Before I review RBI Baseball, I have already reviewed Tecmo Baseball here. In my opinion, RBI Baseball is Tecmo Baseball on steroids. The info you want about Tecmo Baseball is here due to the comparison.

RBI Baseball for the NES was released in 1988 by Tengen. Those were the folks who released the games on NES in a different cartridge. This game was popular once it got on the shelves; one good reason was the MLBPA license. RBI Baseball came with 8 teams and 2 all-star teams, including my hometown Detroit Tigers who had Tom Brookens (later the third base coach for the team in the late 2000s to 2014). Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens are also great pitchers. For batters, we got Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Vince Coleman and the late great Kirby Puckett (RIP). In Tecmo Baseball, you have the option of the DH Rule. RBI Baseball lacks it; the pitcher gets in the batter’s box for this one.

For graphics, RBI Baseball kicks it up a notch with slightly better pitcher detail compared to say Tecmo Baseball and even Baseball Simulator 1.000. When it comes to pitcher/batter view, the camera is behind the batter with separate views for first and third base. Tecmo Baseball had the same, but only with the camera behind the batter. When the ball is in play, you’ll see the usual top down view. The crowd looks like dots, but what do you expect from 88-89, eh? I usually don’t pay attention to the crowd. Unlike Tecmo Baseball, RBI lacks the Jumbotron. When you hit a home run or get between innings, you’d see an animation or some message. RBI just has the scoreboard.

When it comes to gameplay, this game has team ratings. According to this site, the best team to play is Detroit and the worst is Houston. On my first play, I played as Detroit and went against Houston. On the first inning, Houston hit 6 runs against me and I was still trying to get the feel for the game. Although I assumed I was going to lose big time, I managed to win 12-7 with a 7-run 6th inning that made the difference, so the folks at are correct. My next game I played as Minnesota (thinking that was Montreal due to the MO) and went against the NY Mets. I would later figure out it’s Minnesota due to Puckett playing, and I lost in 7 innings with the score of 12-2.

An annoying aspect of game play is when a fast grounder is hit to the left, you play as the third baseman while the shortstop automatically goes to third. Perhaps I’ve been playing too many modern games where the CPU controls the player until he gets the ball and the control is passed to you when the highlighted circle under him confirms it. This is the same with a fast grounder to the right; you control the first baseman while the second baseman goes to first.

There is also a point where you can hit a fast grounder between the usual position of the shortstop and second base where the CPU will get close to the ball, but won’t get it. It floats to the outfield for the left and center fielders to take care of it. If you have a fast player, you can get to second easily here. This factor is also in Baseball Simulator 1.000 where the shortstop gets close, but doesn’t get the ball.

Musically, this game does not have much to offer: it has the usual gameplay music, a tune for somebody on base, and a short home run tune. That doesn’t bother me really, I’m not degrading this game because of its lack of music. However, I’d like to point out that Baseball Simulator had more tunes (shut up, Robbie! Who gives a s—t?)

Back in the day, I was a Baseball Simulator kid and I don’t think I ever played RBI Baseball once in the great NES days. Now since I got in front of it, I kinda like it and I can see why it was so popular back then. It was the first console game that had actual MLB rosters and a Detroit team. I wondered why that had Detroit and not Los Angeles. Per Wikipedia, the folks who translated RBI Baseball to English and moved it to NES took the 4 playoff teams in 1986 and 1987, and Detroit was one of them, and also the Angels when they were known as the California Angels, like in the movie Angels In The Outfield.

RBI Baseball, for those playing on an emulator, has quite a few editors available for the game. You can create your own teams and players. But the only one available that I can find is Nightwulf’s RBI Manager., which is a super site about RBI Baseball, has custom roms. If you’re too lazy to create your own, you can check them out for that. they still even update that site from time to time. Their most recent one was in December 2017.

The bottom line: I wished I played RBI Baseball back when I was a stupid Baseball Simulator dork playing an Ultra team against regular teams. I wanted easy victories.

RBI Central Network – A site about then-active leagues for RBI Baseball. Hasn’t been updated since April 2013.