Video baseball has never been especially thrilling: The basic rules are boringly familiar and you have only limited control of the players’ actions. So it was with great hopes that I sat down to play Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars, which features malevolent-looking robots in place of ordinary humans and incorporates some rule changes Fay Vincent probably wouldn’t consider good for baseball. Then I discovered that, for all the science-fiction details, what I had on my hands was essentially just another video-baseball game.

Aside from the mechanized players — who retain their novelty through the first couple of games — Base Wars‘ main innovation is that it requires hand-to- hand combat for possession of bases on force plays (though it doesn’t happen that often in the average game). During pennant races, managers can buy spare parts for their players, enhancing speed, catching ability, etc., but the resulting changes are too subtle. Most of the time Base Wars plays just like a standard, respectable, human ball game — which is a shame. B-