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The Official Backyard Baseball Tier List

We want a batter, not a broken ladder!

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We all played this game when we grew up, right? Alongside all of the other Humongous games made for children in the ‘90s? Some of those games are still great, and hold up really well (like Spy Fox’s humor). Others don’t, and this might be one of them. But instead of admitting that and doing a deep dive into why, I’ll just stick with my nostalgia and make a tier list for the best players in the game. I have to keep those warm memories with me, and not crush them by playing this game and being disappointed.

The criteria is simple: I added each player’s stats together, figured out who had the most raw talent in each of the four categories of skill (batting, pitching, fielding, and running), and sort of went from there. Hitting is the most important, you want power to end games because offense = wins. Fielding is next in importance because you need to be able to shut down the AI when they do inevitably hit, and you won’t be able to play all 9 guys on the field at once. Running is next, it can be really helpful in certain moments of a tight game, and pitching is least important. Just pick a spot and throw, and hope they don’t hit the ball, there’s almost nothing you can do.

And now for the best character in video games to introduce us in, is VINNIE THE GOOCH!!!!!!!!!!!


F TIER:

30. Jorge Garcia — Sorry Jorge, you are the worst player in the game. Logic would reason that being average at everything, a jack of all trades, master of none, would be helpful. It isn’t. You have no skills, can’t do anything beyond mediocrity, and I don’t know what position you play. The description below says your poor eyesight on a count of social Darwinism means you can’t even be hid out in the outfield! What a joke you are Jorge.


29. Reese Worthington — So slightly better than him is a kid who can run around and play outfield. Great. Nothing special to see here folks. Especially when it blatantly says below he is too short and can’t play in the field. What garbage.


28. Gretchen Hasselhoff — She would be completely useless if not for the fact that she can pitch and run after a decent swing. Otherwise, look elsewhere for pitchers.


27. Kimmy Eckman — Pippy Longstocking here can hit a long ball, but cannot for the life of her chase after it. If you can’t circle the bases you’re dead in the water, and with no other skills, Kimmy is trash tier.


26. Sally Dobbs — This lovable loser can do one thing slightly better than these other F tier kids: field. You can safely put her in the outfield or diamond and she will not screw anything up for you. But, unfortunately, she cannot hit, so she is ranked low.


D TIER:

T — 22. Sidney Webber, Ashley Webber, Ricky Johnson, Lisa Crocket — These asshats are the absolute last picks in a draft, and should not be taken unless you need to fill in bodies on a roster. They can be a great pitching rotation by themselves, but unfortunately cannot do much else well enough to matter. They can’t hit, they can’t play the field, so they are D tier.

 

 

 


21. Billy Jean Blackwood — I just read that player description again and laughed at it. She can hit, which is good. She cannot run or pitch, which is bad. She can play first base, which is great. She cannot catch very well, the most important thing at that position, which is not great. Avoid her and her freakish pre-teen body.


C TIER:

T — 19. Amir Khan and Ronnie Dobbs — These two dorky looking clowns are almost useless, other than they can hit well and aren’t horrible at anything in particular. The pitching stat is wasted on these guys because there are better pitchers who have other attributes. They are the definition of mediocre, C tier players.

 


18. Vicki Kawaguchi — Vicki is like Draymond Green, the ultimate utility player. She can do everything except score, which puts her dead last on a batting order and makes any manager afraid when she is at the plate. Speed is great, 4/4 speed is blazing, and the fielding is terrific, but the pitching stat is useless and it’s hard to justify using her other than sparingly.


17. Luanne Lui — She is an interesting back-up, and you can only use her as pitching relief. She can hit decently well, but makes for a great bunter who can gun it going 9th in the line-up when you need a pinch hit. Luanne is a fun risk/reward player.


