In the tradition of classic baseball
video games such as RBI Baseball
and Bases Loaded
comes 1995's Virtual League Baseball
for the Nintendo Virtual Boy
. Like most of the Virtual Boy
's sports outings, this game is decidedly average in all respects and adds nothing new to the video game baseball
experience. On the other hand, it doesn't detract from the sport either. The game sports three modes. In "Player vs. Computer" you choose a team and take on a CPU-controlled opposing team. In "All-Star Game" you choose from the available all-star teams to take on. Finally there's "Pennant
Race" in which you choose one of the available teams and head to the stadium to play a season's worth of games against the other teams in the league, playing over and over again until you defeat every team. This mode offers passwords, thankfully, but it does not save game statistics.
The controls can be a bit dodgy at times and sometimes it's a challenge to see your players on the field because they're so small, but overall the game plays rather well. You control the batter when your team is up at bat, then you take over pitching when your team is in the field. After the CPU hits the ball, you control your outfielders as they run after the ball and toss it infield. Not very complicated to learn, but it can be a challenge to make your team behave like an actual team and not just random people on the field. The visuals are nothing to write home about, although the 3D aspect is done rather well as the ball zooms from the background to the foreground and back again. Audio is average bloops and bleeps combined with the roar of the crowd and theme music.
This is one of the few Virtual Boy games in which the American and Japanese versions differ. The American edition (Virtual League Baseball) features realistic-looking players, American-based fantasy teams, and English text. The Japanese version (Virtual Professional Baseball '95) swaps the players for super deformed monkeymen in an almost anime-style of character artwork, the teams are based on Japanese baseball teams, the music is different, and all of the text is in Japanese. Both versions of the game are some of the most common Virtual Boy games around; it's not unusual to find someone selling a six-pack of unopened games for under $20 on eBay. I bought my copy for $2 (including shipping) and for my order I received a single game pak and instruction manual plus an unopened game still in the box (for collecting, according to the packing slip). This game is not collectable. You will not make a profit dealing in unopened copies of Virtual League Baseball. If there were ever a Virtual Boy convention, they would give this game away at the door. Apparently Kemco believed that the Virtual Boy was indeed the wave of the future and they manufactured enough of these game paks so as to have one game for every Virtual Boy in existance, plus the game's marketing campaign won few fans due to its unpleasant imagery. They even began development on a 1996 sequel to the game, Virtual League Baseball 2, although it was never completed for obvious reasons. See you on the field!