TURN TO CHANNEL 3: ‘Extra Innings’ packs extra fun into simple SNES baseball game
Truth be told, whether they are collectors or retro gamers who are making a purchase and taking it home to enjoy, most customers visiting my store in Mayfield have a set game plan of what they are looking for. However, from time to time, they’re not so sure or they are looking for something new, and this is extra fun because I get to make recommendations!
There’s no denying that the Sega Genesis had some truly great sports games (How you feel about this is your own side of the 1990s console wars), but not a lot of Super Nintendo sports titles get equal representation when a debate of this genre during the ‘90s comes to the table. What you will find is that there are indeed hidden sports gems on the SNES, and one of my recommendations is our topic today on Turn to Channel 3.
It’s all tied up, sports fans. Time for “Extra Innings” on the SNES!
“Extra Innings” (SNES, 1992)
From the title track, accompanied by the crack of a baseball bat, you know that developers at Sony Imagesoft definitely knew what makes people want to play sports games by giving them as close a feel to actually playing a live game of baseball – or seeing one at a ballpark – as possible.
“Extra Innings” has some voices, some little cartoony sound effects but, most of all, some truly crisp, clear, and well-composed music that, while not vast in any way, is much more than what many other sports games were giving you at the time. I especially love the menu music. There’s just something exciting about it!
While there’s nothing to discern characters from one another save the color of their uniforms, “Extra Innings” continues the tried and true tradition of using bigger sprites on the mound and at bat, with much smaller ones when action takes place after a hit or a stolen base. I still feel these are some of the best sprite designs of the time as far as unlicensed sports games go, and by that I mean “Extra Innings” does not use real baseball teams or players. More on this later, but I’d also like to add that giving us a choice between three different baseball fields and actually graphically making them different is something that I think was almost unheard of at the time. I’m sure other games did this, but there sure as hell wasn’t many.
The cut scenes after a homerun or the end of a game are also pretty stellar, further enhancing the overall fun and replay value of the game for sure.
For me, what really sets “Extra Innings” apart from many baseball games of the time is the customization. Not only can you decide what teams and how many games you will play in your league, but you are also given the option of customizing two teams, simply called Edit Team 1 and Edit Team 2, so if you’re like me, chances are you’re using one to put friends and family on and the other to do something absurd with, like a team of ‘90s Nicktoons characters or something along those lines. This obviously isn’t a big deal now, but few games even allowed you to execute trades or release players on a team, never mind allow having baseball players named after “Invader Zim” characters throwing fastballs of doom at unfortunate opponents!
In most cases, at only $5, “Extra Innings” is an inexpensive game with a lot more fun than you’d expect, especially if you’re someone who normally doesn’t enjoy sports games. I’m not a huge fan of baseball, but the customization options have me coming back to it time and time again, just to see how well my friends and family team, as well as my Nicktoons team, are doing against their rivals in their respective leagues. If you’re not into licensed sports titles, lamenting still for the days of “Tecmo Super Bowl,” “NBA Jam,” and “Baseball Stars,” then “Extra Innings” will feel right at home in your SNES collection.
Well, that does it for me. Join me next month as my favorite holiday, Easter (I know, I’m weird), will be upon us. The only thing I’m going to find in my Easter basket, though, is the stench of rotten eggs in the form of some of the very worst video games ever made.
Remember, I do this all for you, people. Game on!