This TAS replicates every play of Dennis Martinez's perfect game, against a computer opponent. RBI Baseball 2 was the first video game to feature the names of actual professional baseball players. One year after its release, Martinez threw a perfect game, getting 27 outs without allowing any batter to reach first base. There have only been 23 perfect games in major league history, so it’s lucky that there is one that can be recreated on the NES.
The direction of a hit can be manipulated by the timing of a swing, the batter’s position, and by moving the batter as he hits the ball. The type of pitch can also be manipulated by taking some practice swings before the pitcher decides what to throw, or by briefly pausing and unpausing the game. Every play is recreated as it would appear on a scorecard – for instance, the top of the first inning has a groundout to short, a flyout to second, and a flyout to short.
The opposing batters can be manipulated by throwing different pitches, choosing different locations, delaying the press of the A button to pitch, and by moving the ball left and right in the air. Manipulating the AI to hit into specific outs often turned out to be easier than trying to have my own batters hit the ball in just the right way. Some time can be saved by ensuring my fielders reach the ball as quickly as possible, and in a good position to throw to first base.
Start: Dennis Martinez is chosen as my starting pitcher. Montreal’s lineup is rearranged to put Dave Martinez and Spike Owen in the correct place in the batting order. RBI Baseball 2 uses the 1989 rosters, and both teams had made big changes by 1991.
Third: After a series of strikeouts, I hit a foul ball in to keep the audience guessing. Then, I strike out.
Fourth: The last out is a groundout, with the first baseman throwing to the pitcher. In this simulation, pitchers don’t cover first base. However, I managed to complete the play by having the first baseman throw at the empty base such that Martinez was able to catch it and put out the runner.
Fifth: The AI brings in a relief pitcher because their starting pitcher is tired. In the actual game, both pitchers played the full game, but it’s not possible to stop the AI from making substitutions.
Sixth: There’s a tricky play where the shortstop fields a ground ball and throws to first while a runner goes for second base. The AI shortstop will always throw to second if there’s a runner moving towards that base, so it was necessary to do a hit-and-run to give that runner a head start to reach second base before the shortstop gets the ball. As a result, the play at first is so close that the game shows an instant replay. Later in the inning, the final play is an unassisted groundout to shortstop – it was necessary to hit the ball so that the shortstop would immediately tag out a runner upon fielding it.
Seventh: My at-bats involve manipulating two errors at shortstop. The game rolls a roughly 1 in 50 chance of an error whenever a player fields the ball. The inning ends on a runner caught stealing, which causes an automatic replay.
Eighth: Two of my runners advance on a wild pitch. This game doesn’t have wild pitches, so instead, they advance on a double steal. The inning ends on a groundout to the first baseman, which in the real game involved a throw to the pitcher, but this AI first baseman will never make that play. Instead, he makes the out unassisted.
Ninth: I had to redo the eighth and ninth innings after Martinez became so exhausted that he was physically incapable of striking a batter out. I throw fewer fastballs to preserve his stamina, giving him just enough energy to get a strikeout in the ninth.
ROM SHA1 checksum: 62FC74752901971D070DDB84FB02FABAE24EA72E
slamo: Added an encode link.
Samsara: YO HOLD UP THIS WAS AGAINST THE DODGERS
ACCEPTING TO STARS
Samsara: Okay, I love that this exists, I love that this was possible, I love that it was against the Dodgers (in real life, not in the actual TAS, so that's kind of a few points knocked off)... I'm just not quite sure what to do with it.
- Is it well made? Yes, but not in an obvious way. Great care was taken to adhere to the play-by-play of the original game as much as possible, which in practice may not come off as "perfect play" to a casual viewer.
- Is it entertaining? To me, yes, but I'm a baseball fan with an extreme hatred of the Dodgers, and unfortunately not everyone is me. The appeal of the run is very niche because of what it aims for. If it were a more traditional playaround, like  NES R.B.I. Baseball "playaround" by adelikat in 04:28.79, that'd be a different story, but the entertainment in this run strictly has to come from understanding and appreciating baseball and its history.
- Is the game publishable? Well, I already linked the playaround run of the first RBI Baseball, so I'd honestly say yes, the sequel could also be publishable.
A TAS that's well made, niche, and of a publishable game tells me that Playground is the correct choice here, so that's the choice I'm going to make for it. It's a really fascinating way of looking at the different kinds of TASes that can be created, and how "superplay" doesn't necessarily have to mean extreme speed or frame-precise movement. It could just be a near perfect recreation of the first perfect game ever pitched by a player born outside of the US. That's beautiful to me, and I want that showcased, not just for its value on its own, but for its value to others as inspiration to think outside the box with their own TASes.
El Presidente, el perfecto, el Playground.