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Video Game / Rusty's Real Deal Baseball

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Rusty's Real Deal Baseball is a free-to-download game on the Nintendo 3DS eShop, released in August 2013 in Japan, and April 2014 in North America. It's notable for being the first Nintendo game to make use of microtransactions.

The story follows an anthropomorphic dog named Rusty, a former baseball player who owns a store called Rusty Slugger's Sport Shack. With ten rowdy kids he can't control, a wife seemingly on the verge of leaving him, and struggling to sell his sporting equipment, he decides to start selling baseball-themed video games in addition to his usual products in hopes of renewing his business and hopefully improve things at home as well.

What makes Rusty's Real Deal Baseball a unique example of Allegedly Free Game is the gameplay outside of all the minigames themselves. To advance the story and unlock more games to play, the player buys them from Rusty (in proxy of the Nintendo eShop) for real money. Buying everything at full price will mean spending $4.00 USD per minigame (totaling $40 plus tax). However, the game is... surprisingly adamant that you don't do this, with even Rusty's kids demanding that you nickel-and-dime their stressed old man as much as possible by haggling the price down. Soften him up with a donut, say the right words, and toss him a couple of items that may just help get his life back into order, and Rusty will happily give you everything at a discounted price of around $1.50 each.

This game provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Rusty closes up his shop in Chapter 5 and puts the shack up for sale; when he returns to see who the new tenant is, he's shocked to see that his wife's replaced it with a restaurant. However, she happily combines it with his sporting goods store, thus bringing in more money than he could have hoped.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Earning gold medals in the Hi-Score Derby games in each title will unlock uniforms for your Mii to wear.
  • Bland-Name Product: Nontendo and the 4DS.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: It is possible to buy all ten games right away to breeze through the plot, and you'll even see an alternate plotline for doing so, but you'll also miss out on the chance of saving up to $24 USD.
  • Bumbling Dad: Rusty himself.
  • But Thou Must!: Believe it or not, haggling for lower prices. It's subverted in that the game will eventually let you pay full price for a game, with the story continuing on in a different way, but it takes a lot of effort to get to that point.
  • Confusion Fu: In some challenges, the Ultra Machines may have a different animation while pitching, make the baseballs invisible for a split second, suddenly throw them at speeds that would impress Sonic the Hedgehog, or toss BOMBS. And it only builds up from there...
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": At one point in the "pay full price" branch, Pappy Van Poodle cheers so hard for Rusty's team that he throws out his back.
  • Cultural Translation: The title character himself was subject to this. In the original Japanese version, the main character is Inuji Darumeshi, who has a more stereotypically Asian appearance. He was replaced in the West by the titular Rusty Slugger, whose appearance is more in line with a Western-style anthropomorphic dog. (The Super Smash Bros. games consistently depict both Rusty and Inuji separately.)
  • Developer's Foresight: The game fully expects you to progress the story by haggling down the prices of games, using various in-game items that can solve the myriad of issues in Rusty's personal life. Because of this, choosing to instead pay full price for a game without using any items brings up a special series of cutscenes in which Rusty receives the relevant items anyways from Pappy van Poodle, a mentor character who is otherwise unmentioned until the epilogue and who happens upon the items himself, giving them to Rusty either as gifts or because he has no need for them. This ensures that the main story is still able to progress as intended even if the player refuses to cooperate with it.
  • Discount Card: As you play the games and earn stamps, you'll also earn discount cards to use on the non-key games. They come in "Half Off", "30% Off", "10% Off", "$1.00 Off", "$0.50 Off", and "$0.30 Off". However, once the price lowers enough for the entire price tag to be marked red, the remaining percent can't lower it any further, and only up to 3 cards can be used.
  • Do You Want to Haggle?: The main mechanic of the game, with it urging you to haggle the price of the minigames for real money.
  • Explosive Breeder: Rusty has 10 puppies, all that look alike, so much that he can't tell which ones are sons or daughters! The only difference is the names, like "Rusty Jr.", "Rusty III", etc.
  • Exposition Fairy: The pup you choose. They'll even help you out when you're stuck during the haggling process because they enjoy screwing their dad over.
  • Gendered Outfit: Some of the unlockable outfits appear differently based on a Mii's gender. For instance, the School Uniform appears as a varsity jacket on male Miis but a cheerleader outfit on female Miis.
  • Guide Dang It!: If you don't know the right things to say to Rusty, be prepared to fork over a bunch of Donuts in order to get the key-marked games down to the lowest as possible (which is when the price tag is listed in all red, plus if the pup comments that it's really as low as he can haggle).
  • Lethal Chef: Rusty, implied. The pups, shown onscreen.
  • Missing Mom: Played straight then subverted near the end.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: "Cage Match" is mostly the same as "Bat & Switch", but more complicated.
  • New Game Plus: An unintentional example. Because the game handles purchases through the Nintendo eShop, players only have to pay for each of the games once. Should the player start the game again from square one, then no matter what the haggled price of an already purchased game is, the player will get it for free. On the other hand, this also means that if the player accepts a higher-than-optimal price for a game the first time through, there's no chance for a refund.
  • 1-Up: In several of the Hi-Score Derby modes, the player can replenish lost hearts. In many cases it's simply a matter of hitting a giant heart target, but in Cage Match you're instead challenged to hit three pitches in a row to regain a heart.
  • Rank Inflation: The challenges give you C, B, or A ranks; the Hi-Score Derbies also have an A+ rank.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At the beginning, Rusty gives the player a Nontendo 4DS, which he bought from "Nontendo". He insists it's not Nintendo, because they were the guys who sent Romeo and Squeegee to fix his sink. (He does later remember what Nintendo actually is, however.)
    • The Ultra Machine is popularized in this game, as a perfect pitcher.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Rusty and his donuts (or boiled eggs in the Japanese version). So much so that feeding him one initiates the haggling sequence.
  • Variable Mix: Every minigame has a theme; as you rise in ranks, that theme gains instrumentation.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: The games, at least from the Mii's perspective. The pups say it best, the 4DS, "it's... really immersive."