PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER: Sega / Sega CS
RELEASE DATE: 04/06/91 – (JP)
Just when you thought it was safe to unhook the Mega Modem from the back of your Mega Drive, Nikkan Sports Pro Yakyuu VAN arrives to provide you with real-time baseball action.
Nikkan Sports Pro Yakyuu VAN – or NSPYV as it will be known throughout the rest of this article – is somewhat of a mystery on the English-speaking Internet. The title is not a game, but appears to be an application that allows you to view professional baseball game stats, in real-time and post-game. Not exciting, you say? In addition to stats, each play could be rendered in glorious 16-bit pixel art for your… amusement? Bemusement? One of those, surely. In order to access these first-class information/visuals, you paid a subscription fee to the Nikkan Sports VAN service.
And that’s almost all the information there is on NSPYV, courtesy of Giant Bomb (https://www.giantbomb.com/mega-modem/3000-114/). Sega Retro adds that you could “save games for later viewing” and that the subscription service allows you to “display game action in real time” (https://segaretro.org/Nikkan_Sports_Pro_Yakyuu_VAN). No further information or sources are provided for either of these two statements, so you’ll have to infer their meaning for yourself. Giant Bomb’s article doesn’t cite sources for their information either, so take all of this with a grain of Himalayan pink salt.
Our last juicy morsel on NSPYV comes courtesy of user rush6432 in the Sega-16 forum. In the thread, “Mega Modem: How to make it work!!,” he writes, “Not much is known about this title. From what ive gathered all the people i’ve talked to ive found that it was a program used to check the stats and scores of baseball games in japan back in the early 90s. Today its mostly useless as it required a server to connect to in order to retrieve the data. However i still have not roughly translated any of the text to see exactly what it is, but by navigating the menus ive found that it has only a dialing feature with what seems to be an input for login information” (https://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?15793-Mega-Modem-Still-works!!!!!).
In conclusion, Nikkan Sports Pro Yakyuu VAN probably helped Japanese baseball fanatics figure out the score to the latest yakyuu game. If Giant Bomb’s information is correct, they were also able to watch plays re-enacted with sparkling Mega Drive visuals. The latter is still pretty cool to this day. Imagine getting a visual play-by-play breakdown of last night’s football game in Madden ’93 for your Genesis. Insane! Once again, Sega raised the bar for what was possible, even if only a small percentage of the population were remotely interested.