Is there a better sports game than Baseball Stars? I submit there is not. I've written An Important Editorial on the matter, and I consider the debate closed. This is a topic of conversation because Hunter Pence recently found a secret cache of his old video games.
Because it's February, this is important. Heck, this would have been front page news in October, too, because look at those danged games. Pence even singles out Little League Baseball and Baseball Stars in his post, probably because they are outstanding games.
A quick, dirty, and unnecessary ranking of these games.
1. Super Mario 3
Baseball Stars is the best, but this might be the best game ever. Remember the trailer for The Wizard, where they showed clips of it? Remember playing it on a Playchoice 10? Remember when the little girl from The Wizard grew up to sing great country songs? Just like we all expected. But this game is peerless when it comes to side-scrollers.
2. Baseball Stars
You could create your own players and watch them get better. I've put more hours into this game than any other in my life.
3. Tecmo Super Bowl
Eight plays. We were so spoiled. And the seasons and statistics were the best of their time.
4. Megaman 2
I'm playing through this one right now. With save states because I'm a weenie. Hey, it's hard.
I blew it by never getting this as a kid, and only discovering the series in reverse. I started with Metroid Prime, then found Super Metroid later. The latter eventually made it into my top 10 of all-time, but by the time I got to Metroid, it was like its sequel, but much worse. My fault, not the games.
Also, so danged hard.
6. Dr. Mario
The Kinks to Tetris's Beatles. There are some days when I prefer it. A lot of them, even.
7. Ghost 'n' Goblins
Again, I played the Genesis sequel (and beat it, suckers!) as a kid, so that probably soured me on this one more than it should have. Still, an excellent game.
8. Tecmo Bowl
I remember renting this and playing it non-stop for an entire weekend, winning the Tecmo Bowl without ever turning the Nintendo off. Where were my parents? Why wasn't I studying? I'd probably be managing a hedge fund now, if not for that weekend.
Probably better than 1943, but that's the one I have. I guess I'm just a sequel guy. The Two Jakes really is underrated, you have to believe me.
10. Little League Baseball
Possibly too low, but I was playing Baseball Stars, and it's not like there are turds ahead of it.
11. Ice Hockey
Two skinnies, one regular, one jumbo. That was my setup, but it's not like I was very good at it.
12. Pro Wrestling
Much better than anything that came before it. A winner was me!
Great game, but by the time the NES version came out, all of us fancypantses had moved on.
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Perhaps the hardest game of all these? If you haven't seen an NSFW deconstruction of it, here you go.
Like most of the first-generation NES games, it wasn't embarrassing. It was pleasant enough.
Never liked this, even when it was popular.
17. Base Wars
Ultra was kind of the worst company. I probably played this once and went back to Baseball Stars.
18. Super Team Games
Never played it. Sounds silly.
I probably hated this one more than I should have because it should have been cooler. At least it wasn't X-Men or Back to the Future. If Ultra was bad, LJN was just the worst. Acclaim was probably a win above replacement.
20. Fester's Quest
Never played it. People sure loved it, though. I guarantee it's not as good as Addams Family pinball, though, so it's lumped in with the bottom tier.
21. Illegible game on the bottom-right
This one reminds me of being picked on in middle school. Wait, they all do.
All told, this is an A collection. Anything with Super Mario 3, Mega Man 2, and Baseball Stars gets that kind of grade. Hooray for video games! Hooray for Hunter Pence! More importantly, hooray for young Hunter Pence's good taste!
(Baseball is coming soon, I promise.)