Tornado Baseball was an old arcade game released by Midway way back in 1976.

The story

This is a very early black and white baseball simulation, and one of the first arcade baseball titles to try and put a lot of players on the field at once.

The game

The game is a very simple game of baseball (read the baseball node if you don't know what that it), implemented with stick figures. The game is very simple in terms of rules, and anybody can pick up on how to play fairly quickly. This is a two player only title, with both people playing for a single quarter.

The pitching player selects his pitch with one joystick, while moving his outfielders with a second one. The batting player only has a single button (that is a "swing" button). Both players use the same set of controls, so they must switch spots in front of the machine midway through each inning.

You get a four inning game for one quarter, although that number can be adjusted by the game operator.

The Machine

Tornado Baseball came in a two tone brown upright cabinet, heavily decorated with sticker sideart of baseball players in action. The cabinet design dates itself by its straight up and down design, without a curve to be seen anywhere on the machine.

The field is displayed using an open frame monitor, mirror, and a blacklight to make it seem as though the action is taking place on a picture of a baseball field that is housed inside the cabinet.

The control panel houses both a 2-Way and and 8-Way joystick, the players must actually switch positions at the panel when the innings change. The 2-Way stick is for the outfielders, and the 8-Way is for the pitching team. The batting player has only a button.

This game uses an Intel 8080 processor, and uses a compatible wiring harness with all other Midway 8080 based games (making for easy conversion, but don't convert games this old please).

Where to play

The MAME emulator supports this game to some extent. But the sound is missing, and the nifty mirrored blacklight effects are gone (and that is the coolest thing about this game). The controls are also a bit non-standard, and will probably have to be set up special.

Should you add this to your arcade game collection? Probably not. This is not exactly a stand out title in any respects, it really isn't that much fun. I would of course purchase it if the price was right (and the blacklight and such was working), but it would probably end up as more of a decoration than an active part of my game room (especially since two players are required)

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