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Home Run (Atari)

DoctorSpuds

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It is generally understood that many 2600 game simply don’t hold up, especially the earlier ones.  Usually this was due to the fact that these were the first of their kind ever released on home console and the console itself was a very limiting factor. I initially wasn’t even going to review this game because I mainly try to steer clear of sports games on the 2600, usually because they’re nearly impossible to play and just aren’t that much fun, and I don’t like sports games in general. The only reason I’m looking at this particular game today is because a co-worker of mine told me they played it religiously on their hand-me-down Atari from their uncle. What game did this poor person play religiously as a misguided child? Well there can be no other… Home Run! Yeah when she told me that I cringed internally.

 

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There is so little to this game that I can’t bring myself to give it more than one paragraph so here goes. The field is made up of four squares that take up a total of a quarter of the screen the rest it taken up with empty green space and the scoring info at the top which details outs, runs, strikes, and balls, the usual stuff. You’ll immediately note that the field is incredibly empty with there being only the pitcher and the guy at bat, yes the field is so small and the players so large that having more than one would leave no room for movement. Frankly I wouldn’t even classify this as baseball since all you do is catch the ball when it is hit and go run over the guy and he’s out, they’re not out when you catch the ball because that would make the game unfair since you’re enormous, you have to go touch them for them to be out. The pitching is alright, you can steer the ball and it differentiates between balls and strikes fairly accurately, you can even hit the batter and he’ll automatically go to first. Hitting is a bit different than you’d expect, you don’t press the button to bat you waggle the joystick, which is far less responsive than just pressing the button. To get your runner to stop at a base so they don’t get tagged just press the action button before they reach the base.

 

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Baseball had to start somewhere, and here it is crammed into a tiny 2K cart. Even though it was beaten to the punch by both the Studio II and Channel F which had baseball games released in ‘77 and even the Odyssey2’s version which came out the same year, this was still the version that most people played. At the time this might have been acceptable but when Super Challenge and RealSports baseball hit the scene this game should have been left behind, and when Pete Rose Baseball finally rolled on the scene as the definitive baseball game on the 2600 Home Run should have been forgotten to the annals of history. If you really need a copy of Home Run, or Baseball as the Sears version calls it, it will cost you four dollars on the low end for a loose copy and nine for one CIB. If you want the Sears version it’ll cost you six dollars for a loose copy on the low end and eighteen for a CIB copy, which if you ask me is a bit too much. Only buy this if you need to complete your collection otherwise don’t bother, even though we already have several copies floating around anyway.

 

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RealSports Baseball's AI is woefully broken and balls and strikes are impossible to tell apart, which means neither RealSports Baseball nor the half-hearted remix Super Baseball are better than Home RunPete Rose Baseball is indeed the best baseball game for the 2600, and a pretty darn good game of baseball in its own right, but Home Run still has a charm that makes me go back to it now and then.  Sure, a lot of was lost in the translation from real life to video game, but what's left is still an at-least playable game that bears at least a passing resemblance to baseball.  Plus it's fun to confuse and frustrate your opponent with screwball pitches Bugs Bunny would be proud of.

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