16. Marky Dubois — There are other players who have similar stat-lines, but the problem with Marky the redneck/churchgoer here is that he cannot run. At all. He can hit, but if it’s not a home-run you’re toast. And you won’t ever use him as a pitcher, so it’s hard to rank him as B tier with such a vital flaw in his game. You need to score runs in this game, and he is a liability.


B TIER:

15. Dante Robinson — For someone with such a wicked awesome afro, he sure is a speed demon. Dante is a great clean-up guy, someone who can be relied on for his lightning fast running and stealing skills, and can be put at any base for fast tag-outs. Sometimes you need guys on your team like this.


14. Dmitri Petrovich — Another strong bat in the line-up is never a bad thing, especially since he can run after some line drives and bunts, saving innings by himself. Otherwise, hide him in the outfield and rely on his power and speed.


13. Tony Delvecchio — I am a sucker for Tony, the Italian stereotypical kid. I like having him on my team because he reminds me of my family, and he’s funny. The stats are decent enough, hits and fields, that’s what you want a majority of your roster to do well, and this is a sentimental ranking mostly at 13, but the B tier status is undeniable, considering the most important stats he has in spades.


T-11. Maria Luna and Annie Frazier—Both very well rounded players, much Maria and Annie are both solid enough overall to choose safely. The pitching stats are awful but you don’t need 9 pitchers on a team, you need hitters and runners and fielders and basemen. They do it all, and are great for any team.

 


A TIER:

10. Kenny Kawaguchi — Here is the other ace pitcher, and a terrific back-up/reliever/closer. With the wheels, he can be dangerously slippery and steal bases and make up for his lack-luster batting. He won’t be out in the field much, but on the mound, he is a flamethrower. What good upper body strength.


9. Ernie Steele — Future Golden Glove winner Ernie here is important for catching flies, stopping double or triple plays from snowballing, and can also fill in as a relief pitcher (which many of the cast can do, admittedly). But his defense is top notch and I don’t mind that he isn’t flashy.


8. Achmen Khan — Achmed is the prime example of a great catcher. He can hit it far when needed, or bunt and run in a pinch, and you hide his fielding flaws by putting him behind the plate. This guy is always my catcher on a team, and I love having as many power hitters to squeak out a close game or to close out a big lead.


7. Stephanie Morgan — The actually most well rounded player (besides the GOAT at number 1, look out for that), Steph is a lock because of her versatility. She doesn’t have a 4 in any stat, but that’s okay, this isn’t golf or tennis. This is a team game!


6. Mikey Thomas — Mikey is a slower Jocinda (coming up next); same positives but slightly worse negatives. But that is okay for a pudgy hitter, because he is essentially the David Ortiz of this game, except he can also be in the field and not be stuck at DH. Having offense is important in this game, since there are only 2 ace pitchers in the game.


S TIER:

5. Jocinda Smith — She is a power hitter who is sensational at defense. I do not care if she’s slow or can’t do much else, you knock one out of the ballpark and it does not matter how long it takes to circle the plates.


4. Angela Delvecchio — Not a bad placing for someone with poor overall collective stats. But she is the best pitcher in the game, and is only one of two players with a 4/4 rating in pitching. She is the Sandy Koufax of this game, and she doesn’t have to go last in your batting order because she is also above average at hitting! Holy hell, is she reliable and versatile. That kid has got quite the arm.


3. Pete Wheeler — Pete might be a real dummy, and really annoying, but my lord is he well rounded and a mandatory top five pick. You can put him first in your batting order and let him rip the whole game through, because he hits, he plays good D, and he runs like the wind.


2. Kiesha Phillips — She is Pablo light; she can do everything offensively that he can, but is slightly worse in the field. But that’s okay, being the second best player is nothing to sneeze at, when you’re following in the footsteps of the Greatest Of All Time aka the GOAT.


