(Photo courtesy of Polygon) “”Super Mega Baseball” writes its own page in the history of sports games by diverting from more traditional baseball games.”
With “MLB: The Show” releasing very similar games every year, many fans have become bored. They are tired of collecting the same cards, tired of winning the same trophies and tired of playing with the same old gameplay. With “MLB: The Show” being the only licensed baseball game on the market, where else could fans go to get their baseball fix? Enter “Super Mega Baseball.”
“Super Mega Baseball,” which was first released in the United States in 2014, is an arcade baseball simulator developed by Metalhead Software. Unlike other arcade baseball video games from the past, “Super Mega Baseball” is original in concept down to the core. There are no real teams, no real stadiums and no real players; everything was created by the developers themselves. This already breaks away from mainstream sports video games, allowing for passion and creativity to shine where they are often lacking.
The first thing that stands out is the gameplay, as it is very easy to pick up, even for beginners. The basic controls of the game are simple: one can simply press a button to swing the bat, pitch the ball and throw to first. For more advanced moves, the controls become more dynamic. There is power swinging and pitching for those who want a difficult yet rewarding skill to master; simply hold down the button of choice and more power will be applied to the swing and/or pitch, allowing for some risk/reward gameplay.
The difficulty system is also unique. Instead of tiers like “Rookie” and “Superstar,” the system is based on “ego.” The scale ranges from one all the way up to 99. The higher the ego, the greater the challenge. Players can fine tune their ego to find the level of difficulty that is just right for them and accommodates their skill level.
The ego isn’t universal; it is customizable even between friends. Picture this: a person who just downloaded the game wants to play against their friend, but their friend is a seasoned veteran and knows all the ins and outs. How can they have a competitive match? Simple. The inexperienced player can play on an easy ego, like 20, and the experienced one can play on a more challenging ego, like 50, to make it fair and more enjoyable for both sides of the coin.
Expanding further on the game’s uniqueness and versatility is the customization it provides to the player. If players find the team selection boring and unengaging, they can make their very own team. Keep in mind, this is nothing like other mainstream sports games where one must open packs and “create” their own team. No, one can make their own team and run it as a franchise if they choose.
From creating a logo, name and uniforms from scratch, the game doesn’t limit one’s options. Furthermore, one can edit the team’s players. From name to attire to even gender. The game allows for both girls and boys to be playable, something that is unique to this franchise. Gender does not impact their stats and abilities whatsoever.
The arcade play style is very much present throughout the game. Logic is often thrown out the window when trying to explain why the umpire called a strike when the ball was thrown in the opposite batter’s box. However, the gameplay is more than just luck and having the better team. A skilled player can learn the mechanics of the game and how to use them to their advantage. For example, say a person was pitching against a team of computer-controlled players. That team’s batter with a lot of power steps up to plate. The person playing can simply keep the ball low in the strike zone, and it could still easily be hit, or the person can throw the ball high in the zone, but not for a strike, and make the batter chase for either a swing-and-miss strike or to pop out the batter.
There are all sorts of tricks one can learn to make the correct decision. The easiest way to learn these tricks is to simply play the game. The more one plays the game, the better one becomes. Time and effort should determine one’s skill, not money and luck.
“Super Mega Baseball” is a franchise that is successfully standing apart from the pack. From its familiar arcade-like gameplay to its original teams and players, the game oozes creativity and passion from top to bottom. Metalhead Software has set the bar for what a modern arcade baseball video game should be.