Developed by Software Creations and released in 1994, Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball is the first of four games released by Nintendo featuring the iconic baseball star.
The game is, as the name suggests, based on Major League Baseball and contains both real stadiums and all 23 MLB teams. However, due to a breakdown of negotiations, they could not earn the favor of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association, and as such the only real player it contains is Ken Griffey Jr. himself.
Ken Griffey Jr. is widely considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Among the most talented batsmen in baseball history, he currently has the 5th highest number of career home runs and over the course of his career has won 10 seperate Golden Glove awards. He has done a tremendous amount of work to rebuild the reputation of the MLB franchise and lent his name to Nintendo’s SNES games originally as a way to win support back after it was crushed in the media over the 1994 labor dispute.
The game is undeniably well designed. The graphics are more than decent for the time and you can even see such detail as the glasses the pitcher is wearing. They include detailed depictions of the
various pitches, with recognisable landmarks such as the Green Monster in Fenway Park and the astroturf in the Metrodome. In addition, the player models change dependant on the race and basic look
of the player in question. The sound is of good quality, with a play-by-play commentary system helping to avoid confusion for the player. The background music and ambience is good, but not too over the
top or annoying. It’s the little things that make the sound and graphics great. The outfielders even make a noise when they smash into the wall at the edge of the field!
The game isn’t difficult per-say. Anyone who has a basic grasp of the rules of baseball should be able to pick it up in no time at all. The SNES control system allows you a much larger degree of control over
all the things going on in the game whilst not convoluting the process and confusing the player, making for a fairly intuitive control system that a competent player can get the hang of with little trouble. Batting is a simple matter of hitting the right button at the right time, but you can also have other things going on like getting your players to attempt to steal bases as the pitcher is still taking a run up.
All in all, I’d say that if you’re looking for an easy, fun and well presented game of baseball but haven’t the energy or the willpower to stand up, Ken Griffey Jr Presents Major League Baseball might just be the game for you. And while it looses marks for not having the MLB Players, I’m going to give it a well deserved 8/10.