The obvious number 1 and GOAT of Backyard Baseball is Pablo Sanchez — The Secret Weapon, he has nearly maxed out stats, and is the best character in the game. You pick him number 1, every time. Way too OP for a children’s sports game. He bats fourth in the line-up, with bases loaded, and it’s game over. Plus his music is so godlike, so yeah this game is essentially Pablo Sanchez Baseball 1997, that should be the title. He has a 3 in pitching, how fucking preposterous is that!

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10 Bold Predictions For Video Games in 2018

Plus, some 2017 prediction results.

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Us by the end of 2018, probably

I made a bunch of predictions last year, in video form, and I really hate when people make such bold prognostications and then just not go back and check the tape. What are the results? How did you fare? Are you a fraud? Luckily, I am not a wimp, and I have a better batting average than most “analysts” and “commentators” who predict live sports. Flip a coin for each match and you’ll do better than professional betters in Vegas!

This year I do not have a working laptop and for the foreseeable future will not, so we are transitioning from longwinded videos to TL;DR columns. Hooray! I typed out what I said last year, and will just post my new visions of what I see in my crystal ball for 2018. I am clairvoyant, I will bat 1.000 this year, watch me do it. But, before that, let’s review what my predictions were for 2017.

1. “GOTY is a mystery game, yet to be announced”

Correct! Because I count PUBG as a worthy choice for game of the year and it came out of NOWHERE and became a decade defining phenomenon like Counter-Strike once was.

2. “Kingdom Hearts 3 and The Last of Us 2 get no release date and only teases”

Sure, an easy one to make in hindsight, but it wasn’t at the beginning of last year and I’ll make similar claims about this year with these two games and more soon. I expect delays as far as the eye can see, for anything and everything.

3. “E3 is good again”

Sure, why not? It wasn’t as bad as the last few years, but nowhere near as godlike as what we remember it being in our childhoods. Holy shit I am old.

4. “There will be an industry freak out over something money related.”

I’m going to count this one. With loot boxes, blind boxes, EA’s gross versus revenue, and the price tag / budget of Hellblade, I think the industry and #gamers really got blindsided by how sinister and conniving 21st century capitalism has corrupted every facet of life. We are more aware of money now than we’ve ever been as a country, and a society. And the fucking ESA still won’t reveal sales figures, what garbage.

Yeah, this didn’t end well.

5. “Reviews will die”

They did to me, and while it’s not quantifiable in any real capacity (websites will still review games), I think they are essentially as useless as user reviews. IGN gave Prey a 4.0, and then they didn’t. PUBG got both a 9.5 and 5.0 from IGN…and then didn’t. Fortnite came out in a box at full price, and hasn’t traditionally been released yet by old standards. Let’s just throw all of it out the window and start again. And not to pick on IGN, they’re just the most high profile examples, but it’s impossible to review games like we used to; on a scale, with a score or number or letter grade, in a release window as tight as possible, or like how we review monitors and televisions and keyboards. It’s impossible. Just review games like movies; the best stuff comes out decades afterward and doesn’t incorporate what it cost or anything nonsense like that.

6. Everything I said about the Nintendo Switch doing poorly.

Dead wrong. Let’s move on.

7. “It will be the Year of Delays”

Points for me, every year is a year of delays! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha but I promise I won’t do that again this year. But it will happen. Watch.

Here’s to seeing you in 2018, Red Dead!

8. “eSports creeps more into the mainstream”

Another one that can’t be scientifically proven, but I feel like that has been the case. When both of my parents call me up and tell me they saw a game on TBS, I think that has to count for something.

9. “Valve does something new, not DOTA related”

I WAS SO FUCKING CLOSE and then they had to make their new card game a DOTA 2 thing. Fuck you Valve. I’m giving myself half credit for that and their VR line-up, and that Portal bridge game thing. Collectively, they count!

10. “Borderlands 3 makes its debut”

Eh, you win some, you lose some.


By my skewed point of view, that’s 7.5 out of 10. Not bad! Let’s try and go for 10 out of 10 this year, which is the same score IGN gave Skyward Sword ROFL remember that shit? Reviews died at that exact moment, RIP review scores.

