Backyard Sports series

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Backyard Sports is a series of video games that play on both consoles and computers. The series is best known for starring kid-sized versions of popular professional sports stars, such as Albert Pujols, Paul Pierce, Barry Bonds, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez, Joe Thornton and Andy Macdonald. The Backyard Sports series is the only game brand licensed by all the leading professional US sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLS).

The series includes Backyard Baseball, Backyard Basketball, Backyard Football (American football), Backyard Soccer, Backyard Hockey (Ice hockey), and Backyard Skateboarding. In the games, players form a team consisting of Backyard Kids and pro players, which they take through a "Backyard League" season, attempting to become the champions.

The games evoke or supplant childhood memories for its players by recreating the types of sports fields seen in suburban parks and recreational areas.

Players can create their own athletes, starting in Backyard Football (1999). Players choose from silly nicknames such as "Fancy Pants" or "Noodles," customize physical attributes such as hair color and height, and then distribute skill points as desired. However, since the game cannot pronounce the names of the player, the player's crazy nickname will instead be said.

Another aspect of the games is the imaginative use of Power-Ups, allowing players to gain wacky "super-abilities." For instance, "Super Dunk" allows a basketball player to make an incredible dunk from nearly anywhere on the court, "Leap Frog" allows a football player to jump over the entire defensive line, and "Ice Cream Truck" causes the other team to be completely distracted for a brief period of time.

All of the Backyard Sports games take place in the Junior Sports Neighborhood, with the exception of Backyard Football 2006 (which takes place on an unnamed island) and parts of Backyard Skateboarding, Backyard Hockey 2005, and Backyard Skateboarding: Game of the Year Edition.

Backyard Sports games are produced by Humongous Entertainment.

Some of these games are playable with ScummVM emulator.

History (Specific games)[edit | edit source]

In 1997, the first game in the series, Backyard Baseball, was released. Backyard Soccer was released in 1998. Each one was quite popular with children between 5 and 12, which is the target audience. The first of the franchise to be licensed by a major sports league was 1999's Backyard Football, which featured Jerry Rice, Dan Marino, Drew Bledsoe, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, John Elway, Randall Cunningham, and Steve Young.

The year 2000 saw Backyard Baseball 2001, which had licenses from Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association, followed that fall by Backyard Soccer MLS Edition, which was licensed by Major League Soccer.

The first two Backyard Football games, along with Backyard Baseball 2001, were notable as they were the only games in the series to feature online play.

Following the buyout of Humongous Entertainment by Infogrames, Backyard Football 2002 and the first Backyard Basketball game were made. The latter had no NBA licenses, but it featured Kevin Garnett and Lisa Leslie. Each one was released in the fall of 2001. Backyard Baseball 2003 followed in the spring of 2002, with updated rosters (e.g. Cal Ripken Jr. was no longer in the game, but Ichiro Suzuki was). Later that year, Backyard Hockey, a game licensed by the NHL and the NHLPA, was released. Backyard Hockey introduced new character designs for each of the Backyard Kids (e.g. Pablo Sanchez now wears a purple baseball cap backwards, but his shirt remains the same) along with announcer Sunny Day.

Following the buyout by Infogrames various games from the Backyard Sports series have been released in 1998 for game consoles, including: Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and the PlayStation 2.

The year 2003 saw updated versions of the most recent Backyard Soccer (with original character designs), Backyard Basketball, and Backyard Football. In 2004, a new game, Backyard Skateboarding, was released, and it featured Andy MacDonald.

With the release of Backyard Baseball 2007, the "next generation" of character designs for each of the Backyard Kids was introduced, with older and edgier kids along with improved graphics. The series has changed radically over time, which evokes resentment from the people who grew up with the series, as the art design has become drastically different and some of the key characters are no longer in the series.

Early in 2010 Atari announced that HB Studios was creating a fresh new look and gameplay experience for the franchise with the release of Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers on Nintendo Wii, XBox 360 and PC. They stated that it is a completely new take on a longtime favorite franchise with all-new features, updated graphics, enhanced gameplay, and extensive options that will keep players and gamers alike enthusiastically entertained.[1] The game was released at the end of May 2010 and received favourable reviews on family oriented websites. Common Sense Media gave the game five stars[2] and GeekDad on the Wired website called it a lot of fun.[3]

In July 2010 Atari announced Backyard Sports: Rookie Rush, an all-new football videogame developed by HB Studios for PC, Xbox 360 and Wii and by Powerhead Games for DS, will launch in October 2010. The sequel to Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers features hard hitting power-ups, imaginative new fields, stylized graphics, a new array of super-charged gameplay options and a compelling story mode.[4]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

List of games[edit | edit source]

Some games, notably console versions have completely distinct gameplay than Windows/Mac version with same title, thus they're listed separately.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]