Jikkyō Powerful Pro Yakyū (実況パワフルプロ野球 lit. "Live Powerful Pro Baseball" ), also known simply as Power Pro or Pawapuro to non-Japanese speakers, is a traditionally Japan-only baseball series created by Konami. It is known for its big-headed characters, and addictive arcade-style gameplay. It is long running in Japan, starting out in 1994 for the Super Famicom. The game has also appeared on the Sega Saturn (from 1995 to 1997), the PlayStation (from 1995 to 2003), the Nintendo 64 (1997 to 2001), the PlayStation 2 (from 2002 to 2007), the Dreamcast, the Nintendo GameCube (also from 2002 to 2006) as well as Wii (since 2007). A version of the game has also seen release on the PlayStation Portable, currently with three installments. The series is within its 15th iteration on home consoles. It is one of the long-lasting titles in Japan with most number of game entries, like Winning Eleven/PES Series (also from Konami), Super Robot Wars Series (Banpresto), and Final Fantasy Series (Square Enix)
The series has also released a spinoff on handheld systems since 1999 under the title Power Pro-kun Pocket, with versions for the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS. The series originally designed as being the side-story of Success mode of main series, but eventually developing on its own.
On May 12, 2006, a version of Power Pro was released featuring Major League Baseball players, under the title Jikkyō Powerful Major League (MLB Power Pros for American version). The Power Pro series has featured online play since its tenth incarnation on the PS2 and its eighth handheld version on the Nintendo DS (which utilises the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service). A version of Power Pro was announced for the PlayStation 3, first shown at the Tokyo Game Show in 2005, but it would take another five years for the series to reach the PS3, with the system instead getting Power Pro's sister series, Professional Baseball Spirits for the interim. On August 3, 2007, an American release of the series was announced for both the PlayStation 2 and the Wii. The game, titled MLB Power Pros, was published by 2K Sports, and features a Success Mode set within Major League Baseball.
The most distinctive feature of the Power Pro series is its odd depiction of characters. The basic design of the Power Pro baseball player (collectively known as "Pawapurokun") is a short figure with an excessively wide head, lacking a mouth, nose, ears with expression being mainly in the eyebrows. Pawapurokun are somewhat similar to the character Rayman, in that they do not have legs and thus their feet are not connected to their body. Pawapurokun do have arms and hands, however, their hands are fingerless and bear more resemblance to a sphere than a human hand. The Power Pro series has used this comic design for every single one of its games, even though improvements in graphics and gameplay have given birth to other games that feature almost life-like images of baseball players. It is impossible to distinguish one player from the other wthin Power Pro, except due to their jersey. All Pawapurokuns basically look exactly the same, except for some variations in skin color and behavior.
Main Developments in the Series
This is the major system development in the main series (as well as information of seasons series and MLB Power Pros series), some minor development, such as player's ability, are not included in the development
- The first installment in SFC, neither Pennant Mode nor Success mode are included in first 2 installments.
- Success mode, which becomes one of the main features in the Pawapuro series, is firstly installed in this series.
- The series moved to the N64 platform.
- The Success Mode firstly features original characters, some of them become regular even nowadays.
- The series moved to the PS2 platform since Pawapuro 7.
- Vocalized opening is firstly featured in the series, with the openings made by Kyoto Animation which mainly works on animation after-production at that time. They have been working on the openings until Pawapuro 11 as they had started working on the anime version of Air, a famous production from Visual Arts/Key. The production works are passed to Production I.G in Pawapuro 12.
- Pawapuro main series are firstly available in two platforms, in both PS2 and GC. And this basically constructs the Sony side and the Nintendo side.
- Success Mode first features creating teams instead of individual players.
- Online mode is firstly available. And the only installment that allow machine crossovers.
- Mylife mode, an alternate type of Success Mode that player controls the Japan League player instead of original character (But you can still play created player in Success Mode), is firstly placed in this installment.
- Audio Endings are first featured in Success Mode, again it is made (and the only Pawapuro series ending production they participated) by Kyoto Animation.
- Modified player password system, means password systems cannot be placed on previous installment (for Nintendo side). However, password from 12-14, can be used on Portable 1 and Portable 2 (within Sony platform only).
