Barroom Baseball

Barroom Baseball
Company: Atari
Model #:
Gary Stempler (Atari Coin-Op Division)

Original game by James Andreassen and Keithen Hayenga
Year: 1983
An official hack of Realsports Baseball


Barroom Baseball is an interesting prototype in that it was never intended for home use.  As the name suggests Barroom Baseball was a special version of Realsports Baseball modified for use in 5200 arcade units.  These special 5200's were modified to run off of a coin operated timer and were intended for use in bars and in Latin American countries where such machines were popular.  It is unknown if any of these units were actually produced, but according to internal company memos at least one may have been field tested.  To date no other specially modified games have been found.


Aside from the different name on the title screen, Barroom Baseball is virtually identical to RS Baseball.  The only real difference is that players have to pay to play.  Three minutes of play time cost 25 cents (what a bargain!), and players could purchase extra minutes at the end of the original three.  This is the same "Pay As You Play" technique is used in many sports games today.  Not surprisingly, most of the options have been removed from this version.  Players can no longer choose the difficulty of the computer (it seems to default to intermediate) or opt to turn off the voice.



 Despite what the title screen says, this prototype plays all nine innings without interruption and there is no way to insert any coins (please don't try cramming quarters into your 5200).  This is because the 5200 arcade unit was going to use a special modified OS that would have handled the play timer and detect when coins were inserted into the machine.  To date no EPROM with this special OS has been found, but it is widely believed it was programmed.


As it stands Barroom Baseball is just plain old RealSports Baseball with a different title screen and less options.  Still, this prototype proves that once again Atari was ahead of its time with the idea of putting home units in arcade machines.  It wasn't until almost four years later that Nintendo would revive the idea with its Play Choice units.  To date no other Barroom sports titles have been found, but internal documents suggest that Barroom versions of RS Soccer, RS Tennis, and RS Basketball were also planned.


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