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of 2018. Here’s the 10 things that will almost definitely be happening in the world of games this year.


1. Indie games have a weird year

There’s not as many high profile ones as you’d think, and they continue the recent trend of not being a serious GOTY contender for some reason. There will be some flops, kickstarter fails, delays, and whatever the endless runner Super Meat Boy Forever turns out to be. I expect some smaller studios to go for VR, or make a double A type game ala Hellblade and itso facto you have a recipe for a very strange time for indie developers and publishers.

2. More and more trade shows really start to morph into something else we do not recognize, and we are all scratching our heads by the end of the year.

Outliers like Sony’s Playstation Experience a few weeks ago will become the norm as all expos become PAX-lite to get more people, and companies start to break away from the norm and just do their own thing for announcements. EA essentially pulled out of E3 already, Bethesda and Nintendo just hit play on a video, Rockstar doesn’t show up and they already have the biggest game of 2018, and fucking Tokyo Game Show has been on life support for years now. Have less expectations overall, and subscribe to more Twitch channels, that is the future.

3. We get an all-time blockbuster in sales this year

One that sells like crazy hot cakes, and yes I am hedging my bets because it is going to be Red Dead Redemption 2, let’s all be real here. 2K’s financial year is going to look like a supernova with no signs of slowing down. Red Dead 2 could hit some ridiculous number like GTA V, where it comes out of the gate strong, and just hit milestone after milestone: 10 to 20 to 30 to 50 to 80 million, something preposterous like that.

Unless it gets delayed…but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

4. The industry will begin to self-regulate loot boxes

Worldwide governments (but mostly ours, let’s be honest) will fail to actively do what they SHOULD do and ban loot boxes as forms of gambling that seek to prey upon children and adults who are prone to addictive behavior…a.k.a everyone on planet earth except monks. But the industry slowly self-regulates based around the hot topic created by consumers that there needs to be a certain way to do things for microtransactions, mostly spurred by Apple’s decision to force games on iOS to show the odds on all blind boxes. When Microsoft inevitably unveils their new Avatar achievement reward system, they should be very weary of the consequences.

5. A significant number of high and low profile games will star women this year.

It will mirror the movie industry’s big 2017 (Wonder Woman, The Last Jedi, and Beauty and the Beast were all the highest grossing movies last year). I imagine a top selling game stars a woman as the playable protagonist and if that happens to be The Last of Us Part II then I really nailed this one. Maybe we get a Horizon sequel soon, but that would be asking too much, wouldn’t it?

6. The Nintendo Switch begins to stall

After a ridiculously strong start, Nintendo has less gas in the tank than we would like (Metroid Prime 4 and Bayonetta 3 are not coming any time soon, and I don’t count ports of Wii U games, that is just obvious and necessary). Microsoft has more gas in the tank than you would think (they fucking better for their sake), and Sony does nothing to try and fix their whole “we release nothing during the holidays” approach to their first party line-up (I expect a March through August gameplan for God of War, Spider-Man, Detroit: Being Human, and Days Gone, if that still exists).

Mario and Zelda won’t be here to save you this year, Nintendo!

7. Battle royale games are FUCKING EVERYWHERE

…With lots of fun twists, and a lot of copyright infringement. Maybe even, from franchises you don’t expect. I also predict an actual The Hunger Games announcement because people would be stupid not to license that out in some way.

8. The return of the Dark Souls clone

And they will make much bigger splashes this year. And please, for the love of all that is holy, make it Bloodborne 2, Miyazaki-san, — Jesus Christ already! Just announce it.

