As a kid I loved baseball games on the NES, well some of them. My first experience was LJN’s Major League Baseball and I actually enjoyed it, which gave way to R.B.I. Baseball and the Bases Loaded series. After a certain point I became burnt out on baseball video games and started to pursue more interactive games like RPGs. It wasn’t until I found Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball for the Super Nintendo at a thrift store, almost ten years ago, that I decided to give a Super Nintendo baseball game a try.
Before I get into the gameplay I want to talk about the condition in which I found this cartridge. The cartridge had duct tape on either side holding the poor thing together. The battery was somehow knocked off it’s tabs completely and left to rattle around inside. One of the top clips holding the cartridge together had been snapped off, or rather pushed in with a flat screwdriver, and one of the screws was not only missing but the surface it would contact on the front half of the cartridge was missing as well. There were pry marks on the top from what I’m assuming was the same screwdriver that pushed the top tab in and broke it off. Even some of the game board contacts were somehow mangled, but the game seems to work just fine with them in that condition. After some goo-gone and some TLC the game was put back together the best I possibly could. What this game did to its previous owner to deserve this is a mystery.
Now, as far as gameplay I’m actually ashamed I missed out on this game. Everything feels smooth and the game even has quite a bit of depth to it. You can play a regular game of baseball, or a whole season with the battery save option. Of course I can’t, until I replace the battery, but most likely your cartridge could. Maybe you just want to play an All-Star game, or just the home run derby. Or maybe you just want to skip all the hassle and go straight to the world series. You see, Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball is your oyster. Maybe that’s what the previous owner thought this cartridge was and took it too literally. Oh well.
While the teams of the MLB are represented here the only real player name in this game is Ken Griffey Jr. himself, while the rest of the roster are filled in with silly names, and even some well known names of people who aren’t associated with the MLB. This game plays much like I remember many of the first NES baseball video games I love played. Although I will say I was a bit put off at the complexity of the outfield. In the NES games I played you had to maneuver players in the outfield manually, but it never seemed like anyone was ever very far from the ball at any given time. I was initially frustrated at how long it seemed to take me to get a player to the ball, only to throw it to home far too late. Thankfully this can be changed from manual to automatic in the options, should you need to. As a matter of fact this game has a lot of options, even a manager mode.
The controls are smooth and everything feels like the baseball games that I loved on the NES, except with much better graphics and sounds. Which is another thing about this game, there are a lot of great voice clips from umpire calls to player reactions. Had I known this game was this fun I would have probably bought the game sooner, but then again had I already owned it would I have bothered to pick up the battered, broken and abused copy I own now? Maybe that’s just the way it was all meant to work out. Perhaps it was serendipity. I ended up saving a video game that might have likely been overlooked and tossed into the trash, and it taught me that Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball is actually a really fun baseball game.