HardBall!

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HardBall!
Hardball! Cover.jpg
Apple IIGS cover art
Publisher(s) Accolade
Designer(s) Bob Whitehead
Artist(s) Mimi Doggett
Composer(s) Ed Bogas
SeriesHardBall
Platform(s) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Apple IIGS, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Macintosh, MSX2, Genesis, ZX Spectrum
Release
1991: Genesis
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Throwing a pitch on the Commodore 64 version, with options for the pitcher and batter C64 Hardball.png
Throwing a pitch on the Commodore 64 version, with options for the pitcher and batter

HardBall! is a baseball video game published by Accolade. It was released for a variety of home computers between 1985 and 1987, with a Sega Genesis version published in 1991. The game was followed by sequels HardBall II , HardBall III , HardBall IV , HardBall 5 , and HardBall 6.

Baseball Sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

Infogrames North America, Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher based in San Jose, California. The company was founded as Accolade in November 1984 by Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead, who had previously co-founded Activision in October 1979.

Sega Genesis Fourth-generation home video game console and fourth developed by Sega

The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive in regions outside of North America, is a 16-bit home video game console developed and sold by Sega. The Genesis is Sega's third console and the successor to the Master System. Sega released it as the Mega Drive in Japan in 1988, followed by North America as the Genesis in 1989. In 1990, it was distributed as the Mega Drive by Virgin Mastertronic in Europe, Ozisoft in Australasia, and Tectoy in Brazil. In South Korea, it was distributed by Samsung as the Super Gam*Boy and later the Super Aladdin Boy.

Contents

Gameplay

Play is controlled with a joystick or arrow keys and an action button. One of the four cardinal directions is used to choose the pitch, and again to aim it towards low, high, inside (towards batter), or outside (away from batter). The same directions are used to aim the swing when batting. When fielding after a hit, the defensive player closest to the ball will flash to show it is the one currently under control. The four directions are then used to throw to one of the four bases.

Joystick input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base

A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. A joystick, also known as the control column, is the principal control device in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or side-stick. It often has supplementary switches to control various aspects of the aircraft's flight.

Hardball! was one of the first baseball video games to incorporate the perspective from the pitcher's mound, similar to MLB broadcasts. There are also managerial options available. The player has a selection of pitchers to choose from. Each team member has his own statistics that affect his performance, and can be rearranged as desired. Prior to HardBall!s release, there were managerial baseball games available, such as MicroLeague Baseball but HardBall! was the first to integrate that aspect with the arcade control of the game action itself.

<i>MicroLeague Baseball</i> 1984 video game

MicroLeague Baseball is a 1984 baseball simulation video game. It was developed by MicroLeague and published by MicroLeague It was released on Amiga, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and PC.

Reception

Hardball! was Accolade's best-selling Commodore game as of late 1987. [1] Its sales had surpassed 250,000 copies by November 1989. [2]

Info rated Hardball! four-plus stars out of five, stating that it "is easily the best baseball simulation we have seen to date for the 64/128" and praising its graphics. [3] ANALOG Computing praised the Atari 8-bit version's gameplay, graphic, and animation, only criticizing the computer opponent's low difficulty level. The magazine concluded that the game "is in a league of its own, above all other Atari sports games—simulations included". [4]

ANALOG Computing was an American computer magazine devoted to the Atari 8-bit home computer line, published from 1981 until 1989. In addition to reviews and tutorials, ANALOG published multiple programs in each issue for users to type in. The magazine had a reputation for listings of machine language games—much smoother than those written in Atari BASIC—and which were uncommon in competing magazines. Such games were accompanied by the assembly language source code.

In an overview of statistics-oriented baseball games, Computer Gaming World stated that Hardball "would probably be disappointing to anyone other than an avid arcade fan". [5] Compute!'s Apple Applications stated that the Apple II and Macintosh versions had "almost everything you could want from a baseball simulation", with good support for playing as manager, player, or statistician and "exceptionally clear and precise graphics". The magazine concluded that "Hardball's realism is outstanding—at a level unmatched by other baseball software to date". [6] The game was reviewed in 1988 in Dragon #132 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 5 out of 5 stars. [7]

<i>Computer Gaming World</i> American video game magazine

Computer Gaming World (CGW) was an American computer game magazine published between 1981 and 2006.

<i>Dragon</i> (magazine) magazine

Dragon was one of the two official magazines for source material for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game and associated products; Dungeon was the other.

Entertainment Weekly picked the game as the #11 greatest game available in 1991, saying: "With its oversaturated colors, ultrarealistic sound effects (when the umpire shouts 'Play ball!' it sounds as if he’s in the room), and detailed managerial options, HardBall! is the closest you may ever get to playing in a real major-league ballpark." [8]

Legacy

The game appears in the opening scene of the 1987 film The Princess Bride , being played by Fred Savage.

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References

  1. Ferrell, Keith (December 1987). "The Commodore Games That Live On And On". Compute's Gazette. pp. 18–22. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  2. Staff (November 1989). "Chart-Busters; SPA Platinum". Game Players (5): 112.
  3. Dunnington, Benn; Brown, Mark R. (December 1985 – January 1986). "C-64/128 Gallery". Info. pp. 4–5, 88–93. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  4. Millard, Robert (December 1986). "HardBall!". ANALOG Computing . p. 26. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  5. Wilson, Johnny (April 1987). "Bezbol Been Berry, Berry Good To Me!" (PDF). Computer Gaming World . No. 36. pp. 42–43. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  6. Florance, David (December 1987). "Hardball". Compute!'s Apple Applications. p. 106. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  7. Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (April 1988). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (132): 80–85.
  8. "Video Games Guide". EW.com.