- Cheering Songs Editor is available since this installment, like players, password system are used to transfer and import the songs. Cheering Songs can be transferred to any installment within the Sony's platform without restrictions. As long as that installment support Cheering Songs.
Jikkyō Powerful Major League
- As Nintendo Nintendo GameCube has stopped production at that time, it is the only installment of main series that only features in PS2 platform since 8.
- Major system changes have been placed in this installment.
- Every players only control one player in the team in online mode, not a whole team.
- Scenario Mode, a feature since the first series is cancelled from this installment.
- Wii platform is added in Nintendo side, replacing GC for the future installment in Pawapuro (and MLB PP series), as a feature of Wii, motion control system is supported in Wii side, both versions support online mode which adepts system in 13 (but conrolling three players instead), in separated server.
- Success Mode firstly features leading a high-school team, targeted at Summer Koshien Champion. Later also feature currently Japanese NPB players as members of the National Team.
Jikkyō Powerful Major League 2 (MLB Power Pros)
- The series finally officially has its debut in America, numbers of Japanese players who had turned into a Major League Player participated.
Numberd version are abolished since '94. And different unique contents (apart than control and console feature differences) are firstly featured in different versions.
The Success Mode
The Success Mode is the game's most compelling feature [, combining ]role-playing game and life simulation games elements with the baseball sport. The basic objective is to train a generic Pawapurokun to become a professional baseball player. The Pawapurokun starts out with low stats, but often ends up being far better than any of the real professional players included in the game. Generally, Pawapurokun begins as an amateur player (ranging from high school, college or company player) who must become a professional in a certain period (usually three years). The Success Mode takes only about 2 hours to complete, but creating a good player requires an extraordinary amount of skill and luck, giving the game almost infinite replay value. [ Various random events will affect the growth of your player, for example, getting a girlfriend will allow you to regain motivation easily and receive presents (which drastically improve your player's stats) on your birthday. The amount of stress caused, and number of Pawapurokuns killed off in the Success Mode can be very large, ][ as someone can spend hours carefully training a Pawapurokun, only to see him become severely injured in a car accident, ending any chance of his becoming a good player. "All A's" Pawapurokuns (characters that have all of their stats in the highest range) are particularly sought after, since you can transfer Pawapurokuns from one memory card to the other using a password, and use them in exhibition games (It is noted that password have different formats between Sony and Nintendo side, which means you cannot transfer a password from PS2/PSP to a GC/Wii/NDS/GBA Pawapuro installments, and vice versa). ][ Often a cheat device such as ]Action Replay is used to generate incredibly strong Pawapurokuns, and several fansites (such as mlbppworld.com) offer to create customized Pawapurokuns in exchange for voting for the site in a web ranking. [As Success mode is the most popular major part of the Pawapuro Series, thus there are no ability editing mode in Pawapuro series. (except American installment's MLB Power Pros) which become one of the regular element in other sport games. The plot as well as the storyline of the Success Mode has a profound effect on the game's popularity, as many users would rather replay older Pawapuro games that have good Success Modes than buy a newer installment that has new data and improved gameplay, but a bad Success Mode. ]
In Pawapuro 14, it is available to become a coach instead of Pawapurokun, leading a high school team to Koshien Champion, it is somewhat an alternate way to create a large amount of Pawapurokuns in the same time. The mode does not require any skill in pitching, catching nor batting on their own, but require planning and tactics skill like other sport-manager game. Later, 14 Kettei-ban firstly features enhancing current NPB players, and placing them as original players.
The main background of Pawapurokun in various installments are below:
- 3: Reserve player (in NPB team)
- 4: Reserve player (in NPB team)
- 5: High School Student
- 6: University player
- 7: Reserve player (in NPB team)
- 8: Fantasy Story (High School/University/Company player can be chosen)
- 9: High School Student
- 10: An NPB fictional team Reserve
- 11: University Team/Japan National Team (as amateur player)
- 12: Student in baseball academy/Company amateur player/Dropout in baseball academy
- Major League: Player in independent league
- 13: High School Student (World High School Championship is added in Kettei-ban)
- 14: Reserve of Vulcans, An NPB fictional league team.
