Baseball & Tennis
Based on: Traditional sports, in their most rudimentary and basic form.
By David Goldberg | June 1, 2009
The Game Boy was the last system to get away with no-license, no-gimmick, generically named sports titles. Heck, even the Sega Masters System's generic sports games had the appellation "Great" prepended to them. One wonders what Nintendo was thinking in releasing such simple titles with the Game Boy. Sure, their NES Baseball game was quite advanced for its time, but its time was 1983, not 1989.
While many good Game Boy games were ports of their NES counterparts, they were adaptations of contemporary games. Game Boy Baseball played exactly like NES Baseball. The graphics were improved, but the action was slow, the music was annoying, and the game was so, so dated. Only two teams? No tournament mode? No way to mess around with rosters or determine which pitchers were starters and which were relievers? Yeah -- in 1989 it was a dud.
The similarly generic Tennis, on the other hand, was quite a pleasant surprise. The NES wasn't as deluged by tennis games as it was by baseball titles. This meant that the solid physics, crisp play control, smartly programmed AI, and subtle evolutions from the NES version were something of a revelation. And if you had a friend with the game and a link cable, it was an unrivaled two-player experience, since you both got to see the full screen and see your player on the bottom. While Baseball was a disappointment, Tennis did a great job of capturing its underlying sport -- as good a job as a monochrome system with two buttons could hope to manage, anyway.