9. We finally see get teases for…

Cyberpunk 2077, Borderlands 3, Division 2, a new Diablo, a new Bioshock project, Halo 6, Ghost Story and Ken Levine’s new game, and the return of a very classic franchise. I think Splinter Cell or Crimson Skies or Perfect Dark, but maybe Left 4 Dead? Who is to say, honestly, I don’t know. It won’t be Half-Life 3, though — sorry everybody, that ship has sailed. We also finally hear more about The Last of Us: Part 2, and Kingdom Hearts 3, and the Final Fantasy VII remake, and Shenmue 3, and they are all 2019 or later. Not one of those things is close to this calendar year.

One day we’ll get to play as Lil’ Toy Sora. One day.

10. Sony finally announces PSN name changes

…Then they suffer a major data breach because of the changed coding. Later on in the year, we hear juicy rumors and leaked details of the PS5 and it fuels the fire of a wild year for Playstation. Sony refuses to acknowledge anything. Andrew House is not there anymore, after all…it’s going to be an interesting 2018 for them, that’s for sure.

And for the gaming industry overall, well we’re at it. Let’s just hope it’s also a good one.

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Jared’s Top Ten Games of This Horrible, Godforsaken Year

FUCK 2017.

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As I’ve gotten older, I have less free time (stop me if you’ve heard that one before, right). I’m one of millions of Gen X and Millennial children who grew up with games as a daily part of their lives, a main hobby, ageing and maturing alongside with the rest of the industry. And with less time for anything to do, and exponentially more content and media and art to consume than any time in the history of civilization, everyone has to make sacrifices and decisions. Okay, maybe that sounds more dramatic than it really is, but it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that everyone I know cannot have a conversation about anything they experience or like or want to recommend because we are all too fractured as a society to embrace the same things. With the exception of sports and Game of Thrones, I don’t watch the same shows as my friends, or see the same movies, or read the same books, or listen to the same music, or really do the same things. The games we play barely crossover, and if everyone isn’t up to drop $60 on the same title at the same time for co-op, it’s a total waste. Especially since now there is a division between discs and digital, which plants a flag in the ground on whether you keep or return the game you intend on playing. It’s maddening, and I know why so many people want to go back to a simpler time; and that isn’t even getting into the quality of old versus new, don’t even get me started on how this console generation compares to the previous ones.

And now I sort of despise the way I play video games, because I try to cram in as many podcasts and YouTube videos in as I can possibly fit into my head and my schedule. And that means turning down, or off, the audio completely on games to double dip and multi-task. It’s my version of listening to the radio during the gym, or the drive to work, or whatever you normal people in the world do with your time. For me, it’s intentionally playing games in a way that fit my lifestyle, for the worse, out of convenience, and I hate it but I can’t stop doing it.

Instead of taking on different titles, I’m mostly now just looking for idle side quests to complete as I fly through my back catalog of pods, that help me catch up on everything else I’m missing that I deem critical, like politics or the NBA. And out of all the open world games that I grinded through, the second best one was Horizon: Zero Dawn (the first is further down on the list, you already can tell what it is). And it ended up right outside my top ten, which shows you how good this year was (for the first 8 months at least).

If you watched that video I did (above this) about satisfying gameplay loops, then you’ll know why I dig Horizon so much. And if you don’t have the time or can’t be bothered to, basically the main hook of games like this and Far Cry 3 is enjoying the constant running around and exploring and finding things to do, things to kill, animals to skin, items and abilities to upgrade, quests to complete, which help the former which feeds back into the cycle to complete the latter, and so on and so forth. If you can make a pretty game that is somewhat interesting with tight controls and a unique spin, then you’re pretty much set, but Horizon took things a bit further when it came to the art direction and story and world, and mostly the fact you fight giant robot dinosaurs. With bow and arrows and traps and shit. It cannot be simply stated how fucking awesome that is, but also how fresh is it considering you’d think someone should have already done this concept. But oh well, Horizon ended up being the Turok reboot I always secretly wanted, and I didn’t have to play on an N64 controller to get it. But I did have to endure the PS4 controller, which I really don’t love playing with, so onto the other honorable mentions!