- MLBPP: University Student
- 15: Company amateur player
- MLBPP08: An AA/AAA player
- 10: Playing-owner of the professional- Success All Stars (Kettei-ban only)
- 14: High School Team, Japan National Team (Kettei-ban only)
- 15: High School Team
Through the background of the story and events of the series usually have connection with the sequel and the pre-sequel (which also gives conflicts, which sometimes major character returns to university or company), but may not be in the same chronological order. For example, 7 is actually the sequel of the events in 9, and 11 is the sequel of 7. But 13 is actually the story paralleling to 10, in which the previous characters appeared. The only exception is Yabe Akio, the original outfielder who appeared in every installment of main series (since 4) who will always be the Pawapuro-kun's first partner no matter what (in which he appeared wearing Nippon Ham Fighters (now the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters) uniform in the openings in 7, 8 and 9). Currently Konami should have set the main storyline in the sequence of 9 (P3) -> 7 -> 13 -> 10 -> 11 -> 12 -> 14.
In the early series before 10, major characters are spread into different real NPB teams, after the installment 10, four original teams (Powerfuls, Keysers, Cathands, and Yanks) were formed in Pacific League and Central League to room original characters, in which some minor characters would stay in the real teams and being opponents. Two more teams, Vulcans and Busters were added in 14 and formed the fictional third league "Revolutional League" with the prior 4 original teams, according to storyline of 14, the league participated in Japan Series in its fourth year since establishment. Other than team formations, the major regulations of NPB are kept (including the playoff system introduced in 2007 season), only having a shorter Pennant span, in order to keep the gametime under three hours. (Except Pawapuro 9, 10 and 99' which there are more complete matches, or particular mode in 11, 13, 14). Usually players are not needed (and not permitted to) play all innings unless player involves it, being a captain in final stages of the success mode, or the success mode itself does not give status point in practices.
Due to the possibility of copyright conflict towards MLB (particularly before the release of the MLB series after Pawapuro 12), the American League system in NPB series is called the UBL (Possibly named as USA Baseball League) in NPB series, which are composed by three grades: Single Star, Double Stars, and the top-ranked Regular League, similar to the AA, AAA, and MLB system in the real world. Such naming were continued to use in 13 and 14 even the MLB series released, and it is believed to continue to use to made story connections to the other NPB installments since some players are set in the UBL. Currently MLB series' success modes did not feature as a position of MLB player yet (but AAA players in MLB Power Pros 2008).
For another remarks, there are numbers of female players appeared in the series with some of them have remarkable performances. At least four female players in main series have gone through Koshien and turned Pro (through one is never seen as being released later).
Since the 7th installment, usually the opening sequences gives some clues of the storyline of the success mode, especially for the 9th and 10th installments while professional players are only given a very brief cameos, Success Mode characters filled the major parts in the openings.
Sub-series usually featured independent scenarios (or even not featuring success mode), the most renowned one was in the 99' installment, which there has a mode called "Mekkou-Tou", which consecutive battles with all the original teams appeared in the past success mode (whenever appears in main-series, Power Pro Kun Pocket series, or even appeared in the later series), it is still one of the legendary modes that the later series didn't revive.
The Power Pro Kun Pocket series, rather than focusing on real-life baseball worlds, many fantasy elements were added in the series. Since the second installment, two success modes were placed in each installments, while the normal success mode usually featured high-school or professional baseball (unlike main series, fantasy elements are usually mixed in the series), the second success, called "Inner Success" mode, usually placed the Power Pro Kun in the various worlds, varying from the Medieval Ages, ancient times, and to future worlds. Fantasy elements are very uncommon in the main series, but Konami did it in 8, which the (optional) final battle is versus aneroid players which legendary players' data were inserted.
Due to the great success of success mode, Konami have someway extended to another game mode called Mylife since Pawapuro 10, which can use created player (or using an NPB player, even creating a player at place) to play in the NPB, with another series of events, through there are no more characters from success mode appears in it. The difficulty will change according to your performance in the game.
The known mode in Mylife mode are:
- Loan player: Playing as a loan player from other team, maximum playtime is one year.
- Playing Manager: Playing as a playing manager, maximum playtime is one year. Whenever the team lose the possibility claiming the League Champion (or playoff in Pacific League). Currently available in 13.
