Description official descriptions
The game can be played against the computer or with another player. You have the option to have 1, 2 or 3 players in the field. As a pitcher, you use the joystick to throw the ball and to control its speed and curve. After the ball is hit, you control all your men (they all move together since they follow the orders of a single joystick) in the field to catch the ball. As a batter, you can control the position of the baseball bat with the joystick. If you consider that your runners would make it to the next base, you can press the controller button so they stop at their current base.
The rest of the rules are basically like real baseball. Each team has nine innings in a game. You are out after three strikes, you get to first base after four balls (balls that do not fly over Home) or if the pitcher hits you with a ball. In the field, you can put out a batter by catching his ball, then another runner by reaching his next base before him or simply by touching him between bases, thus completing a double play. The only way to accomplish a home run is by hitting the ball over second base without having it caught by the field players. You score a point for each runner that reaches Home base after each of the first three.
Credits (Atari 2600 version)
Average score: 32% (based on 5 ratings)
Average score: 1.7 out of 5 (based on 16 ratings with 2 reviews)
I know it may sound strange, but this time, Atari made quite an improvement. The graphics are still quite basic, but at least, there is no doubt about what the game elements represent. The characters do look (though remotely) like baseball players.
If I compare this game with what has been done for home entertainment so far, the programming is much more complex. The developers were able to include all of the most important rules of the sport.
My main disappointment was that the kind of control you get with your field players is very limited. You have very few options on the number of players and their positions. Furthermore, they all move together like line dancers and will never pass the ball to one another, so they all look kind of weird on screen.
Despite the relative complexity of the game, one can easily get tired of playing. As soon as you get a good control of the joystick, the Home Run becomes too easy and it becomes almost impossible so score any points.
Finally, as usual with Atari games, there is no way someone can appreciate the sound on this game.
The Bottom Line
Home Run is simply a baseball game. The joystick controls the batter in one team, and the pitcher and the other field players in the other. Except for the fact the the field team disposes on a maximum of three men, the rules are basically the same so I'll suppose that everyone gets the idea.
Atari 2600 · by RobinHud (68) · 2005
It's baseball ...
Just about everything else.
The Bottom Line
This is, apparently, the first crack at a home baseball game. And it's stripped down to the basics. One player bats and the other controls the pitcher and zero, one or two additional fielders. The pitcher can control the ball after its pitched, making it speed up, slow down or curve right or left. The batter can only swing. Once a ball is hit, the speedy fielders track the ball down and either try to tag the player before he reaches a base or tag the base to which a batter is forced to go. If the ball travels directly over second base and is not fielded before reaching the bottom of the screen, you, my friend, have just hit a HOME RUN!
Though this game does provide a neolithic baseball experience, it is really quite bad. As described above, only the rudiments of baseball are featured. Even worse, the gameplay is unbalanced - strongly tilting to the defense. Defensive players are quite fast, able to field nearly any hit ball and return to tag the batter before he reaches first, and experienced pitchers can exert considerable control over their pitches, making hitting a difficult task. And watch out for your runners, sometimes they inexplicably (despite their glacial footspeed) decide to take an extra base. Once they start going, there's no turning back.
The one player game is especially annoying as the computer plays in a very computer-like manner. On almost every play the computer will field any ball wherever you hit it and will return with the ball to second base. The computer will not attempt to turn a double-play, the computer will not attempt to catch the guy going to third - it will return to second base. This lack of any sort of decisionmaking by the computer detracts, at least for me, from the replayability of the game.
Perhaps this game paved the way for later classics like Baseball Stars and Triple Play. It is, nonetheless, barely playable. A tip of the cap is appropriate. Actually plugging this cart in for a quick nine, is not.
Atari 2600 · by eratik (105) · 2008
Related Sites +
Video review of Atari 2600 sports games
The Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe, reviews sports games on the Atari 2600, including Home Run.
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by RobinHud.
Additional contributors: LepricahnsGold.
Game added December 2, 2005. Last modified January 26, 2024.