We forget sometimes that videogames are part of a larger rubric of play, but these observations on how baseball “evolved” from Tim Carmody over at Snarkmarket are dead-on. You could probably make a similar argument about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare:
And every difference between early baseball and the game today which you might point to that seems huge — fielders didn’t use gloves? Batters got to tell pitchers where they wanted a pitch? Baserunners would run into the outfield and across the middle of the infield to avoid tags? — doesn’t change that baseball 150 years ago looked almost exactly like the game you probably played in a yard or park or the middle of a street with your friends and brothers and sisters. The differences seem weird only because baseball is so unchanged.
Once the game is there — in its basic shape, its speciation; it’s there.