Honorable Mentions: Gorogoa, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, Tacoma, Yooka Laylee, A Hat in Time, Hand of Fate 2, Prey, Hellblade, Absolver, Hollow Knight, AC: Origins, and a ton of other little small indies I liked a lot but didn’t love

Also: The SNES Classic does not count

Considering my time with the greatest console maybe ever, and the greatest game maybe ever, there is just nothing like holding a SNES controller and flying through Super Mario World. There is literally nothing else like it, and since it’s my favorite game of all time and takes me back to my glory days of the ‘90s I refuse to not include it on my end of year list. I won’t put it above actual new games that came out, but still, I’ve never gone all the way through Super Metroid before and now I have, and I’m better off for it, that shit is lit as fuck (as the kids nowadays say). You will be too if you can find one. I don’t have much else to say, it’s pretty much what you’d expect it to be, the classic edition mini SNES, and worth every penny. Now only if it had Super Mario All-Stars, TMNT IV Turtles in Time, and Mario Paint, then it would be number 1 on this list. But it doesn’t count. Not even going to use the Star Fox 2 argument, that game is not good.

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Nintendo Switch Sales Have Reached A New Milestone, But Just How Successful Is The Console So Far?

Compared to Nintendo’s last console, at the very least, the answer is…very.

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At this point in time, I have yet to purchase a Nintendo Switch…but, to be honest, I kind of want to. I’m having some major FOMO with Nintendo’s newest console, especially considering the rapturous response that both Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild received in the past year. I just feel incomplete as a gamer by not playing both games, what with Game of the Year Awards coming around, and both games seemingly taking every prize. There’s no other way to say it — not having a Nintendo Switch makes me feel like I am missing out on a big part of video games…which is the first time I can say that about something released by Nintendo in quite a while. And looking at these newly released Nintendo Switch sales numbers, I am far from the only one who probably has that opinion.

As revealed by Nintendo themselves, the Switch recently pushed over ten million total units in worldwide sales. That number was likely achieved through very strong Black Friday sales, which I can personally bear witness to — during my Black Friday shopping, I witnessed a whole lot of carts with Nintendo Switches (Switchii?) in them, with giant displays set up simply to supply for what seemed to be a heavy demand for the handheld/console combo. But even putting Black Friday aside, the Nintendo Switch has sold pretty well since its release in March…though it’s important to contextualize those numbers just a little bit.

Passing ten million units sold in 10 months is pretty good, but it’s not quite a record-breaking number or anything. In fact, the Nintendo Switch is only slightly ahead of where Microsoft was in sales of its Xbox One after a year of release, and those numbers were widely seen as a disappointment at the time. And both were outpaced by the initial sales of the Playstation 4, which passed the 10 million mark nine months into its release.

Still though, a lot of the conclusions made by the number crunching can mostly be viewed through the prism of expectation: the Playstation 4 was seen as a huge seller not just because it sold a bunch, but because it outpaced its predecessor by a substantial amount (don’t forget that, in the final days of the Playstation 3, it was dead last in terms of sales.) The Xbox One, comparatively, was seen as a sales disappointment, even though it still pushed an impressive amount of consoles…just not as many as the powerhouse that was the Xbox 360 did. And, returning to the Nintendo Switch, ANYTHING would have looked amazing to Nintendo coming off the complete failure of the Wii U, which only sold a staggeringly poor 13.5 million units TOTAL by the time it was discontinued in 2016. So the narrative becomes thus: the Playstation 4 is a massive success, the Nintendo Switch is a noteworthy success, and the Xbox One is a disappointing failure.

The reality? All of them are doing pretty damn good, really. Between the three none are really failures, and as consoles evolve to be more “iteration” based (with the likes of the Playstation 4 Pro and Xbox One X mudding up the works), the competition between them is probably going to became far less noteworthy as things go on. But, still, all three systems are healthy sellers which, for the sake of the industry, is probably for the best. After all, a little competition never killed anyone, right?

 


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