MLB Home Run Derby VR: Serve up some oppo tacos in your living room

Getting the chance to just wondering onto home plate at real stadiums and knock a couple out of the park is a fun, quick, VR escape.

MLB Home Run Derby VR key art. Courtesy MLB
MLB Home Run Derby VR key art. Courtesy MLB /

Disclaimer: I am not a sports guy and I only recently learned the term "occo taco" because I Googled "slang terms for home run" and immediately fell in love with that stupid statement. My experience with sports is from almost 20 years ago where I had this weird idea to get a bunch of my weird friends to create a softball team and despite not having any experience (or physical fitness) we somehow ended up in the semi-finals. It's really funny doing well but having to constantly ask the ref to remind me what a "short stop" is.

I HAVE been to a couple sports matches things though as I live in Cleveland and, apparently, you're supposed to do at least once so, I've been. And when I played Official MLB Home Run Derby for the first time, admittedly, it was really neat. Almost everything in the city was recreated around it. The view was very familiar (though I bet the stage developers are going to groan when they find out Sherwin-Williams recently decided to upend the Cleveland skyline by making a new skyscraper in the middle of a bunch of abandoned buildings. But I digress. It was still really cool to see.

There was a big reason I wanted to test this game out though. I miss hitting the ball. I don't miss the sport, but I loved going to the batting cages and I got good at hitting. I got...REALLY...good at hitting. To the point where if I find out there's a multiverse, I'm also going to find out that I'm the only version of myself that isn't an athlete. So, to be able to play a game that recreated JUST the one thing I liked was awesome. Like having a batting cage in whatever room I was reckless enough to done my Quest 3 in.

So I got the game going's kind of neat. It's a little disappointing at first glance because there's a lot of stuff in the starting lobby of the game that the game never informs you, is stuff that you can play around with later so it seems very barebones. But over time you get to customize your bat and a couple other options. Also, fun fact...if you pick up the batting helmet on the front desk and put it on your goes on there. You see the brim in your vision until you take it off. It's dumb but I love touches like that.

Eventually, I started the game. Found myself in the middle of the field, held my bat out to let the pitcher know I was ready and hit my first hit. What I loved is that how much muscle memory kicked in allowing me to belt the first one out of the park. What I didn't like...was the pain. But that was because I didn't properly find a good spot to play and I cracked my hand into the corner of a throughway wall.

The next day, after the swelling went down I tried again. This time I picked the Cleveland Guardians stadium and got ready. This was my playthrough so you can see things from my perspective. It was a pretty sloppy go.

Over time though, I got a lot better at it. Soon I even found myself at number 4 on the world leader boards! Now...are the majority of the people playing this right now developers and journalists? Shut up. Let me pretend okay?

It's a really good feeling though. Proper bat swing actually helped. The ball went where I was trying to hit it. And the heptic feedback was weirdly satisfying. My only qualm was that there wasn't a replay feature because I'd love to see how it looked from an outside view.

All in all though, this is a game that, whether you're playing by yourself or in a multiplayer challenge, gives you the exact one thing you're hoping for from a game named this. For a game developed, apparently, BY the MLB, the people who made this had one job and they actually knocked it out of the park. Obviously, you're not going to be finding a story mode or some sort of game beyond just hitting a couple balls but when it's done in such a satisfying way, that's totally fine.