parts. The great thing is, I found that game on my phone: Baseball Superstars 2011
Casual baseball for casual fans
Before I continue, if you’re a “real” baseball fan that knows the game and knows the teams and stats, you won’t like this game. Baseball Superstars is a completely fictional and highly Japanese baseball game. It involves crazy characters with special powers and is presented in a typical anime style, but for all those “issues”, the game is surprisingly deep that has a little something for every type of player.
I enjoy the “My League” mode the best as I only have to worry about batting. I created a rookie character and have to build up his stats to be a decent player. Of course, my own success at being able to hit the ball plays a huge factor as well. But the best part is that I don’t have to worry about anything else but the hitting. Each game is played automatically until it’s my time at the plate. I take my swings and take my bases and then it goes back into autoplay. I only get to bat about four times per game but after every other game you get a chance to train your character and build up your stats.You can even go on “outings” to schools, malls and television stations with each little scenario helping to improve character skills. The game play is very quick and a lot of fun if you just have a few minutes to play now and then…but the game doesn’t stop there.
Baseball Superstars wouldn’t be much of a game if didn’t offer a full baseball game experience, and it does. You can start a full 9-inning game taking control of your pitcher, batter and fielders. You can play a quick game or you can take your team on a season run for the championship. There’s even a RPG-ish manager mode that really only asks you to train and work on team stats. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the always popular homerun derby mode and a special “mission” mode that asks you to try reach specific goals in hitting and fielding…and they all use your custom created character so your stats follow you around.
Getting me back into the game
I admit that I wasn’t expecting much from this game, but what little baseball fan that is left in me is glad I tried the game because I am hooked. I’m suddenly worried about my pitcher’s ERA and how many RBIs I produce during a season. All these things that I used to know and track about baseball are all coming back to me and it’s a lot of fun. Maybe Baseball Superstars will warm me up for a “real” baseball game sometime soon. But even if I can’t enjoy the likes of MLB2K, it’s nice to know some quick baseball fun is just a pocket away.
Baseball Superstars 2011 is available for iOS and Android so if you’re looking for a simple and fun baseball game, check it out.