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R.B.I. 15 on iOS -- a match made in baseball heaven

Download the iconic arcade game from the App Store for just $4.99

Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced on Thursday that R.B.I. Baseball 15 is now available for iPhone and iPad. Zach Small was waiting for it like a batter with a control pad in hand.

The 35-year-old personal software trainer from Hanover, Pa., first played R.B.I. a quarter-century ago as a 10-year-old boy, when it was on the Nintendo Entertainment System. He got the new release when it first appeared this spring, routinely playing on Xbox One.

"The R.B.I. 15 iOS version feels and plays almost identically to my Xbox One [console] version," Small said in an email to "The presentation is identical, and all of the most important functions of the game remain intact. It's rare to find a game today which has an identical release on mobile and console, but this is an equal translation, from what I've seen so far.

"The visuals are incredibly impressive, and it runs on older iPhones, too, which will allow more potential buyers to play it without feeling the need for upgraded hardware. I like the gorgeous lighting and the real-feel ballparks. I also like the controls over last year's version. Fielding is much smoother. R.B.I. seems to take pride in being able to perform most functions of the game with one or two buttons. That's the key here."

The mobile version of R.B.I. Baseball 15 is available for a one-time price of $4.99 from the App Store on those devices. This year's edition of the iconic game delivers new features to your mobile gaming experiences, including regular roster updates based on Major League transactions and the following:

Saving seasons: New to mobile -- save a season's progress mid-game.

Ballparks: Newly crafted authentic MLB ballpark designs for all 30 franchises.

Rosters: Set an active 25-man roster from each club's 40-man roster.

Stat tracking: Track batting and pitching statistics in season mode.

Gameplay settings: Pick the competition level -- Easy, Medium or Hard.

"The No. 1 reason to buy R.B.I. 15 for iOS is simple: It's nearly an exact translation of our console game, simply made for a smaller screen," Small said. "If you're familiar with the PS4 or Xbox One versions, transitioning to iOS will be smooth and easy, and it will feel wholly familiar to the end user."

Small, a PC/Mac repair and upgrade expert in addition to running his own personal software trainer business, said he visits Camden Yards "at least a dozen times a year." When he is playing R.B.I. 15 at the Orioles' ballpark, he said, "I feel like I'm at my second home."

"I bought the Xbox One version day one, actually, and I've been playing on that for the past 20 days now," Small said. "I have a [Nationals] postseason going and a 52-game regular season with the Orioles. ... I love the number of different uniforms we can wear for each team, too -- especially the fact that I can bring back my Expos with the Nats.

"This game has seen tremendous upgrades and improvements over last year's version. Namely, the presentation is the best we've ever seen for R.B.I. Baseball, and it's quick and simple to jump right into the game. The issue with many modern sports games is that it takes a significant amount of time to start playing. It seems with many titles, I spend more time in the menus than I do actually playing the game."

Small said he often feels like he is "playing a direct successor to that very game, released in the late 1980s." MLBAM took the tradition of the original and applied it in a modern way.

"The first time I hit a home run was really memorable to me," Small said. "Seeing the dramatic camera angle, the stop-and-look from the batter as the ball flew into the seats in left field; that was awesome.

"I also really like that R.B.I. 15 gives me so much control over the pitches I throw, especially when adding movement to the ball. Though it has an arcade feel, there's a sense of realism there, too. Most baseball games give us the ability to control where we throw the pitch, but it's rare to have control over the movement of the pitch as well. A late break on a fastball can be the difference between a strikeout or giving up a critical home run."

R.B.I. Baseball 15, with Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on its cover, is developed by MLBAM and officially licensed by MLB and the MLB Players Association. In addition to Xbox One, it is also available as a digital download for PlayStation 4.

Also coming this year, R.B.I. Baseball 15 will be available for personal computers (PC, MAC) via the Steam platform, expected to launch next week. The Steam platform also currently has R.B.I. Baseball 15 available for pre-order. The game also will be launching soon on Google Play for supported Android smartphones and tablets. Follow @RBIGAME for regular updates.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog.