Bases Loaded, known in Japan as Moero!! Pro Yakyuu (燃えろ!!プロ野球?), is a baseball video game by Jaleco that was released in Japan. A version for the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1987 in Japan and in 1988 in the U.S., and a Game Boy port was released in 1990. A mobile phone version exists as well. Bases Loaded was released on April 7, 2008 in Japan and on April 12, 2008 in North America for Wii's Virtual Console, at the cost of 500 Wii Points.
The game is the first installment of the Bases Loaded series, followed by seven sequels across three generations of consoles. There are three more video games in the Bases Loaded NES series, Bases Loaded II: Second Season, Bases Loaded 3 and Bases Loaded 4. There was also a Game Boy version of Bases Loaded. The series continued onto the SNES platform with Super Bases Loaded, Super Bases Loaded 2, and Super Bases Loaded 3. The final entry to the series was Bases Loaded '96: Double Header, released for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation.
Bases Loaded is also the first in a series of eight sports Famicom games known in Japan as "Moero!!". This series is all generic sports games. Three of the games were localized in the Western Markets as Bases Loaded, Bases Loaded 2, and Bases Loaded 3, and the basketball game as Hoops. Four titles went unreleased stateside or in the Pal regions..
These eight games, by release date, are as follows: Moero!! Pro Yakyuu (Red) (Bases Loaded), Moero!! Pro Tennis (Racket Attack), Moero!! Pro Yakyuu '88 - Kettei Ban (Bases Loaded II: Second Season), Moero!! Junior Basket - Two on Two (Hoops), Moero!! Pro Soccer (Japan Only), Moero!! Shin Moero!! Pro Yakyuu, Moero!! Juudou Warriors (Japan only), and Moero!! Pro Yakyuu '90 Kandouhen (US Bases Loaded 3).
The game allows the player to control one of 12 teams in either a single game or a full season. For single games, there is also a two-player option.
Bases Loaded featured a unique television-style depiction of the pitcher-batter matchup, as well as strong play control and a relatively high degree of realism, which made it one of the most popular baseball games of the early NES.
One unique feature of the game is that the pitcher can provoke a batter to charge the mound. Each team has only one batter who can be provoked in this manner, however (usually the team's best hitter); it is up to the player to discover who it is.
At the time Bases Loaded was released, few video games were licensed by major league sports. Therefore, the league depicted in Bases Loaded is a fictitious league of twelve teams. They are:
- Boston - above-average offense with Freida, Norkus and Angel, above-average starting pitching, poor bullpen
- D.C. - great power with Fendy, great starting pitching with David and Finn, sub-par bullpen
- Hawaii- strong hitting with Debro, Harris, Kwaz, and Moon; Average starting pitching, best bullpen in the game
- Jersey - best team in the game. unparalleled hitting with ryder, paste (top overall hitter), bay, and ford.
- Kansas - features Patson, who has the strongest fastball in the game (102 mph), great pitching, average offense
- L.A. - Above-average offense with Wales and Tyson, has below average pitching with Lubow and Bailey.
- Miami- great overall offense with Moyer and Warner, above average pitching (features Henter, lowest ERA in the game with a 100 mph arm), great bullpen with Shard and Irving
- N.Y. - below-average offense with the worst clean-up hitter in the game in Star, and average pitching
- Omaha- weak offense led by Lyonse, and an average pitching staff led by Nimi and Rennor
- Philly - below-average offense with standout cleanup hitter Oko, and pitching staff that is inconsistent
- Texas - above-average offense led by Marcus in the middle, and an average pitching staff with Perez, Ott, and Kramer
- Utah- one of the better teams in the game, their offense is led by Agua, and an awesome pitching staff led by Quinta, Lep, and Stava. Also features one of the best closers with Bella.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the umpires' names are given, and are as follows:
- PL: Yuk
- 1B: Dum
- 2B: Boo
- 3B: Bum
Disembodied catcher's mitt
One of the trademark images of the Bases Loaded franchise was the disembodied catcher's mitt, also referred to as the "phantom paw", that would catch pitches that were thrown extremely outside. Developer Heep Sop Choi claims it was programmed to show the catcher making some terrific snatches without any bodily movement.
Computer Gaming World compared the game disfavorably to Accolade's Hardball, both focusing primarily on the confrontation of pitcher and batter. The review described Bases Loaded's viewpoint behind the pitcher as making it far too difficult to discern the position of, and subsequently hit, the ball. Other annoyances during gameplay, such as the inability to see where outfielders were before the ball got to them, were contrasted against the game's good graphics and animation.