Friday, May 04, 2007

Pro Yakyuu Spirits 4

First off, the cry for help.

My good friend Glen Haag is playing Pro Yakyuu Spirits 4, an excellent baseball game from Japan, and while he's translated some of the manual successfully, it's incredibly slow-going and difficult. So if any of you guys have the skill to translate the pages into English and have the interest and free time to do so, head over here.

Pro Yakyuu Spirits 4 is just the latest in a long, long tradition of interesting baseball games from Japan.

I've played five of them, believe it or not.

Originally (and this is going into the wayback machine, so I'm not promising total recall accuracy), I purchased a cartrige for my Sega Saturn that enabled me to play Japanese games on a U.S. console.

The only game I bought from Japan for the Saturn, of course, was World Series Baseball, because the U.S. version hadn't been released. It was made by Sega, it was outstanding, and it was the foundation for what became World Series Baseball '98, which is still one of my favorite baseball games.

The thing about playing a Japanese baseball game, if you can make it past the menus, is that the atmosphere is fantastic, far more exciting than American baseball, and since you're listening to the announcers in Japanese, it never sounds repetitive. It's a very engrossing experience. Plus the games tend to be far more polished than their American counterparts--an annual release is no excuse for mediocre quality in Japan.

So when I found out in 2000 that Square, of all people, was going to be developing a baseball game, I was all in. That required a Japanese PS2 (no adapter available this time), and the game was Gekikuukan Pro Baseball.

That game, surprisingly, was a disappointment.

But Square made one more baseball game two years later called Nichibeikan Pro Baseball: Final League, and it was amazing. It's still my favorite baseball game--incredible atmosphere, amazing animations, and fantastic A.I.

Here's how you got Japanese manuals translated in 2002--I found a Buddhist cultural center in Japan and asked if they had any students who wanted to translate a game manual. Fortunately, one person did, and $40 later, I had an English version of the game manual.

So Glen talking about PYS4 and how great it is will totally drive me crazy, because I'm not going to spend $600 on a PS3 to play it. I'll be happy to spend $400 when the price comes down, though, and one of the few bright spots for Sony with the PS3 is that they made region-coding optional.

That means that I will lead the Nippon Ham Fighters to glory. Some day.

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