It all began in 1986 on the Nintendo Entertainment System, a simple arcade-style video game that cast a spell on baseball fans and was too good to go away.
The return to those roots is a reality at last. A reimagined world of R.B.I. Baseball 14 has just been added on Google Play for Android devices, expanding its availability after previous launches in iOS via the Apple App Store and on Xbox 360 and PS3.
R.B.I. Baseball also will come this spring for PS4 and Xbox One.
"The game is fun," said Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. "It brings back the old '90s feeling of the game and it's like playing Super Nintendo all over again. I miss those days."
"I think fans will like just how easy the game is," Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha said. "It's not real complicated like other games. And it's pretty exciting, for sure."
R.B.I. Baseball 14 incorporates today's technology but in a way that will take you back to that charming and basic action. It is designed to be fast paced, so the user can play a full nine innings in under 20 minutes and choose from Exhibition, Season and Postseason modes.
This is the first console game developed by MLB.com, and it stays true to the R.B.I. franchise roots and similar games from that generation. It is reimagined with modern graphics and utilizes classic two-button style controls. Online multiplayer functionality is coming this summer.
All 30 MLB clubs are represented, featuring 480 active players with characteristics based on hundreds of millions of data points from the extensive MLB.com statistical database. Included are Jones and Wacha, who tested the game as player spokesmen.
The Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer made it a "Game Pick" this month on its website and wrote: "R.B.I. Baseball 14 is a game that you play while sitting next to a friend and reminiscing about the good old days. It's a game you play for a quick baseball fix rather than a hyper-real experience." They added: "The developers of R.B.I. Baseball 14 remember those days, and have done the best possible job of updating the classic for a new generation."
Jones said he prefers the simplicity of the game, and the center fielder was excited to get the chance to play early.
"You got all these games that are super high-tech. This game is just straight to the point -- swing the bat, run the bases," Jones said. "Nowadays you can have one guy lead off and have one guy steal, and it's too technical for me. I can't be thinking too much."
Fitting for the ultimate throwback game, R.B.I. Baseball 14 will have unlockable retro jerseys players can earn by completing custom team-specific challenges. Enjoy the Brooklyn Dodgers, classic Twins, old-school Padres, iconic Cincinnati "Big Red Machine" uniforms and more.
Buzz has been growing, with more than 10,000 followers now on the @RBIGAME Twitter account. Use the #rbi14 hashtag and look for tips from the game's programmers at MLBAM. So far, it's obvious that players love to tweet a picture of the old-school newspaper headline and linescore that follows every final play.
Earlier this spring, talk-show host Seth Meyers accurately summed up overall sentiment with a tweet: "I am wildly excited about the relaunch of R.B.I. Baseball."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.