Accolade began Hardball back in the PC days of the late 80s, the Hardball series never got to NES, but two versions a piece got to SNES and Sega Genesis. The first version was Hardball! (which was a carbon copy of the PC version of Hardball 2), it had full roster, exhibition mode, playoff mode and also the same annoying tune over and over (for Genesis, never played the SNES version) Unlike Hardball 94, you couldn’t edit your team and also it lacked any MLB license. Admittingly, the first Hardball’s graphics are slightly better than Hardball 94’s.

Fast forward to Hardball 94 with a less annoying tune that doesn’t play during the ball game, Hardball 94 had the whole kit and caboodle, MLB rosters with 16-bit portraits, editing team name, roster, description and logo. However, the logo creation can be a serious bitch with a Sega controller and a mouse.

Hardball 94 had all the options in the world for one to want that full baseball feel, and then some: player ratings, specific pitches, infield and outfield strategies, choice of batter and pitcher view and even a manage-only mode. Gameplay control is moderate, no better than most games, but certainly not seriously confusing. For safety sake, play a couple of exhibition games before you get the idea.

Gameplay presentation for 1994 standards is above average and again, the previous version that got into the 16-bit console world had better graphics. However, it does have a good TV-like style play to it. Hardball 94 is a high recommendation for the folks who want to go back to the past, even if you want to just play coach, or even watch a game (boring, unless you wanna recapture the jest of mid-90s baseball, then I can’t blame you. I might just do that myself).

You can get a PC copy of Hardball 94 via an abondonware site (download at your own risk), but look for Hardball 3 instead of 94.

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