Why MLB Slugfest Is Not The Game We Deserve, But The One That We Need

I am the video game player between Scott and I. While I play anything ranging from Assassin’s Creed to Call of Duty, I have to own any and all baseball games. I have MVP Baseball for the PS2, Backyard Baseball for the computer, and all of the MLB The Show games.

While each one of those games are fantastic in their own way, MLB Slugfest is the one of my favorite games of all time for some reason. Baseball is weird. Baseball video games are also weird. Let me walk you through this.

MLB Slugfest is the only Baseball game in history to receive a “T” for teen rating for violence, suggestive themes, and language. The game was produced by Midway Games and it is “street” style baseball based around bean balls, charging the mound, and punching fielders to pop the ball loose. There were four versions of the game, MLB Slugfest: 2003, 2004, Loaded, and 2006. Here are a few of the features that made this game so unique:

The Fights:

MLB Slugfest is built around this “street” style where baserunners and fielders have the opportunity to punch, kick, and slide with spikes up into opposing players without any risk of your players being ejected. Here is just a taste:

It gets so much better. Not only can you fight on the basepaths, you can also bean hitters and provoke them to charge the mound. Players can then “catch fire” either by fighting other players or performing well in the game. If a player is “on fire,” their abilities are enhanced. They can, however, lose their fire in fights or after making a mistake in a game. Here is a taste of a mound charge:

Speciality Pitches: 

This is ripped right out of the Backyard Baseball playbook. As pitchers perform well in games, they get crazy pitches that they can use to try to strike out batters. These pitches range from crazy looping curves to “fireballs” that can be thrown up to 117 MPH! Makes hitting that much more challenging.

 

The Commentary:

This, by far, is the best part of the whole game. The tone of this game is odd and silly, so you need commentators that can compliment the style of the game. Tim Kitzrow from the NHL Hitz, NBA Jam, and the NFL Blitz series and color commentary by “Jimmy Shorts,” who is voiced by Kevin Matthews, creates the perfect combination of humor and the absurd. Jimmy will tell you right at the beginning of a game that his doctors “told me that I’ll live until the end of the season” so sorry looks like your stuck with him. Their topics range from Jimmy having mold in his home to the length of the National Anthem to the meaning of life. Each edition of the game has different bits too so you get different jokes and banter in every version. Here is an eleven minute sampling for your enjoyment:

While many of you will sit here and think, “this was an incredibly stupid game,” there was something beautiful about it. Baseball is weird. It is cool to see how fans of the game can have different interpretations and different parts of it that they enjoy. If you are a fan of bean balls, fights, and humorous commentary, dig out your PS2 or Gamecube and find this game!

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