- Pro players: Choosing one current NPB players, maximum playtime is 20 years.
Note: If you choose Yakult Swallows' catcher Atsuya Furuta as your player in the Mylife mode in 13 or 14, playing manager duties are added. However, maximum playtime is reduced to two years. (Atsuya was a playing manager in 2006 and 2007 season, he retired in 2007)
- Retiring player: Playing the retiring year of your career, available in 14.
- Original players: Using players created in success mode to play in Mylife.
MLB version did not feature Mylife mode until the 2008 installment, in which it is known as MLB Life mode.
The Gyroball within Powerful Pro Yakyu
The Power Pro series raised some controversy in Japan with its use of the term "Gyroball", a term made popular by Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka when he signed with the Boston Red Sox. The Gyroball appears not as a pitch usable in a baseball game, but as one of the special abilities assigned to particular pitchers. In Pawapuro, pitchers that have the Gyroball ability get increased velocity on their fastball, which is completely different from the actual definition of a Gyroball (a pitch with a spin resembling that of a slider). Power Pro and other baseball manga (which also give misinterpretations of the Gyroball) have given the impression that the Gyroball is an all-powerful strike out pitch, which it is not. Several professional pitchers (including classic players) are given this ability in the game, but Daisuke Matsuzaka is not given the Gyroball ability in any of the game's installments. Daisuke does not appear in Pawapuro 14 as he was transferred via Posting system to Boston Red Sox, through two-seam ball which made closer to his pitching is added in this installment. It is expected Daisuke will return as an Seibu OB somedays (through Daisuke's official password has been released in MLB Power Pros 2), but his ability changes is still unknown at this moment.
Games in the series
Below is a rough list of the games within the Power Pro series. Basically can de divided into certain categories below.
Main Series: Ending with only number suffixs (except '94, the first series), most major system amendments (including success mode) are placed in the main series. Number series are not used after 15.
Season Series: A PlayStation exclusive series, ending with suffix in year number, it is mainly an alternate installment of the main series which is installed in Super Famicom and PlayStation 2. This series has been merged to the main series as the PlayStation had stopped being manufactured. Since 1998, two installments are released every year, one normal version in the start of the season, and one named Kettei-ban(Post-Season version), with the latter have statistic (and sometime involving player transfers) update that reflects his performance in the season. This has become one of the tradition of Konami even after this has been merged in the main series, much like the Winning Eleven series with a more frequently update. Ketten-ban version is cancelled in 15 (But they used on Pro Baseball Spirits instead). However, year series are revived after that.
MLB Power Pro Series: The only series that is officially released in America, it features MLB series instead of traditional Japanese NPB series, through Japanese version is also available. See the MLB Power Pros entry for further details.
It is noted that passwords cannot be used on same installments with different manufacturer's machine (Sony/Nintendo has their own password format). Passwords of Power Pros (Japanese version) cannot be used on American version either.
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '94 (SFC) - 1994 March 11
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2 (SFC) - 1995 February 24
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 3 (SFC) - 1996 February 29
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '97 Spring (SFC) - 1997 March 20
- Jikkyō Powerful Pro Yakyū 4 (N64) - 1997 March 14
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 5 (N64) - 1998 March 26
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 6 (N64) - 1999 March 25
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 7 (PS2) - 2000 July 6
- Ketteihan Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball (PS2) - 2000 Dec. 21
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 8 (PS2) - 2001 August 30
- Jikkyou Powerful 8 Ketteihan baseball (PS2) - 2001 Dec. 20
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 9 (PS2, GC) - 2002 yJuly 18
- 9 Ketteihan Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball (PS2, GC) - 2002 Dec. 19
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 10 (PS2, GC) - 2003 July 17
- 10 powerful ultra-professional baseball play-by-play Ketteihan 2003 Memorial (PS2, GC) - 2003 Dec. 18
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 11 (PS2, GC) - 2004 July 15
- Jikkyou Powerful ultra-11 Ketteihan baseball (PS2, GC) - 2004 Dec. 16
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 12 (PS2, GC) - 2005 yJuly 14
- Ketteiban 12 Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball (PS2, GC) - 2005 Dec. 15
