ken-griffey-1

Genre: Sports
Year: 1994
Developed by: Software Creations
Published by: Nintendo
Platforms: Super Nintendo
#480
Feeling Like: AW COME ON!!!!

I don’t know exactly what I was doing when I was 24 years of age, but I can absolutely tell you I was not the talk of the baseball world, nor did I have one of the smoothest swings the world has ever seen, nor was I on the cover of my very own Super Nintendo baseball game. Ken Griffey Jr was, though. This game is just a footnote on his legacy: a 22 year career, a 13-time All-Star, 630 home runs (sixth all time), won 10 Gold Gloves (no, that’s not a video game power, but it should be) had an 8 game home run streak and a Hall of Fame player. Where some players nowadays get to grace the cover of EA’s yearly entry, back then you had to not only be good, you had to be notorious and slightly transcend your sport.

Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball isn’t interested in being a true simulation of the game. Oh sure, it has the major league license including all the pro teams and the stadiums. Hilariously, they were allowed to use player’s likeness but not their names, which means you’ll be facing off against ball players with names like P. Parker, N. Fury and other obvious comic book/sci-fi writer homages. Who knew Philip K. Dick was such a good third basemen?

ken-griffey-2
To be fair, in the mid 90s, most batters looked exactly like this.

Well, if Mr. Dick were to write about a dystopian future were the fates of the innocent depended on their victory over evil baseball overlords, this would be a close resemblance. The AI cheats all the time; your fielders rarely go out of their way to field a ground ball and three outs will seem impossible every inning. I don’t know what kind of masochist would subject themselves to 162 games of this humiliation. You’re way better off playing with a friend so at least when you smash your outfielder into the wall, you’ll be able to share the joke.

This type of game was always easily rentable at Blockbuster, in the bargain bins at Walmart but not worth throwing away entirely like yearly entries of every other sport game (NHL ’94 excluded of course). It was fast. It had style. It didn’t have licensed songs, it had its own groovy SNES soundtrack to go along with the fantastic sound bites of players screaming “AW C’MON” at the ump when they strike out.

While the Sega Genesis generally had the superior sports catalog, the SNES wasn’t without quality sporting games and this was one of them. The sequel wasn’t nearly as good and didn’t embrace the cartoony nature like Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball. There’s something supremely satisfying with gunning a ball into the catcher from the wall with absolutely no bounce, or slam a home run so hard you can’t see the ball land. Or play as Ken Griffey Jr, the only man worthy of his real name.

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