Backyard Sports series
Backyard Sports is a series of video games released for 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, Clint Mathis, Kevin Garnett, Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez, Joe Thornton and Andy Macdonald. The Backyard Sports series is 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' fields are based on those found in suburban parks and recreational areas. All of the Backyard Sports games take place in the Junior Sports Neighborhood, with the exception of parts of Backyard Skateboarding, Backyard Hockey 2005, and Backyard Skateboarding: Game of the Year Edition.
Players can create their own athletes, starting in Backyard Football (1999). Players choose from nicknames such as "Sparkles" or "Spaz," 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 nickname will instead be said.
Another aspect of the games is the use of Power-Ups, allowing players to gain "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.
Some of these games are playable with ScummVM emulator.
The series began in the late 1990s, with Backyard Baseball and Backyard Soccer. Neither game had players from the MLB or MLS, respectively, but were moderately successful in their time.
With the release of Backyard Hockey, the new 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.
In 2004 Atari announced it was creating a fresh new look and gameplay experience for the franchise with the release of Backyard Skateboarding and featured Andy MacDonald and Tony Hawk. 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. 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 and GeekDad on the Wired website called it a lot of fun.
- http://www.backyardsports.com/ - Hosts the NFL Kids Backyard Awards and gives updates on upcoming games.