Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nintendo's Baseball Board (任天堂の野球盤, ca 1965)

The 1967 baseball pitching toy Ultra Machine was one of Nintendo's first million sellers. But it was not their first baseball inspired game.

Nintendo's Baseball Board (ca 1965)

A few years earlier, when Nintendo just started moving from cards and boardgames into a broader field of toys, they made two related games: Disney Baseball Board (ディズニー野球盤) and Nintendo's Baseball Board (任天堂の野球盤).

There can be no mistake: this is a Nintendo game

An exact release data of Nintendo's Baseball Board is unknown, but it is believed to date from around 1965, possibly slightly earlier. The game cost ¥950.


The colorful front of the box depicts a baseball game in full swing, as well as a picture of the actual game itself.


It is quite a big game, and the box measures around 46 by 52 centimeters.


Nintendo's Baseball Board is a sport simulation game for two players. The game is made from a blue colored plastic frame with a printed cardboard playing field.


The two players represent the two baseball teams, and they take turns at the bat.


A metal ball bearing represents the baseball, and the blue and white buttons on either side of the batter are used to operate the pitcher and batter.


A small hole at each of the three bases is used to pin the little white plastic players when they start going around the field.


The top right corner of the playing field contains counters (for strikes, balls and outs), to keep track of the batting action.


At the top of the board the scoreboard is placed, with room to note the team names and the scores per inning.


The scores can be written on the scoreboard with a pencil. Included with the game is not just any regular pencil, but one labeled "Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd"!

Nintendo Playing Card Co. Ltd. pencil

The game starts by placing the ball in the pitching area.


A mechanism underneath the playing field releases the ball when the blue button is pressed.

The flip-side of the playing field reveals the pitch and bat mechanisms

As the field is slightly sloping, the ball rolls towards the batter when it is 'pitched'.


At this point, the second player has to push the white button, releasing a spring which swings the batter. If timed correctly, he will hit the ball.

It's a hit!

The batter must aim for one of the scoring pits on the field, and hope the ball does not drop into one of the 'out' (アウト) pits.


We are lucky (or should I say: we demonstrate skill), and have achieved a 'three base hit' (3塁打). A home-run is scored when the ball rolls over one of the three ramps into the gutter behind the fence.

Note the "NG" logo in the left corner of the field, which stands for "Nintendo Game".

Aim for the ramp to score a home-run

Our little man now may advance directly to third base. And the game continues.


In a different post, we take a look at the Disney themed version of this game, called Disney Baseball Board, which predates Nintendo's Baseball Board.

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