TURN TO CHANNEL 3: ‘Little League Baseball: Championship Series’ is a Williamsport winner
There’s a lot of things I love about being a small business owner selling pieces of gaming history and nostalgia, each distinct to whomever comes through my doors. Sure, seeing eyes light up over the more popular titles is always cool, but there’s something to be said about the games you don’t expect people to get amped up with childhood memories over.
Today, we continue looking at retro sports titles, with one of the more niche sports games people look for. Turn to Channel 3 heads to the mounds of Williamsport for “Little League Baseball: Championship Series” on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Let’s play ball!
“Little League Baseball: Championship Series” (NES, 1990)
This game was developed by the fine folks at SNK, who are also known for their “Baseball Stars” series that had two entries on the NES as well. While not necessarily known for much of a soundtrack, what composers of SNK titles seem to have a knack for is the proper placement of music and sounds in their games.
“Little League Baseball: Championship Series” has upbeat music that further adds to the fun and, I guess, authenticity of the game’s subject matter. If you get a runner on base, the game puts a quick blip of music on there to show your accomplishment. Teams also get a nice tune for a homerun and, of course, music should they win or lose a game but, for me, the music and sound effects during an actual game are what matter most, and they are pretty good.
At bat, players vary in size, from short and stout to tall and lanky, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that I’ll get into below, but like many sports games on the NES, when the actual action commences, the players become much smaller, perhaps to further encompass the speed of the action.
In addition, the cut scene graphics are top notch, with players grabbing at a bat to see who is home or visitor, as well as the homerun and end game screens. The graphics of the game really capture the youthful exuberance of Little League baseball, and that’s what you’d want, right?
The players of varying sizes are also categorized by skill levels, which let you know whether or not you’ve got a player that can belt one out of the park or one you might think about bunting with. Of course, you can also tell this because the skill 1 players are usually shaking in their cleats (literally) while skill 3 players are more poised for a big swing. This plays out like most baseball games for the console do, but sometimes the excitement of the game can cause a direction to be pushed incorrectly, causing you to throw the ball to the wrong baseman, but that doesn’t happen too often.
Perhaps not as fondly regarded as the “Baseball Stars” or “Based Loaded” series on the NES, “Little League Baseball: Championship Series” has carved its own distinct niche within the minds of gamers who are now grown up and searching for this game with just as much fervor as, say, the “R.B.I. Baseball” series, another popular place for baseball-loving gamers. Averaging around $8 for a loose copy, this is a fun little baseball game that won’t break the bank and will make a great addition to your collection should you be big into retro sports games.
That does it for me. Next time, we wrap up the month with another stint on the baseball field as we review the under-the-radar Super Nintendo game “Extra Innings!”
Until then, do as I’m doing and hope that spring will truly arrive one day so we can all kiss this accursed snow goodbye! Game on!