When last we left Blaseball, that crazy simulated baseball league with horror elements, deadly weather, necromancy, an evil peanut god, etc., the concept of money had been destroyed and a black hole had consumed the universe. Well that’s certainly a turn-up!
It’s been nearly a year since the rather apocalyptic outcome of the previous era. Now, according to an interview with IGN, producers The Game Band are about ready to restart the game once more. Recognizing that it had become rather impenetrable to people who hadn’t followed it for a while, they’re trying to reinvent Blaseball to follow more of a monster-of-the-week format, which seems as appropriate for a Halloween-season post as anything.
They’re also hoping to make it more sustainable by not relying on corporate sponsors as much, instead offering paid accounts to players, offering cosmetic modifications in the game’s social space. Wait, Blaseball had a social space? Is that new?
Blaseball is hilarious and unique and bizarre, and we wish it the best, provided that wish isn’t somehow corrupted by its fell gods and revisited upon our world, which happens like all the time nowadays. We wish it provisional well, how about that?
If you’re unfamiliar with Blaseball, somehow: it’s a fake baseball league. A bunch of fake teams filled with fake players with weird stats play a game that is 90% Baseball in a computer simulation run on the game’s servers.
The simulation is entirely textual. There are no visible players running around. The simulation is run in discrete units, as a series of pitches and plays. Baseball is uniquely suited to be run in this kind of simulation because of its almost turn-based nature. Other than stealing bases, everything happens in brief bursts of activity, and game states can be represented pretty cleanly: which bases are occupied, which players are in which positions, how many outs, strikes, and balls are there, and, where in which inning are we.
Real sports are essentially drama generators, something without real meaning that people can follow along and support as if it did, and Blaseball, which calls itself a splort, takes that one floor deeper into the rabbit hole.
Because it’s entirely fake, it can do weird things. Like, host random kinds of weather during which players can be incinerated or affect the game in other ways. Or have magic baseball-related items that players can be granted.
The real participants in Blaseball are fans, who during social distancing latched onto it and idolized particular players, like Jaylen Hotdogfingers, who was brought back from the dead through a bit of database-related trickery by fans. Fans can also vote on rule changes, advantages for their favorite teams, and other things. Fans can bet, using fake money, on the outcome of the fake games, and that fake money can be used to buy more votes.
If sports are a drama generator, then Blaseball’s is exceptionally dramatic. Enough so that new fans were finding it increasingly difficult to understand. Blaseball’s previous era ended in an intentional exercise in excess, with the evil (fictional) entity that was running the league adding in feature after feature.
Now it looks like Blaseball will be pared back again. It remains to be seen if this will allow new players to join in easily, or if old fans will return, but it’ll be entertaining to watch at least.
The official Blaseball Youtube channel hosts a number of entertaining videos that recap the events of prior seasons. Here they are:
The Discipline Era (10 minutes)
Peace and Prosperity (16 minutes)
Live Bait (17 minutes)
Negative Influence (16 minutes)
Win(Win) (18 minutes)
The cataclysmic events of the final seasons are not recapped, but presumably will be soon.