Retro Reds: Filling the void in Reds-centric video games

Though I haven't researched this extensively, a cursory scan of Google and my brain tells me there's never been a sitting Reds player to lend his name to a video game franchise or grace the cover of the annual edition of The Show, MLB 2K-whatever or their antecedents. Ken Griffey Jr. headlined a series of video games during his time with the Mariners. Several-time Red Deion Sanders had a video game - a football game called Prime Time NFL starring Deion Sanders, on the cover of which he decided to snub the Reds and wear a Dallas Cowboys jersey. Bip Roberts had Bip Roberts presents Bip Ball, but it dropped when he was a member of the Padres.

Had baseball video games existed during the 1970s beyond those that required taping a "baseball field" transparency over your TV screen, I'm sure there would have been licensed products featuring members of the Big Red Machine. But from the beginning of the advent of video games (mid-80s?) until the present day, there hasn't been a truly nationally-marketable household megastar playing for the Reds during prime years. Part of the lack of exposure is the smaller diameter of the spotlight in Cincinnati's media market - and part of it is simply an inability to cultivate and retain name-brand talent.

Eric Davis flirted with the possibility of entering the pantheon, but was plagued by injury and lack of black ink (Ninth in MVP voting in 1987? Yes, ninth.) Despite winning an World Series and an MVP, Larkin was stuck in the shadow of Ozzie Smith for a portion of his career and never achieved the "most" of anything - HRs, steals, backflips - despite being good at pretty much everything. And Ken Griffey Jr. joined the Reds at the tail end of his reign as baseball's best.

In order to correct this oversight (injustice, really) by the video game industrial complex, here's just a sampling of the titles we're owed as fans. With the boom in anachronistic, faux Nintendo games based on works of literature, there's no reason that these shouldn't already exist:

Rob Dibble's Get Mad and Throw the Ball Baseball: SEGA Genesis' foray into baseball on the heels of Charles Barkley's Shut Up and Jam, Rob Dibble escapes from Maximum Security stockade and must win a series of street baseball games in order to reunite the Nasty Boys and take back the World Series from the Soviets. Throwing a ball at a runner is a valid way of recording an out (and increasing your Anger Meter).

Pete Rose MLB Management Simulator and Off-track Betting Software: Great two-for-one suite. The two are linked together in a complex interface, but once you get the hang of it, it's exciting to try and stay one step ahead of the Investigators. I was able to avoid a lifetime ban on Hard mode, but had to sacrifice 1990 World Series as a result.

Marge Schott's PR Madness - Escape from Damage Control Dungeon: The Reds may not have landed any video game covers in the 90s, but they did get the owner on the cover of SI. The best you can do in the Sports Illustrated Stage, without the use of a Game Genie, is to get Marge to smile in the photo.

Jose Rijo presents MLB Orthopedic Surgeon '96: Perform surgery on all your favorite MLB stars from the mid-1990s and guide them through the lengthy recovery process. Power tip: Use the code to unlock PEDs and take advantage of a total lack of a meaningful or enforceable league policy.

BWAA Baseball, Barry Larkin Collector's Edition: With this expansion pack, try to get Barry into the Hall sooner by yelling at writers, posting on a blog and traveling back in time to trade Larkin to the Yankees.

Reggie Sanders 28/36 Baseball '95: Barely miss 30/30 in 1995 with Reggie Sanders.

Mayorball with Sean Casey: A social role-playing game where you can chat it up with Artificial Intelligence renderings of late 90s/early 2000s baseball players who have just hit a single.

Sports Stadium Lease Tycoon: Engineer a sweetheart, publicly-financed deal with a mid-market Midwestern city which will eventually lead to crushing budget shortfalls.

Adam Dunn Muleball: A quirky niche title in which baseball players are beasts of burden. Much like a mule, do the thankless work of providing a reliable source of power, while also like a mule, try to avoid getting frequent whippings as the object of collective frustration.

MLBs 2K11-2K22 starring Joey Votto: Pencil him in.

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