A big part of the reason why fans were excited ahead of the release of EA Sport's new baseball game MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2022 earlier this year is that, for many fans, their mid-2000s editions of MVP Baseball still stand as some of the best games for the sport ever made. With MLB The Show continuing to dominate the genre and Out of the Park Baseball providing something for dedicated fans though, competition is tough.
Those aren't the only games that have made the genre so strong over the years, with more arcade-like offerings only adding to the variety. Fans have taken to Reddit to pick out the best of the bunch.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
MLB Slugfest 2006 (2006)
Whilst Reddit picked out Slugfest 2006 as the standout game in the series, it could just as easily have gone to any other edition of the Midway Games baseball franchise. That's because the titles all have one important thing in common, which is a commitment to fast-paced aggressive gameplay that goes a step further than almost any other baseball title.
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Redditor akat16 was one fan who was won over, calling the game "backyard baseball mixed with GTA." It might not have gone as far as the GTA games but with the ability to bring actual physical aggression to the field, it outdoes any other baseball title when it comes to violence at least.
MLB Power Pros (2007)
Though they don't name a specific edition of PawaPuro Production's long-running series that is huge in Japan despite most editions not getting a western release, Redditor Quople thinks that having "no mention of MLB Power Pros" in a discussion of the best baseball games ever made is "absolutely shameful."
Some might dismiss Power Pros for its strangely cartoonish aesthetic but even critics have acknowledged that there's a surprising amount of depth to the series' gameplay. With single-player game modes that use role-playing elements to add to the immersion and a 10-year manager mode where the player has a huge amount of customization options, Power Pros can be a match for the biggest baseball titles.
Backyard Baseball 2003 (2002)
Though nostalgia may play a part, it's still impressive that Humongous Entertainment's casual baseball sim aimed at a younger audience has so many fans that think it deserves a mention in the top baseball games of all time. Redditor Fossa_II considers Backyard Baseball 2003 one of the best despite its age and its child-friendly atmosphere, saying "I may or may not still play that game."
The all-too-often forgotten game revolves around building a team out of 30 neighborhood kids and the early-2000s editions only add to the fun with 31 pros also available. The game's relatively simplistic gameplay isn't anything special but it gets the most important thing right by making things fun through absolutely hilarious details and a memorably enthusiastic commentator.
Ken Griffey Jr. Presents: Major League Baseball (1994)
Despite being a very old-school sports game at nearly 30 years old, Ken Griffey Jr. Presents: Major League Baseball for the SNES still stands as one of the all-time greats. Redditor RaVNzCRoFT is one person who thinks it's still up there with the best, complimenting its gameplay for being "so fun."
Naturally, the gameplay is a lot more basic compared to more modern entries, and the 2D art isn't exactly realistic, but overall it's a surprisingly grounded baseball sim. Since the actual gameplay is almost all about timing, most of the variety comes from the different players and their unique animations, something that has stuck with fans ever since.
Out Of The Park Baseball 23 (2022)
Although it might not have the broad appeal of something like MLB The Show, Out of the Park Baseball has inspired an incredibly dedicated fanbase thanks to its rich and deeply detailed gameplay. As a text-based management sim with a significant learning curve, the game isn't for everyone but, for some fans on Reddit, it's "the best baseball sim ever created."
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It's often said that Out of the Park Baseball is more like a full-time job than a game and that's because it's serious when it comes to accuracy. Each edition brings improved visuals and more customization options but the 2023 version also comes with new in-game tutorials to make things more accessible, completing an already incredibly strong package.
Super Mega Baseball 2 (2018)
Whilst a baseball sim with a lighthearted art style that uses made-up players with silly names rather than real ones might automatically be dismissed by a lot of fans, Super Mega Baseball is not a series to write off. Redditor premjob23 goes as far as to say "SMB 2 is probably the best baseball came to come out since MVP 05."
Smooth and surprisingly serious when it comes to actual baseball physics, there's something about Super Mega Baseball's fast-paced style that makes it addictive to play. Though some felt it could have included more content, it's surprisingly comprehensive for a non-triple-A title and the DLCs only add to the customization options.
Mario Superstar Baseball (2005)
It's pretty widely known that Mario is part of one of the best Olympic sports video games out there but people often forget that he was the star of a worthy addition to the baseball game genre too. Redditor tomrulz25 is one fan who considers Mario Superstars Baseball for GameCube among the best.
Though they call it "extremely simple," that actually works in the game's favor. Whereas other titles have cornered the market for realistic sims, players want a more fun and arcadey experience with Mario sports games and that's exactly what they got. When it comes to couch co-op, the thrill of picking a roster and going all-out to win is still hard to beat even now.
MVP Baseball 2004 (2004)
There are some amazing EA Sports games out there but few stand out as much among their rivals as MVP Baseball in the mid-2000s. Redditor apollospaceprogram was just one of a ton of users who immediately responded with "MVP baseball 2004" when it came to the question of the best-ever baseball video game.
The 2004 edition was a massive improvement over its predecessor thanks to making the gameplay far more involved and intuitive as well as being licensed by both the MLB and Minor League Baseball, which was unheard of at the time. MVP Baseball's biggest strength was its refinement, with the game having very few weaknesses, which is part of why it holds up surprisingly well.
MLB: The Show (2006-Present)
The sheer dominance of MLB: The Show ever since it became the main licensed MLB sim on the market has allowed it to pull ahead of pretty much every other series in terms of quality too. With its triple-A budget and huge variety in terms of game modes, Redditor msgbonehead voiced a popular opinion when they called it "the best game hands down."
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MLB: The Show is visually impressive but it also has the polish a player would expect from the series that has gone unmatched for so long. Whilst critics have pointed out there is still room for improvement with the online modes, having those modes at all and especially with crossplay possible is a gift to baseball fans everywhere.
MVP Baseball 2005 (2005)
For a lot of classic baseball video game fans, only one title has topped the acclaimed 2004 edition of MVP Baseball and that's the 2005 edition. Though most of the changes it brought were subtle, including improvements to visual cues and new minigames, each one only made the experience better.
Redditor HowardBunnyColvin points out that, on top of it just being technically excellent in terms of its baseball simulation gameplay, it also allowed the player to build their own stadium and very few MLB games have "allowed you to do that since." These treats for the player in terms of extra customization only added to an already stand-out experience in the genre.
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