If you’ve been living under a rock or if you’re not on Twitter (hi, tell me your secret to logging off), then perhaps you haven’t heard about Blaseball. Yes, I spelled that correctly. It’s a game that has dominated my timeline for a little over a month now. And as far as I can tell, it hits you in three stages.

Stage One: Confusion. What is this game? Why is everyone talking about a team called the Hellmouth Sunbeams?

Stage Two: Curiosity. You start investigating and maybe stumble onto the wiki and fall down the rabbit hole of the game’s ridiculous history. Maybe you make an account?

Stage Three: Obsession. Not only have you memorized all the lore, but you would kill and be killed for your team’s star pitcher.

Explaining Blaseball is not an easy thing to do. Put simply, it’s a free, in-browser game where you read the fictional play-by-plays of a baseball game in real time. Like in baseball, players bat, pitch, and strike out. Unlike in baseball, there’s an element of chaos. Maybe your star player will be incinerated. Maybe not.

The game’s Patreon page calls it an “absurdist, player-driven online baseball league” and that sums it up well. Playing the game largely consists of watching game updates, betting, and keeping up with the increasingly ludicrous story. And it’s a ton of fun.

When you first log on, you pick your favorite team, and then you receive an in-game currency. You use this currency throughout the season (which lasts one week) to bet on matches or purchase things like the ability to vote on changes to the game. Votes are tallied at the end of the week and options range from the innocuous to the terrifying. Maybe players will vote for peanuts, or maybe they’ll open the “Forbidden Book,” causing a solar eclipse and an entire team to be gobbled up by a hellmouth.

Blaseball
Source: Blaseball.com

Driven by Fans

Polygon called the game “unapologetically queer, justice-focused, and anticapitalist” while discussing the impact of fan-created lore on the game. And that piece gets to the heart of why Blaseball has become so popular—seemingly overnight.  The developers have been vague when designing the lore, allowing fans to run with it and create an ever-expanding, inclusive story. There are Twitter accounts for the players and the teams as well as a commissioner who provides helpful updates and shares fan art. As far as player resources go, there is this helpful FAQ, a thriving Discord, and a wiki that provides a thorough history of the past three seasons.

All of this is to say that yes, Blaseball is certainly a game worthy of the excitement it has generated on Twitter. It’s the only game I’ve ever come across that’s been able to emulate the sense of community and excitement that comes along with being a diehard fan of an actual sport.

For the last couple of weeks, the game has been on an extended siesta as the developers work to keep up with the surge in members. But this Monday, Blaseball comes back with season four. So get online and root for your favorite team. See you in the stands.

And, as always, for more news check back here at Mendax Games.

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