Top 5 Baseball Video Games We Can’t Live Without

We’re still fresh and early into the 2023 MLB season. With a new season means another year of baseball video games. If you’re looking to play something other than the latest MLB The Show game, here are five baseball video games we consider the best.

5. Backyard Baseball 2001

Although a backyard baseball game hasn’t released for consoles since 2010, the 2001 Windows version is still one of the best baseball video games ever created. The game is extremely relatable to its target audience by taking them back to the days of youth baseball. The game has 30 kids of different backgrounds to come together to partake in the Great American Pastime.

There are multiple versions of backyard baseball, but 2001 gave you access to 31 professional MLB players in kid-form to choose from as well. The game also lets you create your own team with a custom logo, or choose from 30 professional teams. If you like the gameplay and feel of BYB but also want something with real MLB players like Sammy Sosa and Jason Giambi, BYB 2001 has that option.

Aside from the presentation, the gameplay and A.I. was improved from the original 1997 installment, but not much else was changed. If it’s not broken, why fix it? BYB 2001 retains the greatness of the original without straying too far from the norm.

A Backyard Baseball game hasn’t been released since 2015, but the qualities of these titles still hold true to this day. It’s a nice break from more realistic MLB games if you’re looking for something different.

Also, because he deserves to be mentioned: Pablo Sanchez from BYB is the greatest baseball player to ever grace the field.

4. MLB Slugfest 2004

If you’re looking for something a little more aggressive but still different from the mainline MLB games, Slugfest may be up you alley. It’s essentially a much more brutal baseball game where home-runs are more common and players will fight each other if they have to.

The main differences in this game from mainline baseball games is that there’s only seven innings, and the gameplay is a more arcade-style baseball experience. But what’s separates this game is the hilarious commentary that compliments the game. The two announcers, Jimmy Kitzrow (who also announced for NBA Jam and NFL Blitz) and Jimmy Shorts (voiced by Kevin Matthews) add a level of humor to the game unseen in regular baseball games.

It’s also the only MLB where you can play as Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Seems like the two decided to settle their differences at the ballpark instead of with their fists.

The series went on to have two more sequels, MLB Slugfest Loaded and MLB Slugfest 2006. However, these games weren’t as personable and weren’t received as well as Midway’s first two Slugfest titles. The series has not seen new installment since as Midway Games went defunct in 2010.


3. Super Mega Baseball 3

For an unlicensed baseball video game, Super Mega Baseball 3 holds up well to its competitors. Super Mega Baseball 3 puts you in an entirely fictional world of baseball with larger-than-life players. The game is an arcade-style baseball experience that differentiates itself with both its look and field. You can also play with both male and female players in the same league.

The newly introduced Franchise mode is deep and lets you control:

Games Per season
Playoff Games Per Series
Playoff Teams
Signing Free Agents
Developing Current Players

The developers later added a Cross-Platform Online League, where up to 32 players can participate in a casual or competitive full-season with each other.

Outside of exhibition and franchise, there’s also other modes like Pennant Race. Players compete against each other in 1v1 matches and must try to get the most wins in a seven-day span. They also added a custom pennant race mode where your custom created teams can compete as well.

There’s no shortage of what to do with SMB 3. This makes it fun and accessible game for people new to baseball. If you’re also looking for something more fictional and less grounded in reality, we recommend you give the Super Mega Baseball series a shot.

The newest installment, Super Mega Baseball 4, is set for release on June 2nd worldwide. Developer Metalhead Software has teamed up with EA Sports in order to implement over 200 former professional baseball players (dubbed, Legends) in their latest game.

2. MVP Baseball 2005

MVP Baseball 2005 is just about everything you could’ve asked for in an MLB video game at the time. MLB 2K5 was great, and so were the previous titles in MVP Baseball, but 2005 felt like a love letter to the fans.

Not many other MLB games (especially at the time) allowed you to create and customize your very own stadium. The player has almost free control to customize rosters and other details as well. Control is key. And speaking of control, the pitching mechanic (specifically, pitch speed) was simplified from previous MVP Baseball games, making it much easier for new players and casual gamers to step into the sport of baseball.

This would be the final MVP Baseball game ever released, as EA lost the license to produce MLB games. The modding community is still passionate for this game, as there are roster, uniform, and soundtrack updates that players can still download. There’s even a mod that lets you play as teams from as early as 1927.

1. MLB The Show 20

It’s hard to pick the best MLB The Show game, as they’re all very good. The sole reason why we put 20 on the list is because it expanded the series to include minor league teams with complete rosters. That’s a huge undertaking and is extremely appreciated by hardcore baseball fans.

Franchise mode and Road to the Show are fun and set precedents on how a baseball video game should work.

It’s nice to re-visit the nostalgic MLB games from the late 90s to the early 2000s, but MLB The Show’s gameplay is unmatched. It feels dynamic, fresh, and most importantly, close to the real thing. The controls are perfected yet somehow always improve with each new installment.

The level of detail on the athletes, stadiums, and gear, are all phenomenal too. It really adds to the realism that San Diego Studio was going for. MLB The Show is the baseball video game franchise that runs the genre right now, and for good reason.

Still trying to scratch that ball-game itch with other MLB video games? Check out our latest article on Super Mega Baseball 4’s Legends Deep Dive.

The post Top 5 Baseball Video Games We Can’t Live Without appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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