Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Old Century Baseball

Old Century Baseball

Fall 2002 Games
Ages: 5 & Up
Price: $129.95
I have seen the past of video games and this is it. Made entirely of handsomely crafted dark woods, Old Century Baseball is a true throwback to an era when batteries not only weren't included, they weren’t needed. This retro pinball-style tabletop baseball game (27 inches by 27 inches by 8 inches tall) has the look of the old ballparks, that nostalgic and quaint appearance of an Ebbitts Field or Wrigley.

In this low-tech competition, players pull a spring-loaded pinball shooter to fire the steel ball into play and then work the baseball-bat flipper to score singles, doubles, triples and homeruns--even grand slams. And, yes, to make outs if the ball falls in the six larger holes.

Replay value is good--especially for kids who love baseball--though it takes a little practice to get the right touch for scoring runs. The only drawback to the game is the over-$100 price; the manufacturer considers this a quality-crafted, archival collector's game and not just a toy.

The game is also a great introduction to keeping box score of real baseball games. Included is a score book with scoring instructions. Players are supposed to keep box scores, batter by batter, inning by inning. Of course, it's not required. Players--especially younger ones-- can just keep score on the games spinner score board and focus instead on the old-fashioned pinball play that's fun and a different kind of fantasy baseball. A 19th-Century fantasy.

Don Oldenburg   ©2002 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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