Posted on June 15th, 2009 1 comment
Release Date: 5/20/88
Price: 4900 yen
Media: HuCard (2 Mbit)
PC Engine FAN Score: 21.95 / 30.00
Kōgien: “While gameplay modes are limited to single, multiplayer and watch mode, the controls are easy to work and the difficulty level is very approachable. A port of Famista, the famous Famicom baseball game.”
Namco’s Pro Yakyū Family Stadium, the first Nintendo baseball game you’d actually want to play (and the title that provided the foundation for RBI Baseball), got a pretty bare-bones PCE port. It’s the first baseball title on the system by about a month.
Namco had relased an arcade game with the same title a month or two previous to this, but this particular game has more in common with the Famicom original. It’s basically a slightly (very slightly) prettier version of the FC game, and it hasn’t aged well as a baseball simulation — fielder throws are maddeningly slow, and ground balls hit between second and third have a tendency to turn into inside-the-park home runs. But, like I said, it was the first really playable console baseball game, so it’s culturally important.
Family/World Stadium from this era featured ten teams — nine loosely based off Japanese pro baseball clubs, and the mythical Namco Stars whose roster is filled with characters from older Namco games. Neither teams nor names are licensed at this point (that didn’t happen until 1992), and some of the teams are amalgams of real clubs — the “R” team, short for “Railways,” is built from a mix of players for the three clubs owned by rail companies at the time: the Kintetsu Buffaloes (defunct in 2004), Nankai Hawks (now Fukuoka Softbank Hawks) and Hankyu Braves (now the Orix Buffaloes). There are also a few hidden teams accessible via passwords, ranging from all-time greats to clubs where everyone’s named after other Famicom and/or arcade games.
One other note: World Stadium takes place in a domed stadium highly reiminiscent of the Tokyo Dome, which opened two months before the game was released.