Approximate Release Date: December 1, 1992
Genre: Baseball simulation
Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball feels unfinished in a way no other Super Nintendo baseball game has so far.
Most of that comes down to nitpicking the presentation. In baseball games, there’s usually an indication on-screen when something of note happens. Foul ball. Strike. Whatever it is, having that information is useful for the player if only so he or she can immediately process what happened. Not having that stuff in Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball isn’t crippling, but it’s strange enough to stand out over and over while playing it. Sure, the game has voice samples for these things, but they’re low quality and annoying. The lack of an MLB license also makes the game feel cheap.
Otherwise, Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball is adequate. It plays just like every other baseball game I’ve covered so far on SNES A Day. The throwing animation of the pitcher is pretty good, as are the graphics in general. Fielding is still an unresolved problem, with the game not giving control of the player nearest to where the ball will end up.
That’s the biggest problem with Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball. The most interesting facet of the game is that it doesn’t say “STRIKE” on the screen. I keep writing it in every review, but the baseball (and, to be fair, sports in general) situation on the SNES at this time is dire because there aren’t any new ideas. Developers weren’t willing to take risks and just seem to be photocopying each other. Just pay a baseball player some moolah, slap his likeness on the cover, and you’ve got yourself a brand new game!
I’m still waiting for the definitive SNES baseball game. Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 has been the closest so far, and I have serious doubts about whether anything will surpass it. Developers seemed more interested in regurgitating the same low-effort game over and over instead of trying something new. Don’t play Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball.
Tomorrow: I love good puns in video game titles, and The Duel: Test Drive II delivers.