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World Series Baseball

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Released: 1985

Publisher: Imagine

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

There are very few sports games worth playing on the Commodore 16. There are even fewer simultaneous-two-player games on the system –  World Series Baseball from Imagine Software manages to fulfill both these needs for the software starved black breadbox owner! (And there’s even a Plus/4 specific version as well!!)

This superior sports simulation manages to reproduce the game of baseball so well that it virtually taught me the rules of America’s national sport after one session of play. Every match consists of nine innings per side (just like the real thing). The pitcher can throw seven different types of ball, from a left fade to a fast ball, and when the ball is struck by the batter you have full control over your eight fielders on the pitch.

The pitch itself is represented in full on the screen – the crowd can be seen on either side of a central scoreboard in the stands which (and here’s the clever bit) switches to a close up of the pitcher and batter when a pitch is thrown, enabling the batter to judge his swing to perfection (or not!).There’s not much skill to batting, other that timing and being able to judge which pitches to play and which to leave.

Visually, the game is not the prettiest (although the scoreboards close up animations are rather impressive), and sounds are perfunctory, but this game works so successfully because of the diamond (!) gameplay. The plus/4 version has a nicer looking stadium, some additional information depicted on the scoreboard, and runs at a slightly faster rate, but apart from that it’s identical to the C16 version.

World Series Baseball plays well enough in one player mode, and the computer A.I. is rather impressive at first, although after a while you learn how to steal a base almost without challenge. That being said, a result against the computer is never a forgone conclusion. The inclusion of a two player version certainly adds greatly to the games appeal – however good the computer AI is, you can’t beat actually playing your mate on-screen.  Now to find two Commodore 16 compatible joysticks…