If Baseball Had Robots

You may not have been alive back in 1991.  Or perhaps you were, but you weren’t of the age where you came home from school to eat macaroni and cheese and watch Disney Afternoon on syndicated television.  But if you were, and you had parents who bought you Nintendo games for Christmas and didn’t consult with you about them first, you may have once before opened up an instruction booklet to read these words:

At last it can be told. How, at the turn of the 24th Century
the game of baseball was changed forever. It happened in Cape
Codpiece, Florida during the annual winter meetings. On the
aluminum paneled walls of the posh hotel’s Presidential Room
hung stirring portraits of baseball’s all-time greats. Legends
like Cecil “Rooftop” Shingleton, Travis “Tee” O’ Justice, and Tip
“Rude” Wayter. Around the huge conference table sat a group of
sour, seething executives collectively known as the baseball
team owners. The issue before them-astronomical player salaries.
(A Solar League official had just ordered one of the weakest
franchises to shell out $2.4 billion a year to Gomer “Go Homer”
Gomez, a lifetime .250 hitter.)

For hours the owners debated their options. Until suddenly
Irving Flopilidopolous, owner of the Boston Banshees, leaped from
his chair and slammed his fist on the table.

“Robots!” he exclaimed. The other owners looked blankly
at each other. Then smiles slowly crept across their faces as they
realized they had found the solution-replace the players with
mechanical men. No more salary demands. Better yet, no more salaries!
Just obedient automatons pre-programmed for action.

The now inspired owners worked feverishly that weekend
to refine their new sport which they christened Base Wars. The
public was quickly captivated by this bizarre combination of
baseball and gladiatorial combat played by an army of armor clad
cybernetic swingers. They especially loved the one-on-one battle
royales for base possession, the loser of which is retired to the
scrap yard. It wasn’t long before Base Wars became the new
intergalactic pastime.

Given the salary of Vernon Wells, it doesn’t seem as though the owners of the 2300s have made out too badly with player contracts like Gomer Gomez, but it’s silly to try to estimate inflation in the world economy of Tomorrow.  Nor should we question the interior decorating decisions made by the hotels of the state of Florida.  Instead, let’s concentrate on the question that mankind has been asking ever since Walt Whitman posed it in his second edition of Leaves of Grass: “Why can’t we have robots that clean our chimneys?  And, also, play baseball for us?”

Finally, the game Base Wars for the Nintendo Entertainment System realized that we could. And that it would be awesome.

What follows is a short list of the ways in which robots demonstrate a marked improvement in the game of base-ball:

  • A glowing, blinking, pink ball
  • Replacing certain robot legs with tank treads
  • Replacing certain robot legs with unicycles
  • Replacing Linkin Park walk-up music with funky, bass-driven synthesizer
  • New parts obtained from store, avoiding inconvenient surgery
  • Eschewing umpires by deciding close plays by way of one-on-one combat to the death
  • Said one-on-one combat to the death including laser swords

People of the twenty-fourth century will look back on Base Wars as the moment when society finally got it – the point where we couldn’t yet realize the dream, but when we knew what the dream was.  That dream, obviously, was sitting in stadiums floating in space to watch giant monochromatic automatons destroy each other with aforementioned laser swords. Destruction of the planet and consumption of finite natural resources be damned; this is a moment when we can all do little except quietly envy our moon-cavern-dwelling descendants of the future.




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Patrick Dubuque is a wastrel and a general layabout. Many of the sites he has written for are now dead. Follow him on Twitter @euqubud.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Grant
Guest
Grant
5 years 9 days ago

Jared
Guest
Jared
5 years 9 days ago

Why is Toronto red and California blue?

Navin Vaswani
Editor
5 years 9 days ago

It’s the future.

Ryan
Member
Ryan
5 years 9 days ago

Lefty Robots? Blasphemy

steex
Member
steex
5 years 9 days ago

I think the next Nickname Seeks Player should be for a pitcher referred to as “Lefty Robots.”

steex
Member
steex
5 years 9 days ago

BTW, I nominate Mark Buehrle for said nickname. He’s had robot-like consistency and game speed throughout his career.

therood
Member
5 years 9 days ago

I move that modern players’ horsepower be calculated and displayed during broadcasts.

Or Hit Points, if that’s what the HP stands for.

Either/or.

When I played Base Wars as a kid, I always assumed HP was horsepower.

DaClyde
Guest
DaClyde
5 years 8 days ago

Yeah, HP was hit points. Not only could you destroy players on the base paths, you could also bean them to knock off more HP. Once you had some power and the battle gimmick, it quickly became a lopsided game of attrition.

buddy
Guest
buddy
5 years 9 days ago

I’m seriously baffled that no one has signed Strike-O-Matic to even a minor leageu deal.

Resolution
Guest
Resolution
5 years 8 days ago

They did, he pitches for the Phillies now.

Dan
Guest
Dan
5 years 9 days ago

Game was awesome, but really the first person to get laser guns could just run the bases as they pleased!

TheFuzziestKitty
Member
TheFuzziestKitty
5 years 7 days ago

I thought flybots could avoid laser gun spam. Cost effective robots used the Battle Gimic (Battle Gimmick? Battle Gillick? I think we’re on to something here…)

GB
Guest
GB
5 years 9 days ago

When it comes to the greatest sports video games ever, some say Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, some say TECMO Bowl, some say Blades of Steel (the fighting alone beats any hockey video game prior to or since).

For me, it will always be Base Wars. It’s one of three games I have remaining with the old Nintendo (along with ‘Blades’ and of course, Mario/Duck Hunt). No baseball game has ever been quite so much fun.

Thanks for the memories :)

macseries
Guest
macseries
5 years 9 days ago

i got a rom of this not too long ago, but unfortunately i can’t tap my phone’s screen fast enough to make playing it worth the hassle.

David
Guest
David
5 years 8 days ago

Baseball playing robots? Is that what a league of JD Drews would look like?

Resolution
Guest
Resolution
5 years 8 days ago

Just out of curiosity – are we sure this is actually footage from a 1991 NES game? Or is this footage from the Nippon Baseball League and the teams just feature ironic, prehistoric names like ‘Toronto’ or ‘California’??

SFSUGatorAlum
Guest
SFSUGatorAlum
5 years 8 days ago

I assume we already lived through the Super Baseball Simulator 1000 era…1998-2004?

TheFuzziestKitty
Member
TheFuzziestKitty
5 years 7 days ago

Right, this is after several deaths involving the missile ball hurling infielders into the outfield walls in addition to the overuse of the spinning field causing the Earth to fall off its axis. The only solution was Flybots!

Some Basewars teams had themes, some having potential social commentary. Everyone on Chicago was armed with a gun, for example.

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