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 13 (PS2) - 2006 yJuly 13
- Ketteihan Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball (PS2) - 2006 Dec. 14
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 14 (PS2) - 2007 July 19
- Jikkyou Powerful 14 Ketteihan baseball (PS2) - 2007 Dec. 20
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 15 (PS2, Wii) - 2008 July 24
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '95 (PS) - 1994 Dec. 22
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '95 version of the opening (PS, SS) - 1995 July 14 (PS Version) 1995 year on July 28 (SS)
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '96 version of the opening (SFC) - 1996 July 19
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '97 version of the opening (PS) - 1997 August 28
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball S (SS) - 1997 yDec. 4
- BASIC powerful professional baseball play-by-play version of'98 (SFC) - 1998 March 19
- PAWAPURO GB (GB) - 1998 March 26
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '98 version of the opening (PS) - 1998 July 23
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '98 Ketteihan (PS) - 1998 Dec. 23
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '99 version of the opening (PS) - 1999 July 22
- Jikkyou Powerful'99 Ketteihan baseball (PS) - 1999 Dec. 25
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball DreamcastEdition (DC) - 2000 March 30
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2000 (N64) - 2000 April 29
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2000 version of the opening (PS) - 2000 July 19
- Ketteihan powerful 2000 play-by-play professional baseball (PS) - 2000 Dec. 21
- Basic version Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2001 (N64) - 2001 March 29
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2001 (PS) - 2001 June 7
- Ketteiban powerful 2001 play-by-play professional baseball (PS) - 2001 Dec. 20
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2002 Spring (PS) - 2002 March 14
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Premium Edition (PS) - 2003 January 23
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Portable (PSP) - 2006 April 1
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Major League (PS2, GC) - 2006 May 11
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Portable 2 (PSP) - 2007 April 5
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Wii (Wii) - 2007 July 19
- Ketteihan Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Wii (Wii) - 2007 Dec. 20
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Major League 2 (a.k.a. MLB Power Pros) (PS2, Wii)- 2007 Oct. 4 (Overseas Edition: October 3, 2007)
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Portable 3 (PSP) - 2008 May 29
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Major League 3 (a.k.a. MLB Power Pros 2008) (PS2, Wii, DS) - 2008 Oct. 3 (Overseas Edition: July 29, 2008)
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2009 (PS2, Wii) - 2009 March 19
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball NEXT (Wii) - 2009 March 19
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Portable 4 (PSP) - 2009 September 17
- Pawapuro Success Legends (PSP) - 2010 February 25
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2010 (PS3, PSP) - 2010 July 15
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '96 (Arcade) - 1996
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball EX - 1997 year ※ PAWAPURO arcade version of the movie. Consumer Edition ahead of the home run race mode is added.
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '98 EX - 1998 year
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball '96 (Windows version) (Win) - 1997
- Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball (Windows second edition) (Win) - 1998
- Powerful professional baseball play-by-play online version (Win) - 2001
Play Online Series
- Powerful Pro Baseball Online - (2004 April 30 delivered end)
- Powerful mobile professional baseball official licensed version of 2007 (NTT DoCoMo au by KDDI Softbank) - 2007
- Powerful mobile professional baseball official licensed version of 2008 (NTT DoCoMo au by KDDI Softbank) - 2008
- Konami Krazy Racers (GBA, 2001)- a Pawapurokun appears as a racer, playable immediately.
- Krazy Kart Racing (iPhone OS, 2009) - a Pawapurokun appears as a race, playable immediately.
- DreamMix TV World Fighters (GC, 2003) - a Pawapurokun appears as a playable character from the start of the game.
- New International Track and Field (DS, 2008) - a Pawapurokun appears as a playable character
- Shōnen Sunday x Weekly Shōnen: Kettou!! Dream Nine (DS, 2009)- The baseball game developed by Pawapuro Production, featured characters from Shōnen Sunday and Weekly Shōnen Magazine's magnas.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kohler, Chris (2007-08-03). 2K Sports, Konami Team Up For Kawaii Major League Baseball. Game|Life. Retrieved on 2007-08-03.
- ↑ Konami's Power Pros Touch Now Available on App Store. IGN (2009-07-16). Retrieved on